As a project coordinator for the number one executive search firm in the eDiscovery space (the Glenmont Group), I have inside information as to what skills compose the ideal candidate for each of my clients’ current openings. This knowledge provides me with an overview of the market that none of my clients possess individually, yet each has made contributions to throughout the course of my career in the eDiscovery space. One trend that has emerged after countless placements within the space is that law firms are more likely to hire candidates from other law firms, and that vendors are more likely to hire candidates that come from other vendors. These organizations are each less likely to hire from the other. In the past this concept has made perfect sense, but due to the changing paradigms that exist in today’s talent pool, it may make sense to reevaluate.
Let me take the opportunity to point out some common stereotypes about candidates on both the vendor and the law firm sides. Traditionally, law firm candidates have been perceived as “buttoned up” where vendor candidates have been perceived as more “tech-savvy.” This seems obvious since the vendors within our industry are developing the new technologies and implementing them before law firms can get them in house. On the other hand law firm candidates must work closely with lawyers in an environment that is largely influenced by any small change in the law or any “best practices and procedures,” and they often have JD’s or at least some formal legal training. The fact is however that as law firms and vendors are constantly working more closely together it is becoming increasingly useful to have a member of the other side on your team no matter which side you are on!
Law firms could use the more technologically inclined vendor candidates to help bring new technologies in house, and vendors could use more law firm candidates to help to better define their client’s needs. As many of my clients have begun to adopt this thinking, the unorthodox additions to their existing teams are becoming even more useful than one of their “own kind” ever would have been. I believe as the eDiscovery space continues to mature we will see a talent pool with a much more well-rounded skillset appealing to a wider range of employers. I have successfully placed both vendor candidates on the law firm side and law firm candidates on the vendor side, and have seen these relationships prove to be mutually beneficial on numerous occasions. Each day I challenge more of my clients to look outside the box in order to expand their existing candidate pool and welcome a slightly different (yet equally effective) skillset into their organization!