People change jobs for a lot of different reasons – some are excellent, and include looking for more structure or support, perhaps looking to change or lessen a difficult commute, or often to avoid a work personality situation that has become untenable and affects your productivity. However, another reason for changing jobs should be something all candidates consider: you need to change to grow. When you have been at a firm for a number of years whether you know or not you start to stagnate – you learn less, opportunities are fewer and it is very likely you are extremely comfortable. Those aren’t necessarily bad things, because wow – who wouldn’t want to be comfortable, and know what to expect every day? It sounds great, but it isn’t. In the legal market, you should consider changing jobs at the 5 – 8 mark. You need new challenges, new possibilities, and new people to work with. A new job means shaking up your routine, learning how to interact with people you aren’t comfortable with, and learning new skills. Also, prospective employers often look at longevity negatively and think that the candidate may not be able to adapt, change, or learn new things. I’m not suggesting people should change jobs recklessly, and if you are one of the few people who work for a firm that is consistently providing new challenges and growth opportunities, you should consider staying; however, most people will find new positions will provide better pay, new ways to challenge yourself and an entirely new outlook on your job.


Seattle continues to enjoy a robust economy and considerable growth in many areas. The legal market is thriving, and Seattle firms are more and more open to hiring candidates from out of the state. However, there are things that firms look for and taking the time to consider them will prepare you for a more positive reception into the Seattle legal market. Here are a few tips: Have a plan. Make sure you know what your timeline is, and if you are going to try and secure a position prior to moving, or will be moving and then looking. Do your research. Firms are much more comfortable if a candidate has done their research and has an understanding of where they will be living, and what the costs area associated with that, and what the commute will be like. Know your reason for moving here. It sounds obvious, but the question is always asked, by both recruiters and clients: why are you coming to Seattle? Clients want to know you will be putting down roots and have some connection to the area, or strong reasons for being here – they want to know you will be sticking around if they are going to invest in you. Be able to travel here for interviews. If you are going to try and secure a position prior to relocating, then you must be available to come out for interviews. Firms are usually comfortable with phone and/or Skype for initial meetings, but once an offer starts becoming a real possibility, they are going to want to meet you in person, and you should want to meet with them as well.

Seattle firms are willing to hire people who are moving here and a key step is having a plan and being able to articulate that plan to your recruiter and to clients. A good recruiter will help you identify issues and problems before they arise, and help you navigate through them to present yourself as a strong and viable candidate to a client.


Despite being in the recruiting industry for many years, I continue to be surprised by some of the basic mistakes candidates make when interviewing. Here are some tips that should be useful to all candidates, especially people new to interviewing, or who haven’t had the opportunity for some time, and hopefully will be a useful refresher for those people who have had experience. I have seen candidates chew gum in interviews, wear inappropriate clothing and even kick their shoes off and curl up in the chair during an interview. Needless to say, these candidates did NOT get the job offer.

Interviewing is a lot like dating – and while you, the candidate, are definitely evaluating the firm to determine whether or not it is a good fit, never forget that you won’t have a choice to make if you don’t get an offer.   Remember that they are evaluating you and the goal is to get that offer – and then you can decide what you want to do. Some basics: be on time. Period. Since Seattle traffic is absolutely unpredictable, give yourself extra time and if for ANY REASON you are going to be late, make sure you have your recruiter or firm number handy to let them know if there are problems. Be prepared. Bring a copy of your resume – several copies if you believe you will be meeting with more than one person. They may not ask for it, but if they do, it’s nice to have it available and always a good thing not to make the interviewer work by providing copies.   Do your research. Know something about the firm – size, type of practice areas (if more than one), commitment to pro bono, how they got their start. Remember the dating concept? If you can show you are interested in them as a firm, and want to work there, that goes a long way. Be professional – in both attire, demeanor and what you say. Impressions matter a lot – especially first impressions, so you need to look the part. Ask questions, take notes, and never, ever say anything negative about a prior employer. During interviews, firms will often try to get candidates to relax just a little too much to see where the candidate will draw the line about what they say. Limit personal comments, and remember that they are seeing how you will behave not only with them, but with potential clients and other staff. Basic stuff – but important.


The past decade has seen the Seattle legal market go through major changes. In the early part of this millennium, we saw Seattle experience a huge growth spurt, and the legal market reflected that. Those were the days of multiple offers for candidates, signing bonuses, and not enough legal staff to go around. The market downturn in 2008 hit everyone hard and it took years for the legal sector to rebound – but it has – and we are again experiencing a strong market for legal professionals.   We are at the top of the cycle again, and law firms and companies are hiring at a steady pace.

While we don’t see the type of hiring frenzy that was everywhere in the last decade, we do see a steady growth pattern and a consistently strong market. The hiring is brisk, but more thoughtful and carefully planned. Firms seem to be making decisions on the reality of the work in hand, and less on any potential projects. That means more job stability and better salaries. The legal market has continued to provide an excellent opportunity for legal professionals to earn a competitive wage, and salaries of legal staff have continued to rise steadily. The forecast looks positive for 2016.


Langley Recruiting, LLC turns 10 this month. We are celebrating our 10th year in business this February and are proud to have reached this milestone anniversary. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with the Seattle legal community as a recruiting firm these past 10 years. Working with lawyers and law firms for decades in various capacities has given Langley Recruiting a broad perspective and allowed us to enjoy relationships with many clients and candidates. One of the best things about our company is the number of referrals we get from firms and candidate who have used our services in the past – it is the best endorsement we could ask for. We look forward to another 10 years of collaboration with the Seattle community and thank all of our clients and candidates for their support.