Remote Work – Is it here to stay?

Though it is too early to tell what the majority of law firms are going to do in 2021, it is safe to assume that things have changed in some ways permanently.  Most firms we have surveyed have said that they anticipate some “return to normal working practices” but that it will look different, and likely be some sort of a hybrid situation, with possibly core hours, or staggered days, where people will come into the office, while still maintaining some remote work.  Firms are in no hurry to rush people back into the office, and are taking a “wait and see” approach and trying their best to formulate the safest and most efficient plans for a return to work.  All firms are following safety protocols and those that are working in-office are doing so with social distancing, masks and a staggered schedule with individual spaces/offices being utilized.  Though it is impossible to say with certainty what the landscape will be as restrictions are further lifted and we see a return to “normalcy” it is very likely that we will see significant and lasting changes to how firms and their employees work.

Job Market Update 2021

The legal job market is picking back up, and there are quite a number of positions open for a variety of legal staff.  Please see our website, LinkedIn updates and other postings for details.  We anticipate that firms will continue to hire throughout the year.  This is a great time to explore new options if you are thinking of making a change.  It will likely be possible to negotiate advantageous arrangements in terms of a balance of remote work and in-office work.

Virtual Interviews Available

Currently we offer virtual interviews via Zoom or Face Time;  we also are able to meet in person in a safe, socially distance conference room in our downtown office, with masks on.  Your preference will be accomodated.


Yesterday, February 26th, was Langley Recruiting’s 12th anniversary.  Not a “milestone” year but still I stopped to pause and be grateful that I’ve been doing this for as long as I have.  It gave me a reason to thank all of the clients and candidates who have come my way over these past 12 years.  I’ve had a front row seat to the incredible boom in the early and mid-2000’s as well as the bust of 2008 and the recession that followed.  The legal sector in Seattle is certainly thriving as I write this, and it has been great to see the market revive.  I’ve learned many things, but probably the most important is that things change constantly, but providing great service and always working with integrity has taken me through these past 12 years, and will see me through the next 12. 


Something that I see on a regular basis is a great candidate who gets turned down for a job because they didn’t do well in the interview. Something that all candidates should keep it mind is that it should be your goal to get an offer from the interview process. It will be your choice if you want to accept it, but that should be your goal. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure you are addressing what the position is in the interview; make sure to tie your skill set to the requirements of the position, and bring out any parallels within your skill set that align with what the client is asking for. This is one of the most important things you can do in an interview.


In a word, don’t.  Seattle is a very small legal community, and you can be sure that how you handle things in the workplace, specifically when you are separating from your firm, will follow you.  If at all humanly possible, give the appropriate amount of notice.  There are some very specific circumstances where this wouldn’t apply, but they are extremely rare.  Leaving a firm with no notice, usually associated with some sort of argument or disagreement that you feel cannot be fixed, or hasn’t been dealt with in a way that you would have found acceptable, is never a good idea.  It is always best to give notice, act professionally for every hour you remain in the office until that period is completed and never – ever – speak negatively about a former employer in an interview. 


If you are considering a new position, having a recruiter assist you can be the best move you make.  It makes sense to be proactive and meet with a recruiter for many different reasons:  maybe your group is changing at work and you know there will be downsizing, so finding a new position is imperative;  maybe you are generally unhappy with how your firm/company is growing or changing;  perhaps you just want to see what else is out there and find out if your rate of pay is competitive;  many people want to find a new position to be challenged, and learn a new area of law.  We encourage any candidate who falls into these categories as someone who should consult with a recruiter, and that includes candidates who are bombarded with cold calls from recruiters.  In that case, it is more important than ever for you, the candidate, to be in control and choose who you work with.  Getting cold calls from recruiters doesn’t mean the recruiter is interested in your welfare – they are trying to fill a specific opening – and aren’t going to be interested in what YOU want.  You should take the time to find a recruiter who will look for what you want, and have your best interest in the forefront.  That means the job search can certainly take longer, but ultimately, it will be significantly to your advantage.  Recruiters will know what the market is like, can offer suggestions about alternative firms that may fit with what you want in a new position;  they can discuss your compensation and let you know whether or not it is competitive in today’s market, and also share thoughts about where the industry is headed, and what type(s) of positions are going to be changing in the future, and what staff roles will continue to thrive.  Don’t be reactive – this is your future at stake and you should take the time to find someone that you fit well with who can work collaboratively with you to find the best fit. 


Since this very divisive election cycle there is no way to avoid conflict in dealing with others.  It is happening everywhere we go – grocery store, coffee line at Starbucks, at sporting events, and apparently on airplanes as well.  What is happening in our world is on everyone’s mind – which is a good thing – but how we express our thoughts and opinions is more important than ever.  Law firms have always been filled with bright, motivated and driven people and conversations about a wide range of topics take place.  It is extremely important to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and being able to listen (that is the key) and still respectfully disagree should be a priority for everyone.  If family ties are being torn asunder, imagine what holding different viewpoints can do for working relationships.  Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people isn’t the answer – so take a deep breath and be willing to listen, and summon up all those old lessons in manners and politeness – and put them to use.  We must be able to work together despite our differences and somehow find common ground that will allow us to work productively and collaboratively.


As an experienced recruiter I get this question all the time:  “which is better?  A large firm or a small firm?”  Impossible to say – each firm has positive and negative things about them, and about the available positions within their firms.  I encourage each candidate to think carefully before ruling out either firm – salaries are not always better in larger firms;  growth potential can be available in both, or stymied in both.  Again, it will totally depend on the firm in question, and the position that firm is trying to fill.  We encourage candidates to think about their goals when trying to find the right match, and those goals may be met in a firm of any size.  Some generalizations tend to be true:  we see a higher level of technology in larger firms, and a better level of training;  make sense – they have more funds and more personnel to dedicate to these areas, and more to learn;  more flexibility in smaller firms also tends to be true – there are less rules to follow, people tend to share work burdens more collaboratively and it is easier to have knowledge of other staff member’s jobs/responsibilities so people can more easily cross-train and cover for each other.  However, there are exceptions to all of these, and each firm must be taken individually and evaluated.  Once the candidate is aware of their goals, and what they want, they can determine if the fit is right.  Don’t rule out any firm based on size – learn more about how they are structures, and what their values are before making that decision.


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.