How to Hire a Lawyer

Does your growing business need a lawyer? Lawyers can assist with an array of business needs, such as interpreting and unpacking complex laws. Recruiting a lawyer can also help you protect your company and assets by avoiding costly legal entanglements. An experienced lawyer can use the law to advocate for your needs.

Here are some tips to help you find great lawyer candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Lawyers searching for jobs on Indeed* 

13,760

Job seekers that clicked lawyer jobs

3,293

Resumes for job seekers with lawyer experience on Indeed

571

Lawyer jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring lawyer?

  • Common salary in US: $54,630 yearly
  • Typical salaries range from $14,000$154,000 yearly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, lawyer jobs in the U.S. are very competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 24 job seekers per lawyer job.

Why hire a lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer can mitigate legal complications and save you time and money. An accomplished lawyer will be able to advocate for your company or clients. From ensuring your business is legally compliant and helping with taxes to negotiating leases and contracts and securing patents, lawyers are a valuable asset.

Contributions of a great lawyer:

  • Review discovery documents and determine the best course of action in each case
  • Research legal concepts, case law, judicial opinions, statutes, regulations, etc.
  • Provide proper legal citation and statutory interpretation
  • Maintain accurate case files and adhere to important deadlines
  • Provide legal advice
  • Negotiate cases to meet your needs

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance lawyer

Law firms typically hire full-time lawyers, but you can also hire a freelance lawyer depending on your needs. A full-time lawyer is ideal if you have a consistently high caseload that can keep a full-time lawyer busy. Hiring an in-house lawyer creates consistency in how cases are handled and can help develop relationships with clients who might need your services in the future.

Freelance lawyers are an option when your caseload fluctuates frequently. You can bring in a freelance lawyer short term when you have an influx of cases. When things slow down, you can go back to only your full-time lawyers. You might also bring in a freelance lawyer with experience in a certain area of law if no one on your staff has that expertise.

What are the ranks of lawyers?

Lawyers move through ranks based on both years of experience and merit. In a typical law office, these are the ranks of lawyers:

  • Managing partners: These senior-level executives are often founders of the law firm and sit at the top of the hierarchy. They manage operations, control the strategic vision and head the executive committee.
  • Equity partners: An equity partner shares in the profits as a joint owner of the firm. 
  • Non-equity partners: These partners typically receive a salary and don’t share the profits. They might have some voting rights. Non-equity partners are often promoted to equity partners.
  • Associates: This is the name for most of the lawyers at the firm who aren’t partners yet. They work directly with clients handling cases. Some firms distinguish between junior and senior associates.
  • “Of counsel” lawyers: These lawyers have an ongoing connection to the law firm, but they aren’t actual employees. They handle cases or offer consultations as needed.
  • Summer associates: Think of this position as an internship for law students. This internship is usually temporary but might result in a full-time job at the firm.

Where to find lawyers

To find the right lawyer for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Offer internships. Set up a summer associate program to attract recent law school graduates. Offer full-time jobs to the interns with the most promise.
  • Participate in legal events. Attend conferences and other events for lawyers. You might speak at a conference to make your firm well-known. Talking to many people at the conference is also a good way to network.
  • Hire internally. When you need a more senior position, look at your current lawyers first. They already know how you handle things in your firm and can start in the new position immediately. If you have a paralegal who’s attending law school, offer that person a job upon graduation.
  • Post your job online. Try posting your lawyer job on Indeed to find and attract quality lawyer candidates.

What are the ranks of lawyers?

Lawyers move through ranks based on both years of experience and merit. In a typical law office, these are the ranks of lawyers:

  • Managing partners: These senior-level executives are often founders of the law firm and sit at the top of the hierarchy. They manage operations, control the strategic vision and head the executive committee.
  • Equity partners: An equity partner shares in the profits as a joint owner of the firm. 
  • Non-equity partners: These partners typically receive a salary and don’t share the profits. They might have some voting rights. Non-equity partners are often promoted to equity partners.
  • Associates: This is the name for most of the lawyers at the firm who aren’t partners yet. They work directly with clients handling cases. Some firms distinguish between junior and senior associates.
  • “Of counsel” lawyers: These lawyers have an ongoing connection to the law firm, but they aren’t actual employees. They handle cases or offer consultations as needed.
  • Summer associates: Think of this position as an internship for law students. This internship is usually temporary but might result in a full-time job at the firm.

Writing a lawyer job description

A thoughtful job description is important to finding qualified lawyer candidates. A lawyer job description should include a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your lawyer job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on lawyer jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Attorney
  • Attorney or counsel or lawyer
  • Lawyer
  • Legal
  • Counsel
  • Lawyer or attorney
  • Lawyer or attorney or counsel
  • Attorney or lawyer
  • Associate attorney
  • Attorney remote

Interviewing lawyer candidates

Exceptional lawyers will be confident answering questions about their past work experience or legal specialization that suits your company’s needs. Hire the right lawyer for your company by asking meaningful interview questions that reveal a candidate’s qualifications, skills and unique personality traits that make them a great fit for the role.

Topics for lawyer interview questions:

  • Length and depth of expertise in legal practice
  • Types of cases generally represented
  • Familiarity with your business’s industry
  • Do they represent competitors in your industry?
  • Approach to representing or winning a case
  • Charge for services (hourly, on contingency, retainer or flat fee) if hiring on a one-time basis

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of lawyer interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a lawyer

Do I really need a lawyer?

When deciding if your law firm needs a new lawyer, look at the current caseload and your staff’s ability to handle it. If they’re constantly overloaded, it’s likely time to hire a new lawyer. If your current lawyers only occasionally need help keeping up, using an “of counsel” lawyer or freelance lawyer can help you get through the busy times.

How do I keep my lawyer happy?

Trust your lawyers to handle their cases competently without micromanaging everything they do. Flexible working hours and locations can give your lawyers job satisfaction. Emphasize work-life balance with your lawyers to help them avoid burnout. Promoting lawyers from within is also a motivator since your lawyers will know they have the chance to advance.

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