Top tips for recruiting the right family lawyer

It is an exciting time when the need arises to expand the team.

It means the team is growing, the volume of work is increasing to warrant a new member and therefore profitability, and a new personality can be a great addition for the wider team dynamic and the firm as a whole.

The NQ lawyer may one day be the managing partner.

But how do you know you are recruiting the right person? When interviewing, especially for a newly qualified family lawyer, it’s important to assess not only their legal knowledge and skills but also their interpersonal abilities, empathy, and fit with your firm’s culture.

We know that family law is one of the most challenging practice areas in terms of handling the parties’ emotions and the complexities of resolving the finances and children disputes. You therefore need the right person for the job.

Here are some questions that might assist to cover their experience with client work as well as their skills and their aspirations:

“Can you share a bit about your journey into family law? What drew you to this area of practice?”

“Imagine you’re handling a case where the clients are going through a tough child arrangement battle. How would you approach the situation to ensure the best outcome for the children involved?”

“If you had a client who was overwhelmed and emotional about their divorce proceedings, how would you support them through this process?”

“In your view, what are the most important skills for a successful family lawyer, and how have you developed these skills?”

“How do you handle stress or pressure, especially in emotionally charged cases?”

“Where do you see your career in family law heading in the next five years?”

“Can you give an example of a successful teamwork experience in your past work or studies?”

The tone of the interview is just as important as the content. Keep it conversational and allow the candidate to share their stories and experiences. This will not only give you insight into their qualifications,  but also into their personality and how they might fit into your team.

Consider also whether you wish to ask colleagues in other teams to meet the candidates, so you have a well-rounded view from colleagues in different practice areas and at different stages of their careers.

An interview is a two-way process and so you should hope the candidate will ask questions about the firm’s values and culture, career progression and how they will be supported with this, training and development needs, the current case load and calibre of the wider team’s cases and how their work life balance will be met. They will sensibly also be thinking about their salary bracket and so the firm should remain competitive.

The candidate will be wanting to find a job that helps them develop their professional skills , career and aligns with their personal values and you should be looking for the candidate that will meet your expectations of legal qualification and upholds the firm’s vision.

What sets your firm apart from the next when new qualified lawyers are looking to move to a new job?

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