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Today, lawyers have higher expectations for new opportunities than ever before. With schedule flexibility, hybrid work styles, and commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives becoming increasingly common in the legal industry, firms must evolve to stay attractive to top legal talent.

 When pursuing elite legal talent, your hiring process should impress applicants and position your company as the workplace that will stimulate, challenge, and aid them in advancing their careers.

If you’re dedicated to securing only the best lawyers for your legal team, it’s helpful to know how to improve the candidate experience. 

Understanding the Candidate Journey

To improve the candidate journey for lawyers, we break down and analyze the legal industry's hiring process stages. At each stage, top-tier legal talent will expect consistent and clear messaging, transparency, and personalized feedback and communication. 

While every firm might tailor their process differently, the attorney’s experience from application to onboarding usually involves most or all of the following steps.

Application Process

Once stakeholders approve the budget for a new role and a job posting that reflects the desired criteria, qualifications, and experience is published, the applications will start streaming in. Note that before publicly listing the opening, legal recruiters are often given advance notice. 

From there, the applicant pool is reviewed, with promising contenders often screened by phone or video before moving on to any other prequalifying assessments.

During this phase, applicants will benefit if you: 

  • Craft specific, concise, and clear postings to prevent misalignment
  • Ensure all stakeholders are on board to avoid down-the-line dissonance with candidates
  • Utilize an efficient application system that converts and prefills resume data 

Interview Process 

Candidates who pass the screening are interviewed to further assess their legal knowledge, cultural fit within the firm, and career goals. Several interviews may be required for a single position, with these interviews taking place virtually or in person.

You can improve your interviewees’ experience with these steps: 

  • Send interview requests with personalized messages from human HR representatives instead of automated emails 
  • Communicate your interview timing, structure, and what to expect during each round so that your candidates can prepare accordingly  
  • Create a bespoke interview experience based on each candidate’s particular qualifications  

Offer Process  

After succeeding in the interview process, the firm will extend a conditional offer to the job applicant detailing salary, title, benefits, and all of the relevant employment information. The employer performs a thorough background and reference check before sending a final offer to the candidate. 

The offer process can be enhanced for candidates by: 

  • Involving a senior partner in extending the offer and a welcome message
  • Providing clear and specific details about advancement opportunities
  • Scheduling a meeting with an HR representative to review the benefits package


Onboarding into the new firm typically begins shortly after signing the contract. This includes training on firm policies or technological platforms and fully equipping the lawyer with whatever tools or setup their work will require.

Onboarding can be enhanced with: 

  • Clear expectations with established processes and documented steps to complete
  • Personalization and an invitation for feedback throughout onboarding
  • An assigned responsible party or mentor to support new hires during onboarding 

Innovative Strategies for Enhancing the Legal Candidate Experience

There are limitless opportunities to enhance the legal recruitment process. Candidate experience benefits the most from increased efforts by recruiting staff and senior members of the hiring organization. The following best practices can help your firm create a positive candidate experience.

  • Tailor the recruitment process – A personalized approach shows lawyers that your firm cares about their career advancement, whether or not the current open role is right for them. Writing customized updates to your candidates or fine-tuning your job descriptions shows that you value the individual and will help you attract higher-quality applicants. Around 71% of individuals expect some form of personalization from their firms, so to impress top legal applicants, this should apply to the recruiting process as well.1

  • Enable efficient, transparent selection processes – The application process for your legal firm can either be a grueling process or a streamlined, user-friendly interaction; you can probably guess which type top legal talent prefers. About 73% of job applicants abandon a role if the application process takes longer than 15 minutes to complete.2  
  • Level up your communication tactics – Be proactive about communicating with candidates to keep them engaged and informed, even if it’s not good news. Generally, it takes a long time for law firms to come to a hiring decision, and delays lead to uncertainty and a bad candidate experience. To combat this, utilize regular, personalized updates such as phone calls from senior partners to reassure top candidates when hiring delays are unavoidable.

  • Offer constructive feedback – One of the worst experiences a lawyer can go through is to endure several stages of the recruitment process—screening calls, assessments, and multiple interviews—only to be rejected in the final stages with no explanation or feedback. Providing detailed and constructive feedback to your applicants can improve your firm’s reputation for providing a great candidate experience and, therefore, build goodwill for the firm as a result. 

Leveraging Technology to Attract Top Legal Talent

Around 55% of firms currently leverage AI to automate portions of the recruiting process, demonstrating how technology will be used to secure higher-quality candidates and increase efficiency in the hiring procedure.3 But how does this technology (or others) help improve your candidate experience? 

A seamless, engaging candidate journey should be the goal for any law firm hoping to attract top lawyers to open opportunities. Implementing tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and virtual reality (VR) can redefine the technological benchmarks modern firms  strive for in their hiring. 

CRM platforms aren’t just useful for managing customer communications. A CRM can be a pivotal instrument for maintaining candidate relationships by automating cumbersome tasks like storing and retrieving candidate information and sending targeted, personalized communication to potential hires. Similarly, for a modern, engaging candidate experience, use VR to provide virtual office tours and make a lasting impression on tech-savvy candidates.

Career Advancement: The Key to Attracting and Retaining Elite Talent

A sizable salary and best-in-class benefits are no longer enough to entice elite lawyers. Advancement opportunities for lawyers within your firm will excite candidates and bolster your reputation as a premier workplace.

A recent global survey by the International Bar Association asked lawyers under 40 about their job satisfaction and why they might stay in or leave their current roles. According to the survey, 54% of respondents confirmed they were likely to transition to a different firm within five years, and 38% cited lacking career progression opportunities as the most significant reason for wanting to leave.4

One of the keys to convincing top talent to join and stay at your firm is investing in career development programs. Law firm mentoring programs, educational allowances, and transparently communicated progression pathways are major advantages for incoming top-tier lawyers.

Transforming Candidate Feedback into Strategic Advantage

A great candidate experience strongly correlates with your efficiency in landing quality candidates at your firm. Any feedback you collect to improve your recruitment process is invaluable and can be leveraged into opportunities to reduce friction, anxiety, and ambiguity in the hiring journey for candidates.

One of the best methods to collect feedback on your processes is to send post-interview surveys to your candidates to gauge how productive your interviewers are. Consider a one-on-one phone call with candidates for a more personal approach to get an honest, unfiltered opinion of your practices. To gain even more perspective, consider leveraging alumni networks to discover how different communities of lawyers perceive your firm’s recruitment methods.

Partnering With Legal Recruiters for Excellence in Candidate Experience

For a truly next-level candidate experience, consider partnering with a professional legal recruiter. Aside from specializing in identifying and attracting the highest caliber candidates, the right recruiting partner can unlock all of the following benefits:

  • Stronger relationship development – Recruiting professionals nurture deep relationships with their clients, helping to better guide their career choices based on a heightened understanding of the candidate’s aspirations and needs. 
  • Enhanced communication – Veteran recruiters receive enhanced respect and trust from their clients because they strive to create superior communication standards. Guarantee transparent, timely, and constructive communication with an experienced legal recruiter.

  • Candidate advocacy – Misalignment between firms and new lawyers over misconstrued expectations can harm your firm’s recruitment reputation. A recruiting specialist advocates for the candidate’s exact needs and preferences, ensuring the candidate and the firm align on all fronts.  
  • Market insight and preparation – Legal recruitment experts create a positive experience by providing lawyers with insights into the job market and emerging trends informed by years of experience. They can also help develop candidates’ job-seeking skills by offering CV optimization advice and personalized interview coaching.

Trust E.P. Dine For A First-Rate Candidate Experience

E.P. Dine is the preeminent legal recruitment search partner for filling legal positions at all seniority levels for firms and corporations nationwide. With over 40 years of serving top employers in thousands of talent searches, E.P. Dine has the expertise, network, and technology to take your candidate experience to new heights.

As experts in the legal candidate journey, E.P. Dine’s recruiters will use the latest and most innovative strategies to develop strong relationships with top-quality candidates to ensure a perfect fit with your organization’s goals and company culture.

Ready to revolutionize your candidate experience? Visit E.P. Dine today to learn how we approach recruitment and deliver results.


  1. McKinsey & Company. The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying.
  2. HR Magazine. Candidates abandon job applications after 15 minutes.
  3. USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. How Artificial Intelligence (AI) in HR Is Changing Hiring.
  4. Courthouse News Service. Half of young lawyers expect to change jobs in 5 years.

At E.P. Dine, we are committed to delivering content that is not only relevant and insightful but also rooted in professional integrity and expertise. To achieve this, every article published on the E.P. Dine blog undergoes a meticulous review process by qualified professionals with deep knowledge and experience in the legal field and legal recruitment.

Melissa Collery


Melissa has been a recruiter for over 20 years and is Co-CEO at E.P. Dine and Managing Partner of the In-House Division. During her tenure at E.P. Dine, Melissa has had the privilege to work with the most prestigious companies and law firms throughout the country and attorneys from all walks of the profession.

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