Top Six Ways Your Firm Is Throwing Away Tens of Thousands of Dollars a Year Recruiting Without an Effective Applicant Tracking System

Harrison Barnes

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I’ve been a legal recruiter for twenty years and can tell you with a straight face: Most law firms are throwing away tens of thousands of dollars a year in legal recruiting expenses. And many larger law firms are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and others millions.

I do not care who the firm is, if you are not recruiting correctly, you are wasting incredible amounts of money. That’s a fact.

Here are some of the likely ways you are wasting money:

  1. Collecting Resumes Via Email Only Wastes Time and Money

Collecting resumes via email is incredibly inefficienct and something you should not be doing. If you are collecting resumes via email, then you are severely limiting your ability to recruit effectively. Here are some issues with collecting resumes via email:

  • Resumes are often lost, rejected out of hand, deleted by mistake, routed into spam folders and never seen, and more. Resumes received via email are often never even seen by hiring partners and others because they can be easily lost. They may be deleted by mistake, misfiled, and misplaced in other ways. If you receive a resume via email, it may also be rejected by one person and not forwarded when another person may have been interested in the resume. Gatekeepers exist for a reason, but many gatekeepers are often overly aggressive at their jobs and keep good attorneys out who other attorneys might have accepted. I’ve seen attorneys with millions of dollars in business rejected because someone simply did not like their law school. Having candidates email you their resume is a dangerous exercise.
    • When you use Hiring Partner, you never need to receive resumes via email. Every resume your receive goes straight into your database. You do not miss out on resumes from highly qualified candidates now or in the future. You will save on future recruiting costs and bring new attorneys in more quickly and efficiently than you otherwise would have. You will hire faster now and in the future.
  • It is a lot of work reviewing resumes received by email. Each resume received by email needs to be opened, looked at, possibly printed, saved on a desktop, and so on. Reviewing resumes received via email can consume hours that could otherwise be used for more productive activities. In many law firms, administrators, partners, and others do not enjoy reviewing resumes because of the amount of work it takes to open, store, print and review each resume. It saves you time and money when your employees can work on more productive tasks. Instead of spending your time opening resumes, Hiring Partner allows you to review each resume quickly and efficiently in a quick desktop environment.
    • When you use Hiring Partner, each resume goes directly into your database and does not need to be received via email. The resumes are stored in a way that makes them easy to view and review. You can review each resume in seconds, and it will always be stored in your database.
  • It is difficult to store resumes with email. Resumes received via email are often stored as printed copies, or in folders on a computer. This is inefficient because this means the resumes are not classified under the sort of job they are associated with, or classified by practice area, location, and job type. This makes your position that much more difficult because these resumes are not filed efficiently.
    • When you use Hiring Partner, every resume is stored in your personal cloud-based database. Each resume is classified based on the practice area, class year, location, and the job the candidate was interested in—this means that even if you do not need the candidate now, you can potentially use them in the future. Not having to come up with complicated filing systems saves you money in the future.
  • Viruses are often sent to law firms that collect resumes by email, and your email becomes available for spammers, sales people and more. Law firms are in the business of protecting their client files and need full-time uptime. Viruses can often be sent to law firms that collect resumes by email. When you receive resumes online, you often end up putting your email online, and it quickly gets into the hands of spammers and others. This means that for every resume you receive you might end up receiving ten more dubious emails.
    • When you use Hiring Partner, every resume you receive goes directly into your personal database, and you do not have to make your email public. Not having to deal with viruses saves you money. Not having to wade through endless spam emails to find each application also saves you a great deal of money and time.
  • It is time-consuming to reject resumes received via email. Resumes received via email take a lot of time to be reviewed and rejected. In many cases, law firms print every resume and still send “snail mail” letters to applicants on stationary and sign each letter. This exercise takes a great deal of time and money that could go to other more productive tasks for the law firm.
  • When you use Hiring Partner, every resume can be quickly rejected online with a customized rejection letter directly from your law firm. Using a simple, intuitive menu, you can quickly reject the resumes you are not interested in, and respond in an automated fashion. Not having to reject each resume manually saves you a great deal of money and time.
  • Resumes received via email are difficult to respond to, make notes about, and compare to other resumes. When a resume is received via email, you often want to make notes about the candidates. Because all of these notes may not be in one centralized place, this means that information can be lost, or notes may not be made at all. Additionally, you may or may not want to make confidential notes about each candidate because of their sensitive nature.
    • When you use Hiring Partner, every candidate has their own page in the database. This allows you to make notes and communicate back and forth about the candidate with others in the firm. You can make confidential notes for certain people and no observation made about the candidate is ever lost.
  • Collecting resumes via email looks unprofessional to candidates. Law firms that collect resumes by email look unprofessional to candidates and the outside world because it looks like they cannot afford—or do not care—about investing in a professional applicant tracking system,
    • When you use Hiring Partner, you will project a professional image to applicants by having a system that shows you are a professional organization. Looking professional will improve your ability to attract the best candidates.
  1. Not Storing Resumes Online Wastes Time and Money

If you are not storing resumes online, this means you are reduced to having to use traditional folder filing systems—or simply not storing resumes at all. If you are storing your resumes in a traditional fashion, you will be forced to spend a great deal of time classifying them and then looking through them each time you have a new opening. This will take you time you would not otherwise need to spend and cost you more money.

Alternatively, many law firms do not store resumes at all. This means that the resumes that come in are discarded after being received. This is not a good idea. If this is occurring, this means that the law firm is missing out on the opportunity to recruit these attorneys again if an appropriate opening comes up in the future. If a candidate is rejected from your firm the first time they apply—or does not hear back—they are unlikely to apply again. However, if you reach out to these candidates in the future when you have an appropriate opening, they may be more likely to respond.

  • When you use Hiring Partner, every resume your receive is permanently stored online. This saves you money in your future recruiting because these resumes are available and also saves you work storing the resumes when they come if (if you even do this).
  1. Not Having Resumes Properly Classified in Your Database Wastes Time and Money

Most applicant tracking systems and job boards are “one size fits all” and not made for law firms and legal hiring. This means that when applicants come in, they are not properly classified. Hiring Partner is a law firm applicant tracking system. It classifies each resume by the applicant’s practice area, location, law school, years of experience, job they applied to, and more, all categories directly relevant and necessary to legal hiring. This means that when an applicant comes into the database, it is properly captured and filed away in the correct location for future use.

  • When you use Hiring Partner, you can quickly and efficiently review every resume you receive for each job and then review them again in the future. The resumes are classified by practice area, location and more. This saves you time when you are recruiting in the future because you can easily find past applicants and match them up with your jobs.
  1. Not Being User-Friendly Frustrates Both Your Staff and All Candidates, and Wastes Time and Money

Most attorneys born after 1980 expect the law firm they are applying to to have user-friendly methods for them to apply. They expect to hear quickly from the law firms they apply to and also to apply through simple, intuitive interfaces on your site. Hiring Partner allows candidates to apply quickly to your jobs and gives your staff the ability to rapidly respond to applicants. Interviews can be scheduled, and candidates can be quickly brought in using our powerful and intuitive technology. Making a good first impression on applicants to your law firm is very important. If the candidate feels comfortable, then this will carry over into their decision to accept an offer from your firm or from a competitor.

Additionally, most human resources professionals like having a simple predictive interface that guides them through the recruitment process. While your firm still can have its own “special sauce” when recruiting attorneys, at the same time Hiring Partner makes your staff’s job even easier. We make applying to your jobs easy for candidates, closing jobs easy, reviewing applicants easy, scheduling interviews seamless, collecting staff reviews of each candidate seamless and every other step of the hiring process seamless and easy. This means that the work is more likely to get done and your hiring personnel stays happy and efficient. This saves your firm a great deal of money in having people dissatisfied in your human resources department and allows them to do their jobs predictably.

  • When you use Hiring Partner, you are using something that is easily understood by candidates and your own staff alike. A seamless process makes your staff happier, as it enables them to do their jobs in a predictable and easy way, and impresses candidates and shows them that the law firm is an efficient and friendly organization.
  1. Not Massively Promoting Your Jobs All Over the Internet Leaves Jobs Unfilled Longer Than They Need to Be, Costing Money

When you have a job opening, you need to massively promote that job to find the right candidates. That means sending it out to job sites and publicizing it as much as possible. The biggest mistake many law firms make is under-publicizing their jobs. If you underpublicize your jobs, candidates are less likely to know about them, and the job may go unfilled. An unfilled job means you could be losing clients, or work is not getting done that would earn your firm money. Jobs need to be promoted aggressively.

  • Hiring Partner sends your jobs to 100+ job sites and finds attorneys that could be good fits for your firm. By filling your jobs faster and more effectively, your firm hires more quickly and can make more money.
  1. Not Rejecting Candidates Who Apply to Your Firm Online Wastes Time and Money

If you are not rejecting candidates who apply to your firm online, you are wasting money.

First, if these resumes are being manually rejected with traditional “snail mail” letters going out, this is a waste of postage, paper, time and other resources.

Second, if these resumes are not being rejected at all this makes a bad impression for your firm in the marketplace. Also, many of these same candidates may be emailing and otherwise contacting your firm which wastes staff time.

  • Hiring Partner allows you to rapidly and efficiently reject candidates who apply to your firm It takes less than 10 seconds to reject most candidates you are not interested in. This saves you time and money.


The cumulative effect of not using an effective applicant tracking system, storing resumes, and promoting your jobs is that you end up in a position where you are spending far more money, far more time, and leaving a negative taste with your employees and applicants.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the Founder of Hiring Partner. Harrison has personally placed thousands of attorneys and is the Founder of other companies in the legal space including LawCrossing and BCG Attorney Search. His columns about attorney careers and placement are the highest trafficked and most read of any attorney career advice columns in the world attracking millions of reads per year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice.

About Hiring Partner

Hiring Partner works with law firms to help them dramatically grow their business through advanced recruiting and placement tools. Hiring Partner is an applicant tracking system that allows any law firm to recruit attorneys quickly and effectively. Hiring Partner helps hundreds of law firms recruit attorneys. Using its tools, law firms have the ability to compete at the highest levels of recruitment and placement and dramatically reduce their legal recruiting costs. For more information, please visit and set up a free account there.