Transformation of the labor market for lawyers and new recruitment intermediaries

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Pfor a long time, the recruitment of young collaborating lawyers, or the association of experienced lawyers

For the most part, this article takes up the analyzes…, was based solely on networks of interpersonal relations, leaving little room for the publication of advertisements for job offers, except to the address of law schools or trade union magazines, and therefore to intermediaries recruitment integrated into the professional organization and which control the progress of initial training and entry into the profession. If the mobilization of “personal judgment devices”, to use the expression of Lucien Karpik

Lucien Karpik, The economy of singularities, Paris: Gallimard,…, still occupies a predominant place in the recruitment of these court officers, they are gradually giving way to more impersonal methods of assessment, as evidenced by the growing importance given to diplomas and the prestige of the training institutes which issue them, thus contributing to the enlargement of the labor market and increased competition between these institutes

See Rachel Vanneuville, “La formation contemporaine des…. This transformation is linked in particular to the development of a business logic within law firms which are increasingly orienting their practice towards advisory activities, relative to traditional litigation activities, testifying to a change in the ” professional regime” and standards for evaluating the quality of the work of lawyers 

See Olivier Favereau (scientific director), Frank Bessis,….

2This entrepreneurial logic has resulted in the emergence of new models of collaboration that call into question the existence of a traditional professional market, in particular the pooling of training expenses, due to the increase in poaching practices

See Christian Bessy, “Lawyers, a professional market…. The institutionalist current in economics has long analyzed this problem linked to the mobility of professionals with recognized qualifications

See Clark Kerr, “The Balkanization of the Labor Markets”,…. An author like David Marsden

See David Marsden, A theory of Employment Systems, Oxford:…showed that a “professional labor market” is a fragile construction made up of both cooperative and competitive relationships between employers. Who will pay for the training of young professionals? Part of the training can be paid for by the State (initial training), but an essential part of the skill can only be acquired within and through contact with the employing companies. A company may be tempted not to contribute to these expenses and to poach workers trained by competitors. However, since the 1990s (and the merger of legal advice with lawyers dating from 1991), these poaching practices are the work of business law firms, and, among them, the largest structures that can offer high salaries, helped in this by headhunters.

3In this article, we will apprehend the emergence of new collaboration models from the transformation of the recruitment practices of law firms. These new practices are due in particular to the relations maintained between training institutes (including the Grandes Ecoles) and law firms, as well as to the development of private recruitment agencies specializing in the legal professions and the Internet sites that they develop (thus beyond the legal profession alone). The activity of these recruitment intermediaries, which are not directly controlled by the profession, is a key factor in the transformation of the labor market, even if relatively few law firms use them. But more than the quantity of connections made by these intermediaries,

4To our knowledge, there are no studies on the evolution of recruitment practices in this profession, nor even, from a more synchronic perspective, on the different recruitment channels used by law firms (or even other legal professionals or regulated professions). On the other hand, there is a general literature on the place of the different recruitment channels and the skills assessment conventions underlying these channels

See Christian Bessy and Emmanuel Marchal, “The role of networks…, in particular on the role of placement intermediaries in the construction of labor markets

See Christian Bessy and François Eymard-Duvernay (eds.), Les….

5This type of analysis should be supplemented by studies on the recruitment practices of elite professional service companies which emphasize the cultural similarities between these companies and the profiles of the candidates recruited

See Lauren Rivera, “Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of…. The interest of these works is that they also make it possible to account for the stratification of law firms and legal training schools. Thus, American law firms recruit their lawyers directly from the most reputable law schools which provide highly professional education. Not only do these law firms contribute to building the labor market by simultaneously defining the training and skills expected of candidates in general terms, but they also select them according to elective affinities during recruitment forums.

6These training and recruitment practices for budding lawyers are also implemented in the major Parisian business firms (and in certain large regional cities). These firms then invested in training institutes through their presence in university masters, which were becoming more professional, in business schools and at the new Sciences Po Law School, which developed their legal education by transgressing disciplinary boundaries

See Émilie Biland, “When managers put on the dress? The…. As in the American case, this crossover contributes to the initial formation of an elite and to competition-cooperation between the major business firms, in this upscale segment of the training and labor market. But, for the most experienced young lawyers, that is to say those who have acquired one or two experiences in law firms, private recruitment agencies play a crucial role by promoting their mobility in increasingly wide areas of circulation. , particularly open to international markets. We therefore believe it is important to study these recruitment intermediaries more specifically in order to account for the transformation of the labor market for lawyers.

7In the first part, we analyze this transformation from the presentation of case studies illustrati


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