Here are some key quotes from my latest podcast with Brian Davis, Managing Partner in New York at Major Lindsey & Africa, talking about legal searches and recruiting in the alternative investment industry:

“I like being a lawyer.  But I had just reached this point in my life where I wanted to try something new. Almost by accident, I learned about legal recruiting.”

“I figured out fairly quickly that New York is the financial capital of the world and New York lawyers want to do financial services work.  So then I decided to focus strictly on financial services.”

“At Harvard Business School, they tell you about early mover advantage, and we were the first recruiting firm to get into [the Alternatives] area. And it just exploded, as you well know, 15 years ago.”

“One of my smartest moves as a legal recruiter was recruiting my partner Dimitri Mastrocola. I know a lot of people on this call will know Dimitri.  When Dimitri joined, we were doing fine.  But he really put us into another gear.”

“One thing that we think really key to any successful placement is matching expectations, matching cultural expectations.”

“The other skill we find is really important, is managing.  And managing doesn’t mean giving somebody orders, it really means getting buy-in from your clients, getting buy-in from the whole team, and being able to communicate and not pontificate.”

“When a lawyer is at a fund, even the best lawyers and the most well-paid lawyers are still in a support function, the dreaded term is ‘the back office’. And lawyers have to realize that, especially lawyers making a move from a law firm environment where they were the profit generators. When you go in house, you’re not.”

“Most of the searches we get now, the clients want somebody who’s already doing the exact same job someplace else. The talent pool has gotten deeper on the in-house side.”

“The other change we’re seeing is much more of a focus on diversity now than it was 15 years ago, which is obviously a good thing.  I’d say every pitch we’ve gone on and every client we deal with, really is focused on getting a more diverse slate of candidates, and thereby getting a more diverse talent pool.”

“We’re not seeing [outsourcing] for roles that require some sort of legal capabilities. We’re certainly not seeing it on a GC level.  But we did see it on the compliance function for quite a while.”

“Two asset classes that really we were not involved with 10 years ago, that have really become much, much bigger, are sovereign wealth funds and family offices.”

“I always tell a candidate, if you’ve been speaking for 10 minutes, and the only voice you hear is yours, you’re probably not going to get the job.”

“We started this lunch series in December 2008, right after Lehman went bankrupt and AIG collapsed.  It was meant to be a very informal setting for lawyers to discuss what was going on at their funds. It was very off the record. . . .  We had 20 lawyers at the Harvard club. Thirteen years later, we invite over 1400 people.”