With an enormous amount of law firms scattered across the city, it is next to impossible to know all there is about each one of them. With each firm containing their own set of strengths and weaknesses, it becomes important for you as a candidate to gain your own perspective. It is common for our firm to witness a candidate’s opinion shift after having taken an initial meeting, making it all the more important to take a deeper look before making any decision. Below are 3 basic points that we have found to be the catalyst for consideration.

Websites Only Say So Much

Regardless of all the technological advances in the information age, personally meeting with a firm is still the best way to gain valuable information that cannot be ascertained without an initial meeting. Also, networking with the group of people you will meet at the initial meeting is a great way to get to know a law firm as well as your peers in the industry, which if nothing else, could lead to future referrals.

It’s Only an Hour

While everyone is busy, and an hour of time feels like a big commitment, we urge you to take a step back and view these meetings in the context of your career. Taking one hour out of the week to meet with the folks who could ultimately be your partners for the rest of your professional life could be the best investment you’ve ever made, at the expense of very little cost. Listen to WHY your recruiter thinks their suggestion to meet with a firm is in your best interest, and evaluate it from there. Many candidates we have placed were reluctant to take the initial meeting because of the time commitment, and they were ultimately surprised by how good of a match it was for them.

Keeping an Open Mind

It is critical to keep an open mind while assessing future opportunities in today’s law firm climate. The idea is to find the ideal match for yourself and your practice in the long run. It is common for candidates to reject talking to a firm because of something they’ve heard about them in the past. More often than not, this approach stems from a single conversation with a single person. With an open mind candidates are able to get past second hand grudges and evaluate opportunities for themselves.

In summary, taking an initial meeting with a firm that you may be on the fence with is the best way to understand the marketplace. You will be able to create contrast among the different initial meetings and be in a better position to make an informed decision regarding your career. The goal is to find a firm that you will one day be able to retire with, and you want as much information available to you as possible to properly make that very important decision. The best way to gain that information is by knowing what firms are out there, and what their platform and people have to offer.

Walker Associates places partners in law firms in NYC.