Diversity Found in Recruiting

Singing a college alma mater song at the Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson law firm might be a health hazard.
That is because the 51 attorneys in either the Tulsa or Oklahoma City offices have represent 22 different law schools.
Now, while the alma mater might be different, they have joined forces to bring diversity to the firm.
Diversity is the goal as new attorneys are recruited, according to James P. McCann who heads the recruiting effort.
He has been involved in recruiting for Doerner Saunders, 320 South Boston, Suite 500, for more than five years.
Candidates are recruited from the top 10 percent of the nation’s major, regional law and local law schools, McCann said. These include the University of Tulsa College of Law, University of Oklahoma College of Law, and Arkansas.
They also are sought from top tier schools including Southern Methodist University, Vanderbilt, Harvard, Notre Dame, Washington and Lee, Washington University and St. Louis University.
Keys to consideration for selection include serving as student writers for law reviews and legal journals. In addition, they also must have been in the top academically and been in a leadership capacity as undergraduates.
‘‘We always look beyond the local market in our recruiting efforts,’’ he said. Probably half the members of this firm have had no previous connection with Oklahoma.’’
McCann chuckled as he noted he earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco.
Recruiting on the wide scale brings in a mix of people that contribute in a variety of ways to the firm.
One attorney and former clerk will join Doerner Saunders in September. He is a graduate of the Oswego Law College in upstate New York and had worked for a time in Lexington, KY.
He had never been to the state before and the tradition continues of hiring people nationally, McCann said.
‘‘We do see a lot of people — law students and attorneys — looking for work,’’ he said. Interviews are scheduled with between eight and 15 people when the team visits a campus. About two dozen are invited back to Tulsa where they spend an average of 30 minutes with between eight and a dozen attorneys in the firm. At the end of that time about 10 job offers are made and perhaps four to seven are accepted.
The interview process is rigorous.
Both sides have expectations
Young people have changed their outlook during the past 25 years, McCann added. Today, the 20 somethings graduating from law school judge the quality of life they expect to live as well as city where they will live among the top reasons for selecting a law firm.
A quarter century ago people coming to work expected to work hard with less regard to personal lives.
Many new attorneys get a look at the firm through the law clerk system when they come to work for six weeks, he explained. All are told on the first day they are at a job and are expected to be on time each day.
Those six weeks provide a win-win situation for both sides because the clerks have the opportunity to look at the firm and the firm looks at them.
‘‘We want to see if the law student’s work has the quality we need and whether they will fit into the firm’s structure,’’ McCann continued. They get to explore a full program and are not just assigned to one task.
The ability to mix socially also is important for applicants. People spend more time working than with family and friends, he said. They want to know what is available for recreation and entertainment when they are away from the job. That trend among new lawyers is true throughout the country.
The ability to socialize and be part of the community is a Tulsa attraction.
One of the reasons people like Tulsa is because of the lower cost of living and the commute time is much less. They realize that while they might not earn the higher salaries paid by large law firms in Dallas, New York or other metropolitan area, they can afford a nice home in Tulsa. They find they might spend less than an hour going to and from work compared to the hour-long trek found in other large cities. These are issues that candidates get to review in a six-week period and they get a good sense about the community.
Lateral hires make up the second — and smaller — group of attorneys brought into the firm each year.
This attorneys and their selection depends on very specific needs at Doerner Saunders, McCann said. Attorneys regularly are hired away from other firms in Tulsa and the region. Specialties recently filled include patent and trademark attorneys and those steeped in labor law. There also were needs in Indian and labor employment law.
New hires, while they know they will have a lot demanded of them, have their expectations, McCann admitted. ‘‘I can see where some new young lawyers are coming from and I agree with them. The law is a tough business. But also is enjoyable.’’



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