Meet the Empire Search Legal Recruiters: Q&A with Shumi Brody

How did you enter legal recruiting?

I don’t know anyone who says, “I want to be a legal recruiter when I graduate law school,” except for myself! The career development staff at my law school was a group of former practicing attorneys who were enthusiastic about finding opportunities for new attorneys. After seeing the type of work they did and admiring the ability they had to shape the careers of new lawyers, I was inspired to be a part of that big step in a lawyer’s legal career journey. My first recruiting position was as a recruiting coordinator at Baker Hostetler in 2007 in Cleveland, where my family still lives. I then continued working in Big Law in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. Because of my extensive experience with law firm life and my expansive network of associates in many cities, associates frequently would ask me about other opportunities. I decided to make the transition to the search firm-side, as a result of my former associates’ inquiries. I’ve now been working as a legal recruiter at search firms for four years.

What advice do you most consistently provide to attorneys as they navigate their career paths?

Keep a running list of all of your accomplishments, new skills, panel presentations, publications, recent transactions and matters, and any changes to your role. That list will allow you to quickly update your resume when the time comes to look for a new opportunity, as well as prepare you for interviews. Know why you want to make a change and how moving to a new firm or going in-house will help you reach your goals. Working with a legal recruiter and asking for that help in navigating your next career opportunity is an essential part of the job search process. We have access to hundreds of legal positions in different geographies and we will find the ones that align best to your ideal scenario.

What have you seen change the most in the legal industry since you began recruiting?

Since I began recruiting, the most dramatic change I’ve seen in the legal industry is the departure from working in the office due to the pandemic. At many firms pre-pandemic, attorneys needed to get approval to work from home. The pandemic made remote working a must. And now, as we head into the post-pandemic world, firms are starting to implement policies that mandate only three days in the office. Regardless of any new policies to return to office, working from home has become acceptable and law firms have seen how their attorneys can be productive even remotely. The shift back to the office in a hybrid manner recognizes the productivity at home or outside of the office, while also encouraging and developing the firm’s culture and collegiality by asking people to be in the office a few days a week.

What areas of legal recruiting are you focused on?

I focus on associate and partner recruiting at law firms nationally in all practice areas. I am based in San Francisco, so I’m able to meet with key leadership at Bay Area law firms and local candidates in person. One benefit of being in a relatively smaller legal market is that we are able to more easily acquire a deep-seated knowledge of all regional practice areas—knowledge which helps keep our team abreast of the market and our candidates in an always-informed position from which to make career decisions.

What changes in the legal hiring market do you anticipate?

The legal hiring market undergoes its ups and downs. Depending on the health of the economy, some practice areas will be looking to hire attorneys into their groups more than others. For example, in a downturn, where businesses may be downsizing and employees are let go, we may see more employment or bankruptcy lawsuits, which, in turn, drives up the demand for litigation attorneys. Notwithstanding the hot areas of the legal field at certain points of time, firms are still hiring. There are lots of active career opportunities nationally across many different practice areas and industries. Recruiters at Empire Search have the expertise to help candidates maneuver through any market and find the positions that match their requirements best.

What do you enjoy most about legal recruiting?

I enjoy learning about attorneys’ backgrounds. Each one is unique. Some enroll in law school immediately after graduating from undergraduate studies, while others go to law school after 10+ years of working in a different career. Some played Division 1 sports, while others worked three jobs and attended the evening program in college. Their experiences shape who they are and what types of attorneys they want to be. Getting to know each attorney makes the legal recruiting job fun and fulfilling: we learn how different we are, yet how we all have the common goal of discovering the right career path together. The relationships we build through these interactions last a lifetime.

What makes Empire Search unique in the legal recruiting space?

Empire Search allows its recruiters to work anywhere. I may live in the Bay Area, but I work with candidates nationally. When firms or candidates ask me, “Do you work with candidates in City X?” the answer is almost always yes. We work together as a team across offices despite different geographic locations. Our number one priority is finding the right employer for our candidates—using the strong relationships we have with Am Law 100 law firms, boutique law firms, and in-house clients—while also preserving confidentiality. Our connections with our candidates do not end after we place them. They are lifelong relationships we cultivate throughout their legal careers.

Shumi Brody is a Managing Director at Empire Search Partners in Northern California. Shumi can be reached at To learn more about Empire Search’s law firm and in-house legal recruiting, visit our Legal Recruiting Services page.