Reasons Why Your Legal Staffing Agency Is Ignoring Your E-Mails And Calls

So your project is over…or you are trying to get onto a temporary lawyer assignment for the first time. You’ve been calling all of your legal staffing agencies every day inquiring about available projects but they never seem to return your phone calls or e-mails. Welcome to Temp Town my friend. It happens all the time and drives even project-seasoned grunts like myself nuts. When I first started out a few years ago, I always worried excessively when agencies failed to return my calls or neglected to offer me any updates about project availability. Over the months, I’ve learned to develop a thick skin and a better understanding of why some agencies choose to ignore their bleating contract attorneys.

Why Are The Agencies Showing You No Love:

  1. You’ve Been Blacklisted – This is the worst case scenario but it happens more frequently than people think. There is temporary blacklisting and then there is permanent blacklisting. Temporary banning occurs if you commit an act such as bailing on a project, but can manage to later come up with a relatively credible excuse. The agency may be initially loathe to submit you for further projects but may reconsider in a few months or so, particularly if the market picks up and they are strapped for workers.

    Permanent blacklisting is bad news. This means you’ve done something that has really pissed the agency off or demonstrated that you are an individual that cannot be trusted to handle the duties and responsibilities of the position. Perhaps you severely inflated the hours you worked or you walked off the assignment without a valid excuse. Usually it has to be extreme for the agency to permanently ban you.

    If you’ve been blacklisted, you might not know it for certain but you are likely to never hear from the agency again either through email or phone. They will simply ignore your inquiries. My advice if that happens is to try to get back into their good graces, particularly if it’s an agency that frequently has a lot of good projects. Try to reach a live rep and explain your story with a convincing explanation. Even seemingly permanent blacklistings can be reversed with some fancy verbal spins.

  2. There Are No Projects Available – If there are no contract jobs out there, agencies have no incentive to call back because there is nothing to report. Since there is no financial gain to be had, some may choose to ignore the hordes of people calling in when things are slow. There is always something going on in Contract Attorney Land, but not all agencies have an equal hand in it. It all depends which agency was able to successfully bid out the competing staffing firms. That’s why I recommend registering with a wide range of agencies – so you can maximize your leads and chances.
  3. You Are Not On the Agency’s Preferred Short List For Regular Assignments – Some agencies have a short roll of regular permanent temps they frequently work with as they have built up a good relationship over the years. When the market is slow and projects are harder to come by, agencies will usually turn to their own internal lists to fill staffing needs before blasting out an all public bulletin request for applicants. To get onto the short list you have to butter up your agent over time and become friends.
  4. You Do Not Keep In Touch With Them Often Enough and They’ve Forgotten You – Staffing agents get bombarded with e-mails and calls daily. Here’s one way to look at it – think of the agency as the parent, with a few hundred screaming babies representing contract attorneys. Mom can’t attend to all of the babies at once. If you really want her attention, you had better learn to drag your diaper over there to tug at her pant leg or scream louder than the other toddlers. So, bug the agencies persistently but cordially.
  5. You Are Not Telling the Staffing Agent Which Project You Want To Be Submitted For – Like most employers it makes their job much easier when you tell them exactly which project you want to be a candidate for. Rather than taking the easy route of asking them to submit you for any project, rise to the top of the pile by telling them exactly what you want, e.g. “I want to be submitted for that project down in Fall Church that no one wants,” for example. Or, “please submit me for the project requiring an accounting background because I have the necessary degree qualifications.” I recommend scouring the job forums, the Yahoo Contract Attorney Groups, Craigslist, and the PosseList for leads and then contacting the agency staffing the project in question with directions to submit you for it.
  6. Some Legal Staffing Agencies Focus Mostly On Permanent or Lateral Hires – One notable example would be Kelly Law Registry. They are a big name in the legal staffing world but I’ve rarely seen them staff a contract attorney project. Inquiries for contract attorney positions are likely to go unanswered with similar agencies as well.

10 Responses to “Reasons Why Your Legal Staffing Agency Is Ignoring Your E-Mails And Calls”

  1. lawbreakers Says:

    Is this a website about attorneys or about contract work? You should change your website to I am an attorney, but this site seems to be towards contract work, not real legal matters. Just giving suggestions, but well-written entries.

  2. Temp Partner Says:

    Hmm…both? 🙂

    As for the website name change, unfortunately, someone’s already swiped that other domain name. I plan on doing contract work for a long while but I figure if I ever have a monumental change of plan, I can always use the same domain name and write about “real attorney issues” here, whatever that may be exactly.

  3. M Says:

    There is another reason that you could be ineligible or have no calls. Let me explain. I encountered this a great deal when I was working in Info Techn. Let’s say a big production house McDonald Douglas needs extra computer help. It sends a notice to its Vendors (recruiters) it has openings and needs people to interview. The recruiters create employment ad for Monster, Newspapers, Job Service etc… and this Ad would give a generic job description (basics) and no primary employer name or information. Job searches would see the Ad and respond. So, Job Searcher applies to FiServe (Recruiter) and Computer People (Recruiter) … all vendors trying to pull applicants into this project through a generic Ad. The Recruiters bundles her net resumes and sends them to McDonald Douglas. If two or three Recruiters submit the same applicant’s resume then the resume is junked to prevent conflicts over who has the applicant. This is bad for the applicant who is submitting his resumes hoping to find a job. The end result is no interview through no fault of the applicant. An applicant could stay with one recruiter, but the recruiter owes no allegance to him or her and may go months without a project. Does this happen in legal recruiting yet?

  4. Vinny C. Says:

    Response to M.

    Actually, a lot of the temp recruiters that I’ve dealt with will call you up before submitting your resume. They’ll say something like “I’m about to send your resume to . Is that okay with you?” And they’ll wait until you okay it. At the same time, they’ll ask you if any other temp agency has already called you about working at that law firm, meaning they’ll figure out if another temp agency has already submitted you. If yes, then the second agency won’t submit you.

    As for the meat of the entry, my limited interaction with Kelly has been pretty good. I’ve worked for them once. The fact that they do a lot of permanent placement is actually something I like about them. I’m hoping that if I get a good rep on the temp side, it might help me out on the perm side somewhere down the line. Maybe that’s a pipe dream.

    As a reverse scenario from what this entry is about, I’ve found that there are some agencies that perhaps do too much contacting. There have been a couple I’ve dealt with that will give updates as to what they think is in the pipeline. They’ll say something like “We don’t know for sure yet, but we’re very hopeful that next week we’ll be getting XYZ project and we wanted to get a rough idea of how many of you are free.” Invariably, the project goes elsewhere, usually to another city. (or so they say) I like the updates, but still, it’s depressing when it turns out the project won’t happen.

  5. John Says:

    Sorry, I have to do this again. I left one comment and I felt bad about it for leaving it. But your pathetic ness drives me crazy. You are a Motha F&*^^* attorney. Take that to heart and do not let others see your weaknesses. Quit being such a Pus*(&. I am 100% serious. Getting a good jobs and getting laid I am sure go hand in hand. I don’t think you are getting laid because you come across as a pathetic loser. Step up dude, quit complaining and make it happen instead of making exscuses why agencies bring you down.

    Agencies are supply and demand. At times you are not in demand. Sorry you do not get them to call you back. Same with chicks, sometimes they just do not want to call you back to tell you no…

  6. Temp Partner Says:

    Whew…harsh….you seem to think that I believe agencies are bringing contract attorneys down. That’s incorrect. I think agencies are dependent on the contract business model as much as the K attorneys are. It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship where we all need each other to operate effectively and efficiently. But occasionally some of the parts don’t play fair, which prompts me to point them out for the other parties to see. What they do with the information is up to them. They can choose to ostracize the offending party or they can choose to pander. I’m just disseminating informational insights.

    I personally do quite well thank you.

  7. Dear John Says:

    I found your comment really antagonistic, inappropriate, and offensive. Are you seriously an attorney??? I would be SOOO ashamed to retain you as counsel if you think “getting a good job goes hand in hand with getting laid”. Your comment reeks of insecurity and unprofessionalism.

    “Step up dude, quit complaining and make it happen instead of making excuses why agencies bring you down”. I’m sorry, but I don’t think the blogger came off as being a complainer. If anything, he’s just giving his personal take on how these agencies operate. Sure supply and demand issues take place in the contract world, but there are other factors that explain why some people get more call backs than others.

    “Agencies are supply and demand. At times you are not in demand. Sorry you do not get them to call you back. Same with chicks, sometimes they just do not want to call you back to tell you no…” – It’s quite apparent that you’ve been scarred by women in the past. Sorry to hear that you’re not that great in the dating department. But, you know, it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    “I don’t think you are getting laid because you come across as a pathetic loser.” – Um…all I can do is laugh at this pathetic comment. I mean, seriously who’s the real loser in all this, John?

    “Take that to heart and do not let others see your weaknesses.” – Ah…famous words to live by, don’t you think, John?

  8. LC Says:

    Regarding “John”…

    I really do not know the purpose of your macho posturing on this board. You sound like a insecure guy on his third drink at a bar with his buddies getting loud on a subject he has limited knowledge on. I, for one, enjoy this board and the blogger’s insight into the market. Like the women who have the misfortune of sitting near you while you wave your glass of beer around, loudly talking, it is a big turn-off.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. Blog!

  9. John Says:

    Couple of things. Truly sorry for making such harsh comments. I do feel stupid but in the spirit of blogging I think you guys can read between the lines of what I was saying and understand my point. Dont take it for what it is.

    You guys are attorneys. That means Creme of the crop and destined to make money and a difference. I don’t buy the whoa is me attitude for attorneys. Temps get paid different amounts because the agency calls up and says, Will you take the job for 50 dollars an hour?” You either say yes or no. If you say no you may counter. If you are making more or less than the person next to you that really is life. It really is not the agencies responsability to wait until they find the top dollar to be paid and then match that with everyone else.

    If you really want to know, this is what happens. They get the project and are told they can bill 75 an hour for example. The companies policy is to do an autmoatic markup of 65%. They start with that and get most of the people at the one rate. Then based on the fact that there is a labor shortage they have to pay others more to do the same job. This is not anything to blog about. It is really just duh….

    I am sure you get laid a lot. But the tone of this blog is me against the man and the man is the agency. I come down harsh on you because you have options. You can work for this agency or you can go work for someone else. You would never hear me or most other people complain about who they work for in such a manner. If I didn’t like them I would quit in a heart beat. We are in the best job market in 100 years. I want to see you blog about how great your job is and how much money you are making becasue you love going to work.

    but yes, sorry for coming across as such a jerk in prior blogs.

  10. Penny Says:

    I once got permanently blacklisted from an agency because ONE law firm told such bald=faced lies about me that the agency decided to NEVER place me again. I could have sued the company for defamation but at the time I hadn’t finished law school yet. That was in so-called liberal non-racist San Francisco, but what I think is that they took ONE look at the colour of my skin and made up so many lies about so many things I’d allegedly done wrong IN ONE DAY that would have made Hitler look good. Like I said, I should have sued the company for defamation, but when they do things like that why does the agency always take their side?!?!

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