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Understanding the Coded Language of Attorney Job Listings

Understanding the Coded Language of Attorney Job Listings

Legal Recruiters in Los Angeles, CA

Attorneys who are looking to make a transition to a new position, whether to a law firm, or to an in-house legal department, often begin by exploring attorney job listings on popular online platforms.  HR departments tend to use coded language in such listings, though it is not always a conscious decision.  Coded language can be hidden proof of a particular type of organizational culture, which is valuable information when attempting to evaluate different positions.

Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, our experienced legal recruiters provide comprehensive guidance over the course of the hiring process.  We can reduce some of the uncertainty of the hiring process, such as poring over job listings (and the coded language thereof).  If you’d like to speak to one of our recruiters about your candidacy, your career outlook, and what possibilities might be available to you, then we encourage you to contact us at your earliest convenience.

Gendered Terminology

Gendered terminology is extremely common in the legal industry, though it’s important to note that the very existence gendered terminology is itself controversial.  Terms that are traditionally associated with masculinity, such as “aggressive” or “competitive” are not necessarily unappealing to female attorneys who are looking to actively engage with that sort of work environment.  Similarly, “cooperative” work environments may be perceived as traditionally more “feminine,” but that does not mean that male attorneys would not find such an environment appealing.

The key issue with gendered terminology is whether it could be indicative of a biased workplace.  Coded, gendered language in a job description might be a subtle indication of something more broad and systemically problematic.

For example, a Biglaw firm that prides itself on its aggressive and highly-competitive work environment may only respect the sort of aggression and competitive spirit that men are likely to express, and may simply gloss over and fail to recognize the ambitions, competitiveness, and intelligence of women who are expressing their career skillset in a different way.

At Garb Jaffe & Associates, we have an extensive network of professional relationships throughout California, giving us an “insider” understanding of specific firms and in-house departments.  With this information, we are able to evaluate the truth about particular work environments, and whether it would make for a good fit.

Geeky Language

In recent years, particularly in California, many firms and in-house organizations are making use of tech industry terminology to appeal to recently-graduated, younger attorneys who may be expecting a “millenial” approach to business marketing.  Geeky language more typical of the tech industry (i.e., ninja, nerd, guru, etc.) is meant to soft-signal to a potential candidate that the organization is forward-looking, fun, tech-savvy, and perhaps more willing to go the extra mile to make opportunities for young, ambitious attorneys.

Work Hard, Play Hard

“Work hard, play hard” language is typically used to target candidates who are not overly concerned about maintaining a balanced lifestyle.  When organizations proudly reference the fact that they play hard, they may be emphasizing the sort of internal cohesion that tends to develop from spending an excessive amount of time together with coworkers.

Though not always, routine work dinners and after-work drinks are quite often indicative of an unhealthy work culture.  Further, this work-related socializing may be used to justify heightened demands on an employee’s time and effort.

Consult an Experienced Legal Recruiter at Garb Jaffe & Associates for Guidance

Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, our experience Los Angeles legal recruiters have spent decades assisting attorney-candidates with every step of the hiring process, from identifying potential landing spots to evaluating organizations for “best fit” factors, and more.

We believe that by working closely with attorney-candidates early on, we are able to help guide them through the hiring process successfully.  Thanks to our extensive network within various law firms and in-house legal departments throughout California, we have the information necessary to properly advise candidates in a way that they would otherwise not have access to.

Legal recruitment services are often misunderstood.  As recruiters, we are paid by employers so that they can find qualified candidates that are most suitable for a given position.  The candidates themselves do not have to pay for our services.

Curious about our services, and what we can do to guide you in your job search?  Call us at 310-207-0727 or send us a message online to connect to one of the legal recruiter at Garb Jaffe today.  We look forward to assisting you.

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