Entrepreneur and seasoned legal recruiter Lindsey Petherick focuses on delivering opportunity. The owner and founder of Edge Legal Recruitment places lawyers in positions where they thrive, with the law firms and companies who offer them the right platform for success. It’s all about creating high level connections for lawyers in Vancouver and Calgary.
“Everyone is a client and that is reflected in my entire approach to recruitment,” Lindsey says. “It’s all about finding both sides the right fit.”
And how does a recruiter determine if a good fit is likely?
“An insider’s knowledge of the market, established relationships and a dedication to the investigative process” Lindsey says. “Add to that, a genuine interest in people and a desire to help them achieve their goals. I love getting to know people. It’s a high touch, high communication approach, I invest completely in the people I work with which keeps me accountable to them at every stage of the process.”
As a niche or boutique recruiter, Lindsey places lawyers at law firms and in-house across Western Canada. Lindsey knows the legal landscape extremely well, having worked in the region for 12 years.
“When I first arrived in Canada, I joined a major national recruitment agency to oversee their International division. I built and managed a small, strong team and we interviewed lawyers from top tier law firms across the country, for clients in London, New York, Dubai and offshore. There was an enormous appetite for Canadian lawyers internationally until the global financial crisis struck” Lindsey explains. “At that point I took over our Calgary and Edmonton operations and later moved into the Vancouver market, specializing exclusively in lawyer placements and building a now-powerful network of lawyer relationships in those markets.”
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland and educated as a lawyer in England, Lindsey has lived in Canada since 2006. Married with three children, Lindsey’s family has made the West their permanent home.
“My mother’s family emigrated to Calgary, so we have a large clan in Alberta. My mother lived in Vancouver and moved to the UK after meeting my father on a visit there,” Lindsey says. “Growing up in Scotland we had a constant connection with, and regular visits to Western Canada, so it seemed a very natural fit to head this way when my husband and I were considering an adventure in our mid-20s. Canada was supposed to be a two-year plan, but now we’re here to stay!”
Lindsey created Edge on the strength of her reputation in the legal recruitment industry, to offer a more personalized service focused on finding the right fit.
“We find, going beyond skills and competencies to understanding someone’s true DNA guides us towards generating an accurate profile” Lindsey explains.
“The first step to a successful placement is a clear understanding of how the lawyer I’m assisting is hardwired, we factor in their goals, and what environment and conditions they need to succeed. I’ll know right away where to avoid and we’ll zero in on 2 or 3 potentials which offer a good platform. Then, time to set up a meeting and see if there’s a spark. Chemistry’s important and that’s usually when I hear about that ‘gut’ feeling that helps guide us.”
For lawyers in major law firms looking to make a lateral move, that means Lindsey is looking for demonstrations of creative legal problem solving, critical thinking and a commitment to exceptional client service, three key skills that communicate the strength of mind needed to be an effective lawyer in a high-pressure situation.
On the in-house side, Edge Legal Recruitment's client list is impressive. Working with companies across a breadth of industries from Oil and Gas to Retail to Financial Institutions, has resulted in providing General Counsel with the trusted legal talent they need. This applies to all kinds of companies, regardless of size. In fact, Lindsey often helps smaller companies hire their first lawyer.
“When companies in growth stage first think about bringing in legal counsel, it’s usually because their legal costs are approaching the half-million mark,” Lindsey explains. “They want to talk about a cost benefit analysis, but there is a lot more to consider. Your entire business practices will now be reviewed and most likely, there will be areas of risk which need attention, leading to a larger legal spend than anticipated.”
Edge helps clients prioritize their companies current and future legal needs, manage expectations and stay within budget. Balancing those factors helps determine what kind of lawyer to hire.
“By looking at what their legal needs have been to date, and where the company is going, we can determine whether they need, say, a generalist with industry experience, someone with a broad corporate background adept at managing external counsel, or a specialist to handle a high volume of work in specific area key to their business like a commercial leasing specialist or an IP lawyer. We identify skillset to help shape the position, add company values and culture to create an ideal profile, and that lets us go to market and zero in on the best lawyer for the role. After all” says Lindsey, “you want to like them, trust them and respect them when you’re working together day in day out.”
The intensity of communication required, on both sides, is an aspect of recruitment that Lindsey considers essential in guiding clients towards the right fit.
“I talk a lot about finding the right fit. This means finding someone whose values and attributes reflect the behaviours, beliefs and attitudes of their potential employer," she says. “If someone doesn’t fit the organizational culture then, regardless of the size of practice or experience they bring, don’t hire them! Eventually, instead of celebrating the synergies that exist, one or both sides will become unhappy with perceived differences and the start of a rift will appear. Retention is a huge issue on the agenda of law firms and companies in Canada right now and a lot of this can be solved by ensuring your new hire is a strong cultural fit with your organization.”
Edge offers in-depth search services to seek out exceptional talent, often in very tight markets. That level of precision head hunting requires a tailored approach for each lawyer targeted. It makes their conversations meaningful and if the timing is right, forges lasting connections based on understanding and shared interests.
“We are extremely invested in seeing people succeed,” Lindsey says. “Our insight, attentiveness and care through the recruitment process leads to great client service. On top of that, we really love what we do. We’re respectful, down-to-earth and honest and judging by the warm welcome Edge has already received. People seem to be responding well to us!”
Kate Baggott's technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review at MIT, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun, and on the Business to Business News Network
Kate Baggott is the author of two short story collections.
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