Origin Story: The Making of the Boston In-House Counsel Recruiting Team

Legal recruiter isn’t on the traditional lists of legal careers to explore while in law school. For our Boston team, we all began down more traditional paths but discovered a pretty great alternative. Read how we all found legal recruiting—and haven’t turned back.

NANCY

I have always loved being a matchmaker—helping friends and family find new jobs, future soulmates or their next home. After practicing law at Brown Rudnick and Goodwin for almost two decades and after settling major mission-driven litigations such as tobacco, hand gun and other public interest matters, I knew it was time for a new mission. I looked in all different directions but knew I wanted to stay in the legal community, which I had grown to love. Legal recruiting sounded like the perfect combination of staying in the law and utilizing my legal experience and extensive network to continue my passion toward improving the world. It felt like the best fit for my next adventure—and so it was and is.

Since I love connecting people and building relationships, this role genuinely resonated with me. My signature line expresses my life at MLA, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” But in addition to being a connector, I also learn something new every day to satisfy my intellectual appetite—ranging from extensive research about a new client company or a disruptive technology to a new substantive area of law to hearing a candidate’s intriguing life story about crossing the border. Being a trusted advisor for a client in its critical next legal hire or placing a star candidate in their impactful next role gives me continuous endorphins.

There is also an attractive entrepreneurial and innovative focus that echoes throughout MLA and always looks to a brighter future. This focus values and celebrates diversity, inclusion and belonging and leads toward a more diverse legal community and company. The focus also works toward equity and antiracism throughout our community. However, the greatest thing about this role are the other incredible in-house recruiters at MLA—both on our Boston team and in our other offices throughout the country and globe—the people make working here so special.

RON

I had a 20-plus year career in law working at Kirkland & Ellis and Verizon. My experience was extremely broad from trying cases in federal court to launching new businesses in Eastern Europe just after the fall of the wall. I was in transition for the first time in my career because my job moved to Dallas. I was lost and did just about everything you should not do in transition—including becoming depressed and losing my mojo. Like most recruiters, I did not plan to enter the field, but someone at MLA, who I will forever be grateful to, told me to look into joining MLA. I did and would not work anywhere else.

I enjoy leveraging my experience as a lawyer and recruiter to find the candidate who is the best fit for a company. The difference between a good hire and a top performer hire is the value that I try to provide my clients. The best thing about this job, however, is that you can have a very positive affect on someone’s life. Not only by placing candidates, but by giving attorneys the benefit of all your experience—especially lessons learned the hard way. Recently, an attorney I placed at a large multinational company was promoted to one of two multibillion-dollar divisional general counsel positions. My wife happens to work at the company and heard his speech at an event to honor his promotion. He started by saying that his life changed when he received a call from Ron Ciardiello. As the saying goes, that is as good as it gets.

AMY

My journey to MLA followed a highly rewarding career as an employment attorney with Boston law firm Foley Hoag, Cambridge biotech Genzyme Corporation, and on-demand in-house legal service provider Outside GC. These roles all provided me the opportunity to research cutting-edge laws, navigate challenging situations and disputes, advocate on behalf of my clients, and often put out fires. They also allowed me to work directly with outstanding Human Resources professionals who were on the frontline of providing strategic leadership for all things people. My HR clients inspired me by transforming organizations, finding great talent, designing effective organizational structures, and maximizing employee engagement and performance.

I first learned of MLA when I was exploring my next career opportunity following Sanofi’s acquisition of Genzyme. I was contacted by MLA and recruited for an employment counsel job at a retail company. I ultimately decided that the role and company were not for me, but during the process, I met my now colleague Nancy Reiner and learned about the compelling world of executive legal search. I was intrigued how MLA partnered with companies to find exceptional legal talent and helped attorneys navigate their legal careers. Just as my HR clients inspired me, I was again inspired to learn of a career that would allow me to use my legal training and expertise to maintain and build the network of legal and HR relationships that I treasured and partner with clients to help them identify outstanding legal talent to join their teams.

In 2016, I was excited when MLA reached out to share that it was adding a recruiter to its Boston in-house counsel practice and to explore if I was interested. At the time, my youngest daughter was heading off to college, and I was ready for a new challenge. I joined MLA in January 2017 and just celebrated my fourth anniversary in a job that I love. Every day I am motivated by my MLA colleagues, as well as my clients and candidates. I have meaningful conversations with extraordinarily talented people and the opportunity to help change lives and careers. I am so grateful to have found MLA and a career that is so energizing, positive and rewarding.

BOB

It is not surprising that I became a lawyer; the law is in my blood. Growing up, my father was a partner at one of the old Philadelphia law firms. One of my earliest memories is of listening to the cadence of my father’s voice as he dictated a letter (while I played with my Hot Wheels in the corner). Many years later, after college graduation, I worked for a year as an investigator for the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Office to test whether I, too, wanted to become a “Philadelphia lawyer.”

I decided to attend law school where, among other things, I represented juveniles in the District of Columbia courts as a member of a law school legal clinic. I thrived on the excitement of the courtroom and, therefore, after law school, I took a position as a litigation associate. For the next eight years, I practiced in Philadelphia, second chairing large trails, arguing appeals, taking lots of depositions, managing national litigation and even working on a U.S. Supreme Court brief. In 2002, I moved to Boston (my wife’s hometown) and continued my litigation practice for a time before moving in-house where I stayed for 14 years. When my employer, a private financial partnership, announced it would be winding down, I had to turn the page and decide what the next chapter of my life would bring.

My wife heard about a position at Major, Lindsey and Africa and told me that she thought I would be great at recruiting as I was “outgoing and disarming and love to mentor people.” The idea intrigued me. Therefore, I emailed the internal MLA recruiter. This chapter of my life really begins at Fenway Park. Later that evening, I was sitting at the Red Sox game with my two sons when my phone rang. I was working on a large real estate transaction and, therefore, at the seventh inning stretch I checked the voicemail—it was MLA. What followed the next day was a call not unlike those I have had almost every day since. The Red Sox won, by the way, and I guess you could say so did I. As a “people person” and someone who has coached and mentored young athletes, I find working at MLA rewarding—our stated purpose is, after all, to “change lives.” My MLA colleagues are a true team and family for which I am grateful but I am even more grateful for the opportunity to change lives every day.

While we all took different paths to get here, it just goes to show the road to recruiting is varied and twisted but leads to a life changing opportunity—for our candidates and ourselves.

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