Ron Jordan, who runs the recruiting firm Carter-White & Shaw, had just two things on his desk when he started his legal headhunting career in San Francisco in 1991: a Martindale-Hubbell directory and a rotary phone. He found lawyers easier to deal with than the chief financial officers he’d been placing, whose first act would often be to renegotiate their own placement fee.

By the time Billy Nason, a budding legal recruiter, threw himself into the profession in June 2019, however, the game had changed. Nason, 35, an ex-firefighter and the son of a prominent California legal recruiter, has law firm job openings pushed to his phone three times a day from LinkedIn, ALM Intelligence, Leopard Solutions and other sources. He says he often has two phones ringing at a time, and he’s in constant contact with lateral associate candidates by phone, email and text.