Recruitment Veterans Open Placement Firm

Recruitment Veterans Open Placement Firm
Duo: Dan Hatch and Jennifer Henderson have launched a legal placement firm.

Three longtime law firm recruiters have joined forces to launch Hatch Henderson Fivel, a bicoastal firm placement agency that works mostly in the Los Angeles market despite being based in Irvine.

The firm was founded by Dan Hatch, Jennifer Henderson and Michelle Fivel in May. The three previously worked together at Major, Lindsey & Africa, and Hatch had also co-founded the now-shuttered Hatch Gamble Brown.

“We’ve known each other for a long time,” said Hatch, who noted that the three have more than 60 years of combined experience in the field. “I personally recruited both Jenn and Michelle into recruiting.”

In HHF, the three aim to pair attorneys with appropriate law firms for their trajectory throughout their careers. They also work with firms seeking partners and associates with specific skillsets. Many firms and attorneys who previously worked with the trio at prior firms have followed them on their new venture, they said.

Hatch and Henderson will primarily work here, while Fivel is based in New York. Although the company presently operates remotely, with a de facto Irvine headquarters, a representative said its plans to explore options for an L.A. office next year after hiring additional recruiters to be based there. Approximately 80% of its business is with L.A. firms and attorneys.

“All three of us have a huge amount of contacts and once you go through it, you realize how extensive our network is. The law firms are all interested in continuing to work with us,” Fivel said. “Our clients are looking for us to do work outside of our immediate territories and there’s so much that carries over — so much knowledge about each firm and their players — that really helps us in having a broader geographic reach.”

Working as recruiters for so long has proved rewarding, Henderson said, because of the relationships they’ve built along the way and the careers they’ve helped foster.

“The people, the associates, we’ve made relationships with throughout our careers are now partners,” she said. “It does allow us a lot of opportunities to work with lawyers of all levels and in different markets and pay attention to what is hot in different markets.”

While there are established recruiting agencies to compete with, a large component to the business is building individual relationships. In a similar way to how clients will often follow individual attorneys if they move firms, Hatch said his clients often will elect to continue working with him if the relationship goes back far enough.

“There’s not a lot of exclusive relationships in the business,” he added.

“We’re in competition for access and that is something that all the top recruiting firms has. The good thing is, with all of our track records, we know there’s an individual component that we’re all banking on at this firm.”

As far as markets go, L.A. law firms spent the last couple of years in a hiring wave for both partners and associates. While associate demand has cooled a bit, firms are still shoring up attorneys in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Partner demand is definitely slightly less than 2021 or 2022, but partner work is by definition recession-resistant because it’s not driven by macro economic trends,” Hatch explained. “Partners have books of business. Partners are very opportunistic. Partner deals are not driven by firms saying, ‘We need this person tomorrow.’”

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