A well-trodden path out of private practice, many legal recruitment consultants are former lawyers. The obvious advantage is an inside knowledge of how law firms work in terms of structure, the practice areas, personalities, culture and reputation of the firms themselves, which make lawyers highly attractive to recruitment firms.
A consultant is ultimately judged by how many placements he / she makes and the fees generated - recruitment is commission oriented and your run your own desk. You have to be able to establish, cultivate and maintain relationships with the firms and also with candidates. In part a consultant, part broker/deal maker, part salesperson. A good consultant will add value to the process and give honest, professional and accurate advice to both parties. By offering credible and informed market knowledge and advice, referrals and repeat business will follow. Treat clients and candidates well and they will be back next time.
The day to day job will involve meetings with law firms - partners or HR - or with in-house GC to take instrcutions on what is required, interviewing candidates, and plenty of phonecalls - you have to enjoy talking to people and working out what makes them tick.
At the headhunting end there are the smaller niche practices. They will generally be working at the higher-end, with a few selected firms with an indepth knowledge of their clients and their recruitment needs.
You need to work well with people, have an ability to build relationships, empathise, be organised, and have not too thin a skin. It is important to be able to tough out the quiet times by securing a network of contacts and relationships and keep plugging away when there is not much immediate return. In good times, it's a fast paced and well remunerated job with good hours. Recruitment will get you out from behind your desk in a visible, business facing and people/lawyer-focused role.