Two Magic Circle lawyers have left their legal careers at Allen & Overy (A&O) and Linklaters to launch online recruitment marketplace LexStep, after finding the recruitment process for lawyers seriously wanting.

Corporate associate Michael Hagai from A&O and litigation associate Alexander Isaacs from Linklaters formally launched LexStep in October and already list Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Herbert Smith Freehills among the US, UK and international firms to offer their jobs on the site.

LexStep enables lawyers to create a profile by listing their legal qualifications and the practice areas they want to work in as well as the locations where they are willing to be based.

After entering either their Solicitors Regulation Authority identification or connecting to LinkedIn to show who they are, lawyers will then be able to see jobs and law firms relevant to those practice areas.

Hagai told Legal IT Insider: “Candidates are in control of who they choose to connect with and if they don’t want a firm to see their profile they can remain invisible. The lawyer’s current employer is automatically blocked from seeing that they have signed up.”

Isaacs added: “There is none of the generic ‘leading City law firm seeks a finance lawyer’ for a position that may or may not exist. On LexStep, relevant roles are organised by firm name and lawyers can read a detailed description in their own time written by the law firm itself.”

The pair launched LexStep after personally experiencing and hearing recruitment horror stories from friends, including one instance of a lawyer being cold called for an identical job at their own firm.

Hagai said: “Our friends have had their CVs edited by recruiters, with content being re-arranged and missed off in order that the agency can fit in their logo. Candidates are not just a commodity and should have the freedom to write and present their story however they like.

“Agents, who are acting on behalf of their clients – the law firms – are fundamentally conflicted and don’t always have the candidate’s best interests at heart.”

The site is free for lawyers and law firms to sign up to and charges law firms a percentage of a lawyer’s first year salary as commission. It caters for lawyers in all practice areas at all PQE levels, including trainees exploring their options on qualification, PSLs and senior lawyers interested in partnership opportunities.

Listed lawyers will be assigned a consultant to assist them with their job search, including proof reading their profile and offering advice on the market but they are not obliged to take advantage of this service.

Isaacs said: “We’re trying to demystify and bring some long needed transparency to the legal recruitment process.

“Firms realise that the best lawyers are no longer responding to cold calls from recruitment agents.”