Legal Recruiting Today & the Value of Being Brave (and Intentional) in Your Career Assessment | Cynthia Moon & Joan Blackwell

Episode 12 | March 9, 2022

00:00:00 00:00:00
Show Notes

Lawyers are the last ones to give themselves permission to step back and think, “Am I happy, should I do something else?” We often are tasked with solving everyone else’s problems, but are reluctant to ask ourselves if what we’re doing is helping us meet our own career goals or priorities.

Cynthia Moon and Joan Blackwell, Directors of Legal Recruiting and Placement at Latitude, share their personal experiences as attorneys who chose to pivot their legal careers into law-adjacent recruiting positions. They take us through their decision-making process when considering whether to leave the daily practice of law and the value of choosing work you love (over what is expected). In this episode, we talk about looking forward to Monday mornings, finding meaningful work slightly outside the practice of law, and asking ourselves the important questions, “Is the work I’m doing now fulfilling? Is it helping me achieve my current professional and personal goals? Can I leverage my legal experience to do something else I might enjoy more?”


Joan Blackwell 00:00

Many years ago people married their law firm and I do think that that notion isn’t as common anymore and I think lawyers are the last one to give themselves permission to step back and think, am I happy? Should I do something else? Because as Cynthia said, we’re pretty much risk adverse type people. We want to fix everybody else’s problems but stay on the same path that we’ve been on and I guess give yourself permission to step back and look, do I want to be doing this in 5 years, 10 years, 15? Am I happy? Is this fulfilling?

Joan Blackwell 00:30

And there are opportunities out there to still do that really exciting complex work but maybe not doing the 50, 60, 70 hours and give yourself permission to question. And we don’t always do that. We’re too busy to really stop and take care of ourselves sometimes.

Candice Reed 00:48

This is Leveraging Latitude Cultivating a Full Life in the Law. And we’re your hosts. Candice Reed…

Tim Haley 00:55

And Tim Haley.

Candice Reed 00:56

Please join us on our journey as we discover how to leverage the hard work of become a lawyer to achieving success and leading a rich and fulfilling life in the law.

Candice Reed 01:11

Hello everybody. Welcome back to Leveraging Latitude. Hi Tim. How are you today?

Tim Haley 01:17

Candice I’m doing great and yourself?

Candice Reed 01:20

I’m doing well too. I’m really excited about today’s episode.

Tim Haley 01:27

Well yeah, we’ve got two of our favorite people here.

Candice Reed 01:29

That’s right. We are going to be talking with two of our Latitude colleagues today, Cynthia Moon and Joan Blackwell, who both serve in similar roles in the company. They are directors of our legal recruiting and placement services and they’re going to talk to us about their legal careers. Both were or are former practicing attorneys, as we all are at Latitude, and also what drew them to legal recruiting and Latitude. So what do you think? Can we jump right in?

Tim Haley 02:11

Wow, sure. Let’s do it. They’re here. Let’s go. Cynthia. Joan. Welcome.

Joan Blackwell 02:15

Hi. Thanks for having us.

Cynthia Moon 02:16

Thank you so much for having us.

Tim Haley 02:19

So why don’t we introduce everyone to your voices. Cynthia, I’m going to start with you.

Candice Reed 02:24

If you could just sing a few bars of Oklahoma, that should do it.

Tim Haley 02:29

Preferably in tenor or baritone. Okay. No… Cynthia, just a really brief thumbnail sketch. You went to law school, you graduated, you’re here. How did that happen?

Cynthia Moon 02:42

It’s been a long and winding road actually. I practiced law after graduating from law school. First at a medium sized firm, then at a large law firm. And I was about, I want to say I was about 10 years out, when I first switched the trajectory of my career and went into legal recruiting with another legal recruiting firm. This was back in around 2007. As many of you’ll remember the recession occurred shortly after that, which at that time and I was in a very different model at that time, I actually went back to practicing law again at both private practice and then later I switched and moved in-house and then I had a bit of a sabbatical and came here to Latitude.

Tim Haley 03:24

Awesome. That was the voice of Cynthia Moon. Next up Joan Blackwell.

Joan Blackwell 03:30

Hi. I started my career at a law firm right after law school and if you’d asked me at the time, I would’ve told you I was going to stay there for my entire career. That was the path that I was on and thought that’s what I would do. And then an opportunity came to join a judge, a federal judge, as his staff attorney. I’d had a trial in front of him and I spent quite a bit of time in the federal courts.

Joan Blackwell 03:53

When I left that, I joined a big firm in Indianapolis and again probably had that same thought that I would sunset my career and again, an opportunity came knocking that I had not planned on. And I became the chief of staff and then general counsel of a large state entity in Indiana. That position came to a natural end when there was a change in administration and I thought, what am I going to do next? And the first thought was go back and do what I’d done in the past and practice law, which I feel lucky I did very much enjoy but I was thinking back, what did I really enjoy most about things I’d done in the past? And actually it was the people part of my jobs that I liked the most. And I was fortunate to have a conversation with people at Latitude and you Tim and here I am. So happy to be here. It’s been almost a year.

Tim Haley 04:42

We’re happy that you’re both here.

Candice Reed 04:44

Yeah Cynthia, you mentioned something quickly that I’d like to go back to because I think a lot of lawyers have the perception that if they were to leave the practice of law and go do something else, specifically something law adjacent, if you will, like recruiting that that’s it. That’s the end of their law career. And sometimes that can be paralyzing. Because, obviously we’ve all gone to law school. We worked really hard to establish legal careers and become successful in those legal careers where we were practicing law. But you mentioned that you did some legal recruiting earlier in your work life and then after a year or so went back into the practice of law. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Cynthia Moon 05:35

Sure. You know, I have a lot of trepidation as I think most attorneys would have, making any type of career change. We are, painting with a broad brush, a risk adverse group. And I was practicing law at a big law firm and had been having conversations to potentially go into legal recruiting, which matched up with a lot of things I thought I would enjoy, but it took me a long time to make that decision. When I finally did, I was really happy I made that decision for two reasons. One I found out I love legal recruiting, which is a whole other conversation, but the second is that it really set the stage for me to be braver throughout the rest of my career. It’s really this first leap sometimes that is most scary and is difficult to make. But what I have found is that we have a long career, we work very hard to get our law licenses, pass bars, our identity as a lawyer that’s the thing that’s sometimes hard to shed and it’s wrapped up and it has a lot of layers. But what I found is you can do a number of pivots in your career and doing legal recruiting is not the end of the path. There’s still a lot of opportunities going.

Candice Reed 06:48

So before we get too much further into this conversation, I’m curious to hear both of you give us your definition if you will of legal recruiting, because I feel like we use that term to encompass a lot of different types of jobs. So I want to be really clear about what we are talking about when we say legal recruiting within the context of Latitude at least.

Joan Blackwell 07:17

I’d love to answer that Candice. So it’s like business matchmaking in a way. Not that I ever did matchmaking in my personal life I didn’t, but we have clients that come to us and they have specific needs. They have voids in their legal department or surgeon work in their law firm and they need help that’s at a sophisticated level. They can’t rely on maybe a junior associate or a brand new attorney who has just joined the firm. They need someone who can parachute in and pick the work up exactly where it is and go with it. And on the flip side, we have attorneys who are looking to do something else in their life. Perhaps they’ve left the very traditional path of law, where they’ve been in a law firm and they still want that really sophisticated complex work, they just don’t want it on the same terms that they’ve always done it and perhaps that they always thought they would do it.

Joan Blackwell 08:05

They want to operate at that level but they want to be able to do it with some boundaries, some guardrails, maybe 40 hours a week, maybe certain days during the week. And the thing that’s really rewarding in our work is we’re talking to these candidates and at the same time we’re talking to clients and you see where there’s that intersection and you can connect them up and connect the attorney up with the client and fulfill the client’s needs. And also give the attorney an opportunity to work in a complex, sophisticated project that they didn’t think was possible in an engagement opportunity. And I think that’s one of the biggest misunderstandings that people have on engagement work is a complexity and the sophistication of the opportunities that come through engagement work.

Cynthia Moon 08:47

And I’ll add a couple other things about what I think recruiting at Latitude is like that might be a little different than some of the legal recruiting in some other places. And it has to do with the fact that we do what I’ll call traditional legal recruiting, in terms of placing people in permanent roles but we also have this niche in high-end engagement work. And it allows us to approach things a little differently. Obviously we are… I mean one of the best part it’s my job is I get to talk to interesting, intelligent, fascinating people every day and we get to match them up with jobs. It’s so rewarding as a recruiter, particularly coming from the practice of law where so many things are adversarial. Here, it’s almost like selling people ice cream every day. I mean, it’s not perfect every day but it is as close as it gets in my mind, particularly after practicing law for so many years where there’s a lot of stress and adversarial kind of situation. But when I talk to people, sometimes there’s folks in traditional recruiting that you have this concept that you’re constantly just searching and cold calling and reaching out to people who don’t even want to talk to you. And you are in this rat race of trying to talk to and convince a bunch of associates at big law firms to just make lateral moves to other big law firms. And that’s not really our day to day market.

Cynthia Moon 10:07

When I talk to candidates that are interested in exploring the job market or possibly have applied to a position that we’ve had posted, we get to talk to them as a whole. I’m certainly trying to match them up with a position and fill a position but sometimes I’m talking to people just to get a sense of what they’re looking for. We like to know the attorneys in our market. We are involved in our communities. These are our peers. These are potentially former colleagues of ours, potential clients of ours. And it’s a much more holistic approach. It is a very collegial environment rather than a competitive environment. Here at Latitude, we’ve set up things to make this non-competitive both from a compensation standpoint, from the way we work together and it’s a really different approach to recruiting than I think legal recruiting in a lot of other places.

Joan Blackwell 10:57

And Cynthia, you and I have talked about this a lot as we are sharing information on different candidates and I think you hit the nail in the head. We spend a lot of time talking to the people about why are they looking and what are they looking for? And maybe a question that sometimes attorneys don’t even ask themselves when they’re at that place, looking about what should I do next, what don’t I want to do? Sometimes in the phone calls or in the interviews, they talk about what they want, what they’ve done, what they think their experience records indicate but they don’t talk about what is it that they don’t want in that next role. And sometimes making sure that isn’t part of the next opportunity is just as important making sure that you hit those bullet points that are things that they’re looking, because we all do better at things that we like. And there’s always parts of all our jobs that maybe aren’t your favorite parts, but you don’t want to have a job for an attorney that you place them with, with your client, that includes a lot of things that maybe are not top on their list. So we do spend a lot of time just helping them figure out what is it that they like, what is it that they don’t like about their current opportunity and what are the experiences? And they may have transferable skills.

Joan Blackwell 12:04

Sometimes lawyers are so hard on themselves and they don’t step back, give all this business advice to our clients to think outside the box, to tap into resource and then they don’t stop and do that and reflect back on themselves. You get a lot of different skills and all the different experiences you have as a lawyer, whether you’re in a big firm, a boutique firm, whether you’re in house, you have transferrable skills. Sometimes nobody’s ever asked them, what are these other skills they have and how do they want to use them? I mean Cynthia, just like you and I are doing every day. We didn’t start our legal career thinking we were going to do this. But then as you watch both of our legal careers and look at the things we’ve done in our volunteer life, this taps into everything that you and I liked when we practiced law. Mentoring people, helping people talk through that next opportunity, helping them find a job they really like and it’s really rewarding when you see that connection between the client and the legal professional, it is rewarding. It’s what makes our days and our weeks fun quite frankly, is to have that and see that attorney find that work opportunity that actually does work because there are options for our attorneys out there and those options assist our clients and we just have to help connect them up. A lot of times we spend time talking to the attorneys about how the engagement opportunities work for them and for the client because it’s a win-win on both sides.

Candice Reed 13:26

Joan, what do you find the most energizing about your job? Is it what you thought you would like when you first were considering moving from law practice to legal recruiting or is it something different entirely?

Joan Blackwell 13:42

It’s the same but even more at a bigger level. I do like working with people, trying to figure out what it is that they think they want to do next, talking to them about what their strengths are, how to use those in the best way. I’ve done a lot of mentoring through school with students and undergrads and young lawyers. And a lot of what we do with our candidates is talking to them about what they think their strengths are.

Joan Blackwell 14:06

But I’ll be honest, it’s even more rewarding because I didn’t really think through how you’d feel when you have that connection with the client and the attorney and they start working in the job and email you a couple weeks in and go, this is incredible, this is everything you said it would be. That I actually can stop my week at whatever parameters we put. We have some lawyers who they only want to work 30 hours. They have some other things going on in their life and that’s the arrangement that we work with, with our clients for that attorney. And when that attorney can shut down at whatever time they decided that week, 30 hours, 40 hours and they can go coach little league or help with their aging parents or take care of a new baby without being stressed out and worried that they’re letting somebody down.

Joan Blackwell 14:51

All of us lawyers put so much pressure on ourselves that we have to carry the weight of the world for our clients, our co-workers at the firm, or in the legal department and our family. And this is when you’re under an engagement and you talk to us, we can help create those guardrails or those boundaries with the client for that opportunity. Again, it might be certain days during the week, it might be certain hours and just seeing how excited that attorney is that they can still do really complex, interesting deals but not at 50, 60, sometimes 70 hours a week. They just, for whatever reason in their life, that isn’t a good path for them right now.

Candice Reed 15:28

Both of you have mentioned that you were drawn to the relational aspect of the work that you do now. That, that was something that you enjoyed in legal practice and it was something that seemed like it would be a part of what legal recruiting entails and it was the thing that drew you over to this career. What are some of the other aspects of both law practice and legal recruiting that you think are common or perhaps a better way to ask the question as I’m thinking out loud here, but if someone likes X aspects of practicing law, they’re likely to like legal recruiting? Is there an easy answer to that question?

Joan Blackwell 16:20

Yes and no. Right, Cynthia? I think the common thread for all of us who really enjoy the work as much as I know Cynthia and I do, is we like talking with people, we like working directly with people and listening to them maybe beyond just the words and helping figure out with them what that next step should look like.

Cynthia Moon 16:39

I agree with what Joan said. I think if you liked doing depositions or interviewing, any fact finding kind of aspects of practicing law, investigations, anything that involved interviewing people and you really enjoy listening, as Joan said, not just to what people are saying but maybe what they’re not saying, what else are they saying behind that and you like putting… To me it’s a puzzle. I’ve always liked puzzles. It’s finding the right fit and it’s not always apparent. You’ve got to be comfortable in the gray. You’ve got to understand nuances but if you really just like black and white, that’s not necessarily going to be the best fit for you.

Candice Reed 17:20

Hearing both of you talk about it, I’ve been in this industry on and off since 2005. So that’s a lot of years, right? So I’ve trained, I’ve hired and I’ve trained a lot of people who do the work, the recruiting, the development, the placement work that you both do. And one of the things that I always tell them is, you have to really like lawyers. To excel in this job, you have to really like other lawyers. And what I have found in my experience is that lawyers don’t come in one size fits all, right? I mean, most of us have unique personalities, life goals, priorities, that even sometimes change throughout our lives and careers. So the job that worked for us when we first graduated from law school and began practicing law, may not necessarily be the job that works for us 10 years out or 20 years out or 30 years out.

Candice Reed 18:25

You have a lot of experience under your belts, your respective belts, do you have any advice that you would give to lawyers who may be either in the middle of their careers or say 10, 15, 20 years out, questioning whether or not the job that they may have started law practice in is still the job that’s meeting their goals?

Joan Blackwell 18:49

I think what is good now is that people do change positions during the course of their career. Many years ago, people married their law firm and I do think that notion isn’t as common anymore. And I think lawyers are the last one to give themselves permission to step back and think, am I happy? Should I do something else? Because as Cynthia said, we are pretty much risk adverse type people.

Joan Blackwell 19:12

We want to fix everybody else’s problems but kind of stay on the same path that we’ve been on. And I guess give yourself permission to step back and look, do I want to be doing this in five years, 10 years, 15? Am I happy? Is this fulfilling? And there are opportunities out there to still do that really setting complex work, but maybe not doing the 50, 60, 70 hours and give yourself permission to question. And we don’t always do that. We’re too busy to really stop and take care of ourselves sometimes. So I think, be flexible. When you’re a law student, try different things early on in your career, get different experiences, know that each experience can set you up for something else in the future and be open minded about what that is. Cynthia and I say we both have taken pivots in our career but to me they’ve all set us up for the next opportunity even if we didn’t know it at the time.

Tim Haley 20:05

You guys both had to, on your own, make the decision to leave the practice. Take us back to that moment. And what was that like? What were you thinking about and ultimately what led you to make the leap?

Cynthia Moon 20:18

My first entree into legal recruiting was back when I was still practicing law with a large firm. And I think I already mentioned this, but I had a lot of trepidation at the time. It obviously involved a pay cut at that time and that was a factor. And also the biggest issue for me was the idea of how much of my identity was wrapped up in being a lawyer and not just a lawyer, a lawyer at a large respected law firm.

Cynthia Moon 20:49

That was something I had to spend a lot of time thinking about. What was important to me? And that was a hard one for me but I kept going back to, I’m not really getting a lot of job satisfaction at this point. I was kind of burnt out on some things and I’m like, I really think I need to make a change. And that was enough to propel me eventually. It took me a long time to make that decision but it was enough to propel me into this career change. And it really was a great decision for me. I found out that there are ways to utilize so many of the skill sets that I use practicing law and that some of the things that I think are my strengths-

Candice Reed 21:29

Like what?

Cynthia Moon 21:30

In a different way. One is, I like people, I like lawyers, I like practicing law. I just maybe didn’t like the way I was doing it at the time, but I love the law. We all talk about it in law school. I wasn’t that person that didn’t like law school or learning about the law. So I have no problem having conversations with people about their practice. I’m interested in what they’re doing and what they want to do. And I think that again is the biggest thing for us as recruiters, is really trying to hear what people want to do and what will meet their goals.

Tim Haley 22:04

So take us back to that moment though. You’re in the identity of a practicing lawyer at a respected firm. Was there a moment in time… I mean I remember the moment for me when I’m like, you know what I think I should do something different. Do you remember that moment and what was that like? I mean, what was it?

Cynthia Moon 22:20

I don’t know if it was a hundred percent one moment, but I actually had a candidate that I spoke with who put it best for me when I realized this is not the course for the rest of my career and what she told me she’s like, and the reason she was talking to us and we were looking at some opportunities for her, was she said to me, “You spend your career as an associate trying to make partner. Your focus is on meeting your billable hour goals and doing whatever you need to do to make partner. And then you make partner and it’s really just more about how do I keep my business development going and how do I continue down this path? How do I get a greater share, et cetera, et cetera?” And lost in that for her, was the focus on client service. But also you just get lost in your own satisfaction. What are you driving your job and career satisfaction from? And that varies by person but for me, I realized I don’t want more of this pie.

Joan Blackwell 23:19

I think the thing too is and lawyers like to make lawyer jokes and lawyers like to talk younger people out of going to law school which I hate hearing. I’ve taught for a long time at the law school and one of the things that I really want to explain to students that practice law, it’s an amazing path to take. And there’s all different ways you can practice law. So don’t get in your head it has to be the specific, traditional, join the law firm and stay there for the rest of your career. It can be whatever you want and what you want is going to change as you change, as you are in different stages in life and as different opportunities come and go. And I think that for us, all of us directors have been in law firms, we’ve worked in house, I think that’s what we makes us like what we do, is we’ve had these different experiences and all of us have enjoyed the practice a lot. We want to give our candidates that opportunity to enjoy what they’re doing again. Life’s too short. Make the choice for the hours that you’re doing with work to be something that you like and to be able to connect those candidates up with that, that’s the rewarding piece.

Joan Blackwell 24:26

But we couldn’t do what we do if we hadn’t worked in a law firm or in house. We wouldn’t understand the needs of our clients which is critical. That we understand what is it that they need, what is the role we’re trying to fill? But it also helps us talking to the candidates. We know where they’re coming from. We know what they mean when they’re saying you know what, I’ve hit the wall, I’m burned out. And one person said to me a little while ago, they really just want to get back to the true practice of law. And I sat and said, “What do you mean by that?” And they’re like, “I don’t want to have to do all the administrative parts.” He ran a small law firm and there was huge administrative pieces of his day. He just wanted to work with clients and do the practice. He didn’t want to worry about the invoicing, the marketing or anything else, just what he went to law school for. The true practice of law. And he has it now and he’s incredibly happy. And that’s fun to see on our end when it works, when you make that connection.

Candice Reed 25:21

You know, Tim, if I can jump on this question I’d like to, because as I’m listening to you and Cynthia and Joan I realize that inflection point for me came much sooner in my career and so it was probably a different decision making process right? I first left the practice of law when I had only practiced five years. So I was pretty early in my overall career when I was presented with the option of doing what Cynthia and Joan do now. And it wasn’t something that I sought out. It was something that came to me quite unexpectedly. I was recruited by a legal services company to do recruiting. And I think for me, that has always been one of those pivotal moments in my career where I took the chance. And like Cynthia said earlier, once I stepped out on that limb, it became so much easier to be brave and take more chances throughout my career. And I feel like that has given me a lot of freedom and flexibility and just the perspective that nothing has to be for forever.

Candice Reed 26:50

I think I was someone early on who thought I’ve got to make the right decision or else everything will be ruined, right? My career, my life, my family, whatever it was that I was trying to decide on. I remember having this paralysis of sorts when choosing where to go to law school as if there was one right decision. And I know now that first of all, there’s probably not just one right decision, but also that most decisions don’t have to be forever. If once you make them you realize, maybe this isn’t a good fit after all. I’ve gone in and out of the law practice a couple of times in my career. And I know many others of our colleagues have had that similar experience too. But it was a great question and I am just kind of thinking back a long time ago when I was faced with that choice too. And I’m so glad that I did it because I just feel like it set me up for a more interesting and exciting career than I would’ve had otherwise.

Tim Haley 28:03

So for me, there are two things. There’s two things going on that I think people forget and the loyal listeners of the podcast know, I help out with the high school swim team. So I’ve been coaching for my entire legal career too. And swimming is a sport like a lot of racing sports are, where you literally get to define your own success. Maybe it’s winning, maybe it’s making a cut making the next level, maybe it’s just getting a best time, maybe it’s just finishing. You get to define your own success in sport. And it’s something that, I mean I would be teaching kids for years and then as a lawyer, not realizing that being a lawyer is the exact same way. That you get to define your own success. And once people, once I, once me, realized that I got to define my own success, it’s a very freeing thing.

Tim Haley 28:54

And if your success is to be the managing partner of your firm, then go do it. And if your success is to be an in-house council, then go do it. And if your success is to do something completely non-traditional, go do it. I remember the moment where I was when I was like, “Oh yeah, this is the same thing.”

Candice Reed 29:11

So Cynthia and Joan, how do you define success?

Cynthia Moon 29:14

That’s a wonderful point and a wonderful question because I think sometimes people have a misconception that you come talk to us because you’re really unhappy with what you’re doing and where you are in your career or your life. And you have to be like, this is not whether it’s becoming a recruiter or talking to Latitude about a new opportunity or potentially moving to engagement work, it doesn’t have to be that you’re running from something. It could be that it is another option out there. Think of it as a tool in your arsenal to explore. And for me, I think that is success because I wanted to have more satisfaction in what I was doing every day. To me, being the big boss or making the most money or having the most status symbols or prestige was never the point or the goal and yet I found myself on a path where that seemed to be where everybody was. That’s what people were using as a mark of success and it’s not me. I just want to be happy.

Joan Blackwell 30:14

That’s it. What makes you happy. Gosh you guys, it’s the lifelong question and we all the pursuit of that every day. So what is it, one day is different another? I guess one of the things when we’re talking to candidates is telling them to take a deep breath and relax and realize there are options out there and you can change your mind and changing your mind on your path is certainly not failure.

Joan Blackwell 30:37

And I think I feel lucky, I’ve had all of my positions have been challenging and exciting, but for some reason I didn’t want to go back to whatever those were. So I think for me to find success, knowing that when Monday comes, I love the start of our work week. I don’t dread Monday or count the days down to the end of the week. And you know we’ve all come to people like, “Thank God it’s Wednesday. Thank God it’s hump day. Thank God it’s Friday.” I don’t know, what we do is too many hours to feel that way Monday through Friday and I feel lucky I don’t feel that way. And I think part of it is maybe the reason I like this role, is trying to help attorneys find happiness in whatever that next position is. Maybe it’s short term, maybe it’s long term, maybe it’s forever. Maybe it’s that permanent position and that’s where they’ll be but they have a right to be happy in their job and helping them understand that and find those options is great. But on the flip side when we help our clients, we help all those people on that legal team too, they get relief because we’re bringing in additional people.

Joan Blackwell 31:42

And so gosh Candice, I had a tenured professor say to me last week when we were talking about exams, life isn’t a multiple choice. There is no right or wrong answer. And I think sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to step back and think maybe this is working today. This is the right answer today. But in a week or two or a month or life changes, you have a baby or a sick parent or maybe you just want to have more free time. There’s a different answer that day, that week, that month. And we love helping our attorneys find what those new answers are. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. It really is.

Cynthia Moon 32:17

I think Joan really hit the nail on the head for, maybe it’s not the mark of success for everybody, but not dreading Monday morning, not dreading starting your next week at work and that’s important.

Candice Reed 32:30

I think that’s a great marker too. And one of the things I know we’ve talked about a lot internally over the last couple of years, which is just the role that work plays in our lives. So what do you think that most people or maybe some of your former colleagues or your peers in the legal profession would find the most surprising either about you personally or about the work that you do now?

Cynthia Moon 33:02

My last role practicing law, I was the general counsel and also the director of human resources for a trucking company. And I left there and bought a camper with my husband and we spent two years traveling around North America. We spent months traveling in Mexico and we spent time in Canada and traveled criss-cross the US quite a few times. It was amazing. And I really enjoyed that. But most people who know me, would’ve been incredibly surprised. And in fact, most people were incredibly surprised to find me out camping because I’m not outdoorsy. I’m not what I would’ve particularly thought self-sufficient but I learned how to drive a truck with a trailer attached to it and back that thing up and encountered bugs and jungles and all sorts of things that I don’t normally want to encounter on my travels. Because before this trip, my idea of traveling and sight seeing involved hopefully staying in four-star hotels, which was not part of this trip.

Candice Reed 34:05

Quite a departure. I mean, this is what you were doing when we first had the conversation about whether there was even a possibility that you might come back into the workforce essentially and join Latitude in your current role. So I don’t know whether to be flattered that you chose us or if it was just like a lifeline, I’m not sure?

Cynthia Moon 34:26

No, not at all. Because although it was a little out of character for me, I love the freedom. I love traveling. It was super exciting. And you may not remember but at the time I told you that coming back to legal recruiting was the only thing that would bring me out of retirement. And it just was the right time because again, I had never planned to return to work after that. But life gives you a lot of twists and turns and that first entree into recruiting a decade before, really set the stage for me not to be afraid to do 180s and I’ve done it a couple times since I first left the practice of law the first time and so be brave.

Tim Haley 35:12

Cynthia, this breaking news just crossed my desk here. You were out camping for two years. You’re outdoorsy. That’s what that means now.

Cynthia Moon 35:22

I am slightly more outdoorsy than when I started but I’m still not.

Joan Blackwell 35:28

So we’re going to camp the next all-office meeting.

Tim Haley 35:33

There you go.

Joan Blackwell 35:33

Is that what we’re going to do? Who needs a spa weekend right?

Candice Reed 35:39

Joan, what about you? What would people be surprised to know about you or the work that you do?

Joan Blackwell 35:45

In my last job and I run into a lot of those colleagues that I was with in that last opportunity, I admit I worked 50, 60, 70 hours a week and so, one of the questions they can’t believe when they ask me, “Are you still working 50, 60, 70 hours a week?” And I gratefully, thankfully, say no. Because that is not what I wanted in the next path in my life, which I think is my forever job I can say. So they’re always surprised that I’m not sleeping with my work laptop, my work phone and working 50, 60, 70 hours a week. And I’m grateful I’m not.

Joan Blackwell 36:20

But what’s interesting, is people who know me well, family members or people who’ve worked really closely with me in my different pivots in my jobs said, “This job pulls everything that you’ve always liked in your work life, in your personal life, into one job.” And so some people are surprised maybe at what I’m doing, but if they knew me very well, no I don’t think they are. And it’s a perfect fit for everything I liked.

Joan Blackwell 36:45

So I’ve never camped for two years. Cynthia, I read that when I first met you and I was incredibly impressed. I did hike the Inca Trail but a far cry from doing the two year camping and I’m not a big camper either but the sleeping on the ground was worth the view.

Candice Reed 37:03


Tim Haley 37:04


Cynthia Moon 37:04

I have one more thing.

Tim Haley 37:06

Go for it.

Cynthia Moon 37:07

And it really relates to some other things. We’ve spent a lot of time today talking about this job, this role, what we do and the satisfaction we get out of this. But tying back to advice to give anybody. It’s not always exactly what you’re doing every day. I do love my job, but it’s who you’re doing it with. And sometimes that’s the biggest factor. And we are incredibly lucky to have an amazing team here and for anybody considering where they are in their career and what they’re happy about and what they might not be happy about, do not give short-shrift to who you’re going to be working with. Because to me, that is sometimes even way more important than what you’re doing every day.

Candice Reed 37:47

So this is where we ask you, who is your favorite? And you can just limit your answer to either me or Tim?

Tim Haley 37:56

No. That’s not fair. No way.

Joan Blackwell 38:00

Okay. The last person that I talked to that’s who my favorite person is.

Candice Reed 38:04

Oh. That’s such a lawyer answer.

Tim Haley 38:06

That’s nice. That’s nice.

Candice Reed 38:06

That’s awesome.

Joan Blackwell 38:07

That is the good thing is we don’t have to pick. Right Candice? We don’t.

Candice Reed 38:12

Right. Because we work with everyone, I mean we work with the whole team and that is nice.

Tim Haley 38:20

So I’m going to ask this final question to both of you and Cynthia I know has an answer. I don’t know that Joan has an answer, so this’ll be fun. I’m going to put us pre-pandemic. It’s Friday night and we’re all out at a karaoke bar and it’s your turn.

Candice Reed 38:41

It always comes back to karaoke.

Tim Haley 38:41

That’s right. I love it. Joan, what are you singing? The music’s playing. What is it?

Joan Blackwell 38:44

IU Fight Song. Come on. Undergrad and law school. IU Fight Song.

Tim Haley 38:50


Joan Blackwell 38:50

That is not one of my talents. Singing. I do like karaoke because if it’s loud enough no one hears.

Tim Haley 38:57

If it’s loud enough, no one hears. I like that.

Joan Blackwell 38:59

No one hears. Yeah. That’s the good news, right? No judgment at karaoke bar.

Tim Haley 39:04

That’s right. And Cynthia, I know you’ve got an answer. I don’t know what it is?

Cynthia Moon 39:06

What do you think it’s going to be? But it’s probably going to be a Nine Inch Nail’s song.

Tim Haley 39:13

Yeah. I knew you were going to have something, I just didn’t know what it was.

Candice Reed 39:17

Go ahead.

Joan Blackwell 39:18

How about you Tim, throw that back at you. What’s your song?

Cynthia Moon 39:20

Has to be The Dan Band.

Tim Haley 39:24

No, no, no. See the loyal listeners of the podcast know that I typically sing “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor because it’s an easy one, but there’s some other good ones are easy crowd pleasers like Bon Jovi, I’m trying to think of some other ones. “Sweet Caroline.” That gets everyone going. Can’t mess those songs up.

Joan Blackwell 39:43

You can always hum if you don’t know the words too.

Tim Haley 39:45

That’s right. As well, usually the crowd sings for you.

Joan Blackwell 39:49

Candice? How about Candice?

Candice Reed 39:50

I try to avoid karaoke at all costs.

Joan Blackwell 39:54

For those who haven’t followed her, she’s one heck of a dancer. So, I guess what you don’t do singing, you do with dancing.

Cynthia Moon 40:00

And a singer.

Candice Reed 40:01

Yeah. Those of us who do sing, we hate karaoke. I hate karaoke. No one sounds good in karaoke or no one sounds good or everyone sounds good. Whichever way the night is going, I still try to avoid it.

Joan Blackwell 40:16

The later in the evening, the better we all sound.

Candice Reed 40:18


Tim Haley 40:19

I’ve been to one of those karaoke bars, where you’re sitting there, you’re just out to have fun and everyone’s getting up and sounding amazing and you’re like-

Candice Reed 40:23

In Nashville, everyone treats karaoke as an audition reel.

Joan Blackwell 40:29

So, we need to have you up here to end it right?

Tim Haley 40:32

Well I don’t know. I’ve got a couple spots here where I’m like you, I can’t sit here.

Joan Blackwell 40:38

Another office activity.

Tim Haley 40:40

There you go. Well, Joan and Cynthia, thank you guys so much for joining us today. It has been our pleasure to have you here on the show.

Candice Reed 40:49

And to work with you both. Thank you so much.

Joan Blackwell 40:52

We feel lucky. Thank you.

Cynthia Moon 40:54

Ditto. Thank you so much. This is always a fun time every day at Latitude where there’s something and next will be karaoke.

Joan Blackwell 41:03

Yep. Karaoke and camping.

Candice Reed 41:04

And camping.

Joan Blackwell 41:05


Cynthia Moon 41:05

Let’s stick with the karaoke.

Candice Reed 41:09

No one’s going to want to come now. Everyone is going to be like, oh my gosh, this next corporate retreat is going to stink.

Cynthia Moon 41:18

Well, we’ll add in axe throwing.

Tim Haley 41:21

Axe throwing. That’s fine. Yeah. Yeah. Everybody else thanks for joining. We will catch you all soon at our next episode.

Candice Reed 41:27


Tim Haley 41:31

Thank you for joining us today. If you found this content valuable, please tell a friend or colleague about us. Also, if you can, please give us a rating and a short review on your podcast listening platform, the more ratings and reviews we have, the more people will find us. If you have a question, reach out to us at

Ready to get started?

Whether you're an attorney or legal ops executive looking for legal talent to assist your team or you’re a legal professional looking for a substantive yet flexible role, let us find a solution to meet your needs.