Lieberman-Nelson in a Nutshell


Lieberman-Nelson, formerly Howard Lieberman & Associates, is a legal search and consulting firm run by two lawyers who left the practice of law but never lost their interest in lawyers and the legal profession. Unlike the monolithic national recruiting firms that try to do everything for everyone, (including an occasional attorney) our firm does only three things, but we do them very well:

  • Place dedicated, top-quality lawyers in permanent full-time positions with law firms and corporations;
  • Represent law firms of all sizes as well as discrete practice groups in their local, national, and international merger activities;
  • Consult with law firms and corporate legal departments on a broad range of management issues.

Howard Lieberman, a former tax and corporate attorney, founded the business in 1990 shortly after he moved to Minneapolis from New York, where he had been a recruiter and managing director of Smythe, Masterson & Judd. In 1991, Howard recruited Nancy Nelson from a large national law firm to join Howard Lieberman & Associates. Together they built their firm, now Lieberman-Nelson, into one of the nation’s most highly regarded legal search firms.


Human Focus


Lieberman-Nelson is a client-driven recruiting firm. We work closely with our law firm and corporate clients to understand the expertise, qualifications and practice style needed in an attorney before we search for individuals who can meet those needs.  We are not a mere conduit, distributing resumes from a database like so many cards in a deck, hoping someone will be hired out of the flurry of resumes submitted.  Nor do we send potential clients a list of biographical sketches of our candidates and hope that someone calls us.  Our goal is to match skilled attorneys with compatible positions, not force a questionable candidate on a harried client for the sake of a quick fee.  

We understand that when we place a candidate with a client, we are inserting that person into an existing network of relationships and personal dynamics.  Our personalized, intuitive approach allows us to consider these factors, and evaluate the extent to which a candidate may enrich these relationships while preserving the identity and mission of the client.  Our nuanced approach takes more time than other, more haphazard ones, but our clients and candidates deserve nothing less than purposeful, client-driven recruiting.


Diversity and Inclusion


Our firm's members come from strong backgrounds in social justice.  Lieberman-Nelson continues that commitment professionally in our dedication to seeking out the most talented attorneys, with a wide variety of experiences, along all spectrums of identities and affinities.  We firmly believe that diversity is not simply something to be tolerated, and inclusion is not just a buzzword used in an RFP; rather, both are essential ingredients for a healthy culture. 


Scope and Reach


Though headquartered in Minneapolis, our recruiting knows no geographic boundaries.  An increasing number of our clients have extended their reach nationally and globally.  As partners in their growth, we play an integral role in finding the right attorneys to anchor new offices or strengthen existing ones.  More often than not, this takes us out of our geographic area -- and we fully utilize all available technology to conduct business wherever our clients need us.

Although we change technologically to stay up-to-date, we never stray far from the classic modes of communication that made us successful and keep us human.  Whenever needed, we travel to other cities to meet with clients and candidates personally, using face-to-face conversations to evaluate, assess, and negotiate on our clients' behalf.  It is our ability to read and engage with people, both in person and over the phone, that allows us to build the relationships needed for success.  Even as email and texting are vital tools to us, our clients and our candidates, so remain the handshake, lunch and dinner opportunities to get to know the people who may become partners or colleagues.


Nonrecruiting Experience


Contingent and retained recruiting of individuals and groups is the core of our business. Our reputation is rooted in years of recruiting success. As an adjunct to recruiting, we have used our knowledge of law firm and legal department operations to build an active consulting practice. As the number and complexity of our consulting projects have grown, this has become an important part of our business. We possess the necessary contacts, resources, and skills to deal with a wide variety of challenges and troubles facing our clients. In addition to maintaining a thriving mergers and acquisitions practice, we have:

  • Facilitated numerous partnership meetings and retreats;
  • Developed peer review and client feedback programs;
  • Restructured partner and associate compensation;
  • Assisted the formation of new law firms and corporate law departments;
  • Advised on corporate legal department restructuring; and
  • Acted as neutral parties in identifying and resolving intra-firm personnel issues.

While most of our clients have some degree of expertise in handling the projects in which we have been involved as consultants, they value our objective analysis and candid advice -- advice that comes from an “outsider” without internal political pressure or bias.

Regardless of the situation, we almost never lose our sense of humor. Change is difficult enough without the added burden of a dour, self-important consultant.




In everything we do, at every level of interaction, we strive to protect all parties involved by maintaining the highest level of confidentiality. We never advertise the names of clients or candidates with whom we work. When our clients tell friends or colleagues about us, we appreciate the exposure; it is our principal source of new business.  That said, we never hold out our work on behalf of our clients for public recognition. You will never see your name in a Lieberman-Nelson advertisement. We pride ourselves on the fact that we conduct our recruiting and consulting business as discreetly and professionally as we once practiced law.


Common Goals


We share a common goal with our clients: hiring the best possible person for the position being filled. Hiring through us saves administrative time, creates a pool of screened candidates ready for interviews, and generates candidate feedback.  We can evaluate and compare candidates, uncover compensation needs, field “deal breakers,” and answer difficult questions on our clients’ behalf.

A "bad hire" is a problem for everybody: our client, the placed candidate, and us.  We certainly value the expeditious placement of a candidate.  Perhaps more importantly, we value a congrous arrangement that enables the candidate to feel professionally fulfilled and challenged, which results in greater profitability for our clients.  Everybody wins when the right person is in the right place, at the right time. 

Like the many people for whom we have worked, we like being proud of what we do.  We like success best.