Nicole is Co-Founder and Partner of Cardinal Search Partners, which she helped launch after over 13 years as a legal recruiter with SJL Attorney Search, another prominent company in the industry where she was Partner and, prior to that, Head of the Associate Placement Group. Over the years, Nicole has represented attorneys at all levels of seniority and across all practice areas, as they made lateral moves to AmLaw 100 and 200 law firms, sophisticated boutique law firms, investment funds, financial institutions, and private and public companies.
With well over a decade in the industry, she is a natural partner for associates and counsel who are looking to optimize their time in Big Law. In more recent years, she has focused on guiding and collaborating with income and equity partners. They have worked tirelessly to build their brand, their practice, their network and/or business, and any possible move is a high-stakes decision. Nicole leverages her in depth knowledge of the AmLaw 200 and profitable boutique firms and her equally in depth understanding of her candidate to ensure they are aligned or align with the most successful platform and firm for their future.
Nicole’s first promise to her candidates is that the process will always be about them, and never about her. That way of recruiting has allowed the attorneys she works with to trust in their partnership, to have in-depth conversations about their career options, and to accept or reject offers with all the information in front of them. She gives each attorney the attention their career deserves and needs – it’s too important a process to do it any other way.
Prior to becoming a legal recruiter, Nicole practiced for several years at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, first in litigation and then in real estate, before transitioning to the firm’s recruiting department as its first Lateral Recruiting Coordinator. It was there that she learned what it takes to be an effective legal recruiter and how rare it is to find.
In addition to her role as legal recruiter and career advisor, Nicole looks for other opportunities to share her knowledge, publishing articles and offering value on her LinkedIn page, advising students at top law schools with respect to their OCI process, and speaking at law schools and presenting programs at major industry events, including NALP.
Nicole earned her B.A., cum laude, from Villanova University and her J.D. from Washington College of Law of American University. She is an avid football fan (though the New York Giants have been testing her the past few years) and enjoys anywhere with a beach, any type of exercise, and has in recent years become mildly obsessed with tennis and pickleball.
Lauren advises associates across all practice areas in New York and throughout the country on law firm
opportunities, non-legal law firm roles and in-house positions. She partners with attorneys to
understand their goals and offers actionable advice on how to achieve their professional aspirations. Lauren
understands the motivations that drive a legal career and the importance of making the right professional
move. Her recruiting and legal background makes her uniquely qualified to collaborate with attorneys and
guide them throughout their careers.
Lauren co-founded Cardinal Search Partners, LLC after several years as a Managing Director at SJL Attorney
Search, LLC. Prior to recruiting, she was a corporate finance associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton &
Garrison LLP and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. She graduated, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from
Georgetown University with a B.A. in History and Art History. She earned her law degree from Georgetown
University Law Center, where she was on the board of The Tax Lawyer. Lauren remains an active alumna of
Georgetown University Law Center and conducts alumni admissions interviews for prospective students.
She also interned for The Honorable Colleen McMahon of the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.
While not working, Lauren enjoys playing fetch with her Cavapoo, watching (almost) every television show
on Bravo and planning her next travel adventure with her husband.
Nicole is a Co-founder of Cardinal Search Partners, LLC after being a Partner for several years at SJL Attorney Search, LLC (“SJL”). Nicole has been a prominent figure in the legal recruiting industry since 2009. Prior to joining SJL, Nicole worked at several elite global law firms – Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP and Kaye Scholer LLP – first as a practicing litigator, and then on the administrative side in professional development and legal personnel management.
Leveraging her experience in the New York legal industry, Nicole helps candidates across all different practice areas and levels find their optimal professional environment and helps clients find the best possible talent. A natural counselor and connector, Nicole acts as a co-partner in these relationships, investing 100% of herself in the process to ensure that candidates can achieve their professional goals in the most optimal and discreet way. Clients respect Nicole’s approach as she is thoughtful, strategic, and collaborative.
In 2022, Nicole was the featured guest speaker among an elite group of top AmLaw practice group heads as a leading expert in her industry. Nicole has likewise been featured in Business Insider as a legal recruiting leader and expert. Nicole speaks frequently on industry panels – at NYCRA, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, New York University School of Law, and Northwestern Law School as an expert on trends in the New York legal market.
Nicole graduated cum laude from Duke University with her B.A. in History. She earned her law degree from Fordham University where she was a member of the Fordham Urban Law Journal.
In her free time, Nicole loves spending time with her family and friends in the Berkshires, listening to true crime podcasts, and debating with her family whether to get a French bulldog. Nicole loves Barry’s Bootcamp, but also loves finding reasons why she can’t go.
As a legal recruiter, Victoria strives to see the big picture and
understand: What are your goals? What is your vision of success and
satisfaction? What do you need to get the most out of your career and
Victoria has successfully collaborated with many attorneys, with vastly
different goals, on their career plans and pivots. She draws upon many
years of experience, both as a recruiter and as a former practicing
attorney. Before she became a recruiter over six years ago, Victoria was
a litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Seyfarth
Shaw LLP, and was an Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Division,
in the District of Connecticut. Prior to entering practice, Victoria clerked
for the late Judge Mark R. Kravitz in the United States District Court,
District of Connecticut.
Victoria earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a
Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She graduated from Smith College magna
cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and with Highest Honors in Philosophy.
Outside of work, Victoria is passionate about conservation and animal
rescue. She’s an avid runner and has run an ultramarathon, the NYC
Triathlon, and 13 marathons (so far).
Michelle’s goal is to help associates feel motivated and positive about their careers.
Whether an associate wants to move to another law firm, transition to a non-legal law
firm role, go in-house or make an informed decision in staying where they are, Michelle
commits to helping her candidates find the right fit for themselves. As a former Cravath
associate, Michelle appreciates firsthand how much and how hard lawyers work, and
strives to make the search process straightforward, tailored and efficient for her
candidates. She loves helping other lawyers find jobs that fulfill them and getting to
know them along the way. Michelle works with associates across all practice areas in
New York and throughout the country.
Michelle became a legal recruiter after five and a half years as a litigator at Cravath,
Swaine & Moore LLP. She worked on a broad range of complex commercial disputes,
including securities, antitrust and intellectual property litigation. Michelle earned her
J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, editor
for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, member of the NALSA Moot Court Team,
member of the Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration Clinic, and
teaching assistant. While in law school, Michelle externed for The Honorable Raymond
Joseph Lohier, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Michelle graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Dartmouth College.
Outside of work, Michelle is actively involved in local social justice initiatives. She also
enjoys spending time with her kids and husband, lifting weights and watching poorly-
rated reality TV.
With over 10 years of experience leading the Legal Recruitment Marketing team at Vault, Claudia is a demonstrated expert in the legal industry. More than that, she understands the importance of career satisfaction and that is her focus in helping candidates evaluate the next step in their careers. As a recruiter, Claudia's approach is to actively listen to candidates' short and long-term goals. She uses her in depth knowledge of her clients and the market to match candidates with the employer who will best position them to achieve those goals. She is a trusted advocate to her candidates, ensuring that they become not only better lawyers, but also happier ones.
Claudia's expertise derives in large part from her years spent analyzing the results of Vault's legal industry surveys, creating innovative resources for candidates' job searches, and speaking to firms and legal professionals about the recruitment market. In particular, she has a unique understanding of law firms based on the thousands of unfiltered responses she evaluated each year to the Vault Associate Survey. She appreciates how access to such information can inform her candidates' career decisions and she is here to offer it.
Claudia has built strong relationships across the legal industry, whether it be through speaking with attorneys, advising AmLaw 200 law firms, studying associate commentary, counseling law students, or golfing with in-house lawyers at industry invitationals. Because of her reputation and deep industry knowledge, she is often invited to speak at conferences or events, sharing research on trends in recruiting, lawyer satisfaction, diversity, equity & inclusion, and career development. She is proud of the breadth and depth of her knowledge and enjoys leveraging it as a recruiter because, at her core, Claudia loves learning what drives people - personally and professionally.
Claudia has a B.A. in Political Science from Dickinson College where she was captain of the golf team and hip-hop team. In her free time, she loves playing tennis and golf, cooking her family's Italian specialties, eating French fries, and re-watching episodes of “The Office.”
Prior to joining Cardinal Search Partners, Daniella spent over a decade at Cravath, Swaine & Moore—first as a Litigation and Antitrust associate for five years, and then leading the firm’s Professional Development team. In the latter role, Daniella advised firm partnership and developed strategic direction for associate development, including creating and implementing training programs and working directly with attorneys to help them identify and think critically about their career objectives.
As a recruiter, Daniella leverages her decade of experience at Cravath to help attorneys identify what they love (and don’t love) about their current roles, and then works with them to identify opportunities that will more meaningfully satisfy their career and personal objectives. Daniella approaches each attorney with the personal understanding of the unique nature of the work, as well as the professional track record of successfully empowering attorneys to meet their full potential.
Daniella earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She graduated from Barnard College summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with the highest graduating GPA. Following Law School, Daniella clerked for The Honorable Cathy Seibel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
In her free time, Daniella loves spending time with her husband and children and their pandemic puppy George. She also spends her time pretending to train for (half) marathons, though it would be a stretch to say she loves doing that.
As a legal recruiter, Ronni spends her days doing what she does best - connecting with people. She thrives in an environment where she is relied upon for counsel and support, and she uses those skills to help attorneys evaluate options and make crucial decisions about the next steps in their careers. Ronni’s thoughtful approach takes into consideration the many factors that matter to both her candidates and law firm and company clients in the process. In doing so, she draws upon many years of experience in Big Law (and her own experience lateraling and transitioning in her career) to underscore the nuances among different firms and in-house opportunities, as well as options beyond BigLaw.
Prior to becoming a legal recruiter, Ronni practiced as a restructuring attorney at Shearman & Sterling LLP and Arent Fox LLP. She most recently served as a Knowledge Management Attorney on the Financial Restructuring & Insolvency team at Shearman & Sterling LLP.
Ronni earned her B.S. from Cornell University, where she majored in Human Development, and her J.D. from Fordham Law School, where she was a member of the Urban Law Journal. Ronni enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, reading, riding her Peloton, being with her friends, and pretending to meditate.
After 21 years in BigLaw, Kerren is doing what she does best: connecting with people and impacting their lives for the better. Kerren’s tenure in BigLaw translates to relevant knowledge of big firm culture and invaluable insight to the challenges faced in the legal world. That, along with her natural mentoring skills and relatability, enable her to find the right fit for those looking to make a career change. The meaningful relationships Kerren has forged over the years, and her interpersonal skills and tenacity, make her a skilled recruiter and valuable asset to the Cardinal team. Kerren listens intently and works closely and patiently with her candidates to ensure a smooth and informed process from start to finish.
Prior to joining Cardinal, Kerren was a litigator. She spent the first 8 years of her legal career at Kaye Scholer LLP, specializing in intellectual property litigation. She then made her own lateral move to Reed Smith LLP, where she spent 13 years specializing in general commercial, real estate and financial services related litigation. Kerren also spent ten years on Reed Smith’s New York Recruitment Committee – this is where she discovered her passion for the industry, eye for talent, and her ability to build relationships and establish trust, which is why candidates are comfortable placing their careers in her hands.
Kerren has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude. Kerren received her JD from Hofstra School of Law, where she was a member of the Hofstra Law Review and graduated in the top 5% of her class.
Outside of work, Kerren loves to spend time with her twin daughters (reliving her youth as a twin herself) as well as with her husband and her maltipoo. Kerren enjoys boxing and weight training and alternates between getting lost in a good book and reality TV. Fun fact -- Kerren also has a knack for matchmaking!
Athena's mission is to help attorneys harness the power of career moves to maximize their personal and professional fulfillment. Leveraging nearly ten years of finance, business, and legal experience, Athena helps associates think through their objectives, identify in-house and firm opportunities that fit the bill, build a compelling job application, and negotiate an offer worth being excited about. Athena is a born “connector” who will adapt and tailor her approach based on the nuances of her candidates. She is committed to open, clear, and prompt communication to make the job search process as seamless as possible.
Prior to joining Cardinal, Athena spent over four years as a litigation and white collar associate at WilmerHale and Latham & Watkins in Washington, DC. She handled a broad range of disputes related to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Bank Secrecy Act, the False Claims Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and various anti-discrimination laws. She also provided regulatory counseling to educational institutions and emerging companies.
Athena graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. During law school, Athena served as a legal intern in the Appellate Division at the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Sidney Fitzwater in the Northern District of Texas. Prior to law school, Athena graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a B.A. in Economics and worked as an investment banker at Centerview Partners in New York City.
In her free time, Athena loves traveling around the world to discover restaurants off the beaten path, reading the latest hit novel, fine-tuning her skiing skills, and cuddling with her one-eyed Shih Tzu, Pip!