Co-Founder | CPO | Headhunter

Steve Olsen


Independent Agent

To me, recruiting is the art of promoting clients and careers — simultaneously.

We founded Zensho in 2003 to recruit attorneys (for law firms and corporations). We’ve grown. Now Zensho covers six industries (Legal, Life Sciences, Technology, Consumer & Advertising, Industrial & Manufacturing, and Financial & Professional Services). In all these industries, we help our clients hire the right lawyer by asking ‘why,’ because that’s what’s missing from job descriptions and resumes — it’s the key to hiring the right people.

AI can match resumes with job descriptions. I add the human element (because candidates aren’t robots). Knowing why a lawyer wants to move, tells me what they’re motivated to do, and where they’ll perform their best work. ‘Why’ is the story behind every job description and it’s the purpose that motivates people. When corporate and employee goals align, it’s magic.

That’s why I say recruiting is the art of simultaneously promoting clients and careers, and that’s what I’ve been doing in Tokyo for 20 years. Let’s talk!


Navigating logjams and fly fishing the upper Chilikadrotna River for Alaskan King Salmon, soaring on currents with sharks above Blue Corner while suspended from a reef hook in Palau, and winning ‘Most Outstanding Design’ at the Independent Publisher Book Award competition.

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Values: A message to our awesome tribe

Years from now, you may not remember the particulars of deals you closed at Zensho (or what the returns were). You will remember your colleagues and how it felt to work with them. The imprint you left on the world.

We invited you to join our tribe because you impressed us as someone who shares values intrinsic to our culture. But just to ensure we’re totally on the same page, here they are, spelled out in black and white and trimmed in our corporate colors.

Freedom is Zensho’s central pillar. Beyond the mere state of being free, for us the word carries with it a sense of obligation: “Freedom to…” What follows should define you as a person. Of course, to provide your business community with amazing service, but also to engage and give back to the world. And that’s where Autonomy comes in. Unlike the general implications of self-rule, ours leads not to detachment but to a broad and radical sense of interconnectivity. One that enables each of us to commune with others in infinite ways. Together, these two values empower you like nothing else on earth, and they’re here waiting for you.

So, what do we ask in return?

Transparency means not only having open books, but being one yourself. No secrets or ulterior agendas. It is to share personal and industry information without seeking to leverage it for profit or motivate others in any way. Its cousin, Clarity, is about including precision and context in the communication process. At Zensho, we always try to anticipate the details a fellow partner might need and supply them up front.

Which leads us to…

Collaboration. That is, to cooperate meaningfully. Because only through recognizing individual strengths can we thrive as a whole. For us, collaboration requires presence as we listen and respond, evolving toward a collective goal represented by the name of our charity initiative: Ayni (reciprocity). This can’t exist without Collegiality. How we care for each other and the tribe as a whole, share both opportunity and responsibility with open hearts – that’s what empowers us to excel as a firm.

With these six in place, our seventh value happens all by itself.

Harmony. When your environment manifests balance between all people and things – even forces that oppose each other – life just flows. Living completely becomes a state of being. After all, that’s the very meaning of Zensho.