Do recruiters really have "exclusive" job opportunities?
Short answer: Rarely if we're talking about law firm jobs; often if we're talking about in-house jobs.
What does "exclusive" mean in this context?
It means a law firm or company has hired one recruiting firm, and only one, to fill an opening. Law firms RARELY do this. Companies do it quite often.
Why does it even matter?
Scenario: You get an email from a recruiter advertising an "exclusive" opportunity at a top firm or sexy company. You've already started your job search with another recruiter, but you don't want to miss this "exclusive" opening! What should you do?
TALK TO YOUR RECRUITER. If it really is an exclusive opening, your recruiter likely doesn't know about it (you know, because it's actually exclusive). In that case, be transparent with your recruiter about wanting to pursue it. If your recruiter does know about it, there's no benefit to using the other recruiter--especially because they already misrepresented the opening. Chances are, if it's a law firm opening, your original recruiter can submit you.