To Lateral or Not to Lateral – That is the Big Question

Posted: Apr 19  |  By: Alyson Galusha

You have finally achieved the big goal! The goal of becoming a partner at your law firm. You have worked long hours, spent endless time on client development, lost sleep and questioned whether to stick with it or go in-house like many of your colleagues. All your hard work and time has paid off – but has it? You find yourself questioning whether your firm values the work you are bringing in and whether you would be happier or more profitable at another firm. What should you do?

EVALUATE:

Evaluate where you are and whether it is the right place for you. Some things to consider when evaluating whether to move to another law firm:

  • Are you happy? We often forget about happiness- but considering you spend more time at the office than at home, it is important to consider whether you are happy.
  • Compensation? Are you being underpaid, or maybe even overpaid? Know your value based upon your compensation at your current firm. If you are undervalued, it might be time to move on.
  • Platform? Is the platform at your current firm working for you? Right people, practice groups, cross-selling, marketing, growth of firm and location of other offices.
  • Timing? How many years have you been at your current firm? How many moves have you made? Have you been promoted at current firm recently?
  • Long term goals? Is there a succession plan at your current firm, retirement/savings, elevation opportunities, management opportunities and stability.

HOW TO START:

Finding a new firm is similar to dating. Is this love at first sight? Is this relationship lukewarm? Are we just friends? Can this lead to something more? Just like you are looking for the right “fit” – so are law firms looking for lateral partners. Even before you start exploring the market, put together a business plan. This does not have to be formal at this point. But, be able to speak about the following important aspects of your business:

  • Portable business? A rough estimate of the past three years of business that you have developed and you or your group has serviced.
  • Billable hours? How many billable hours you have worked for the past three years and that the members of your group have billed. Have an idea of your business development hours as well.
  • Hourly rates? A list of the hourly rates for your matters. Would you have room to increase those rates if you moved to a new firm?
  • The group that you support? Your dream-team! Who would they be and why?
  • Conflicts? Put together a list of your clients. There is nothing worse than meeting with a firm several times before realizing you have a conflict.
  • Complementary practice areas and ability to cross sell?

NEXT STEP

Contact a recruiter! Someone that specializes in lateral partner placements. Here is why:

  • A recruiter can help you evaluate your book of business and whether you are underpaid.
  • They can leverage their contacts with law firms.
  • Your recruiter can market you confidentially – it’s a small world out there!
  • Because this is what they do for a living! Focus on practicing law and let the recruiter do what they do best. If I needed heart surgery, I am going to a heart surgeon. Not doing it myself.

Interested in hearing details about our current partner opportunities and discussing the latest trends in the U.S. lateral partner market? Contact a member of our National Partner Group for information. Our team of experienced attorney recruiters offers expert guidance on the nuances of this decision and works hard to carefully align our lateral partner candidates with the right growth opportunities across the U.S.

National Partner Group: Jason Ball, Esq | Lauren Smith, Esq | Alyson Galusha, Esq | Lisa Goldstein, Esq

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