Should I stay or should I go? The Pros and Cons of working for Big Law

Should I stay or should I go? The Pros and Cons of working for Big Law

SOLOPRENEUR
Who doesn’t like to be their own boss? When you work for yourself you make all the rules,you gotta love that. As a small law firm there aren’t layers and layers of management to approve changes. Small firms usually have a good work-life balance which means their office has a more relaxed atmosphere.

Being the boss is a twenty-four / seven  365 days a year job. Health insurance, self-employment tax, and income tax will eat you alive. You become a slave to your business, you wear all the hats.  Sure you can outsource some of the work, but if anything goes wrong, you own it.  Being a small firm means you have a limited budget, as such most of the administrative work and research is done by you.

Then there is malpractice, there is no safety net.

BIG LAW
Leverage the expansive network a big law firm offers. Keep your client’s dealings within the firm, often aspects of a case may require specialized legal expertise. Big firms retain specialists for that very reason.

Big firm’s today don’t focus on training or mentoring, it’s all about billable hours. All things being equal, there is ample opportunity to align yourself with colleagues who will help make you a better lawyer.

SOLO or PARTNER
Either track demands hours and hours of your time, it’s stressful. Big firms do offer paid vacation. Face it, if you’re not bringing in new business you can’t afford to take the time off anyway. Lawyers at the larger firms earn a respectable salary, and with that wage are high expectations. Measure up or you’re out the door.

Just because you’re billing hours means you’re safe, when you work for yourself or for a large firm, it can get nasty out there. Often your boss will take credit for your work. Solopreneurs face large firms trying to lure away your biggest account that keeps your boutique firm afloat.

Working for a big law means you report to several partners, it’s often difficult to discern the every changing, policies and procedures. Every boss wants things done a certain way, it can get damn confusing. Those who discern the bull from the business thrive, the world is your oyster.

Don’t get comfortable, it’s a highly competitive, demanding field.

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website athttps://www.onbalancesearch.com

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Source:

Tobak, S. (August 19, 2014). 10 Pitfalls of Being Your Own Boss. Self-Employment, Entrepreneur.

MacMillan, K. (February 25, 2014). A Lawyer’s Guide to Working for Small vs. Large Law Firms – 36 Tips. R. Johnson Legal Recruitment.

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Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

women making the lateral move to partner

Making a lateral move is a big decision, it’s important for any one making the career more does it for the right reasons. Women, specially need to consider all the options before moving forward.  Men still dominate lateral equity partners within law firms.  If you are overlooked for partner, you may think about taking your portfolio of business down the street to another firm.

“It’s scary, it’s messy, and it’s a process. You’ve got to prepare, really get serious and objective about what you bring to the table. It’s the only way to ensure you find a firm that’s right for you,” Shari Davidson, President, On Balance Search Consultants.

Lateral Partner Process

  • If you are a partner at current firm. Read your agreement now.
  • Align yourself with a reputable recruiter.
  • Have a clear idea what the next career move will be and why.

For example:
Your next firm must have a robust marketing group to support you;
Offices located through-out the U.S. to service your clients;
A culture that allows you to be home for your children;
Or have specialized practice areas that will service your clients etc.

  • Research firms that are a good fit, your specialized skill-set must align with the firms strategic goals.
  • Make sure you have a current CV, Business plan and Representative Matters available.
  • Make sure you have accurate billing information for the past (3) three years (originations, billings, hourly rates, hours billed, realization rates, etc.).
  • Carefully have your recruiter query the interest level without releasing prospective lateral name or firm. If there is mutual interest. Set up meetings and keep the conversations going.
  • Once the above is done…allow the recruiter do their magic. A recruiter should be able to help you manage the process.  Setting up meetings, prepping and debriefing on each meeting, streamlining any materials – such as LPQ, compensation discussion and offer, prepping for resignation and most importantly be a sounding board for all concerns.

You may have to relocate, but thankfully there are some great law firms for women to work for. Here are some of the best firms for women to work for:

  1. Adelson Testan
  2. Fragomen Del Rey
  3. Fredrikson & Byron
  4. Hanson Bridgett
  5. Lewis Brisbois
  6. Pomerantz
  7. Cohen Milstein
  8. Best Best
  9. Ford & Harrison
  10. Shipman & Goodwin
  11. Verrill Dana
  12. Quarles & Brady
  13. Jackson Lewis
  14. Kutak Rock
  15. SmithAmundsen
  16. Nilan Johnson
  17. Ogletree Deakins
  18. Atkinson Andelson
  19. Wilson Elser
  20. Conrad O’Brien
  21. Shook Hardy
  22. Fennemore Craig
  23. McDermott Will
  24. Thacker Martinsek
  25. Bowman and Brooke

Know the early warning signs, if your firm starts laying staff off or there is an increase in attrition, it may be time to start looking. Making a lateral move will have impact your career, resist the initial temptation to make a move based solely on compensation. Consider all the factors, then don’t be shy, make it happen.

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website athttps://www.onbalancesearch.com

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

 

Sources:

Zaretsky, S. (February 27, 2014).  New Study Reveals Women Earn Much More Than Men In Biglaw (Just Kidding!). Above the Law.
Simpson, J. (April 19, 2015). The 100 Best Law Firms For Female Attorneys. Law360.
Deanarms. (June 9, 2015). Law Firms and Women Partners: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize. DailyKos.com.
Retrieved on May 11, 2016 from Attorney Search Group.com/Lateral Partner Process.

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Know When to Go Before Your Law Firm Forces You Out

Know When to Move On

Know When to Go Before Your Law Firm Forces You Out

Lawyers are let go for their inability to develop and cultivate new clients and sustain a book of business. Three of every four partners who have been pushed out reported hearing about their performance problems for the first time when asked to leave (ALM Legal Intelligence, November 2013). ”Firm’s business priorities change, if your firm is moving away from your technical specialty, that’s a wake-up call and you had better start looking,” Shari Davidson, On Balance Search Consultants. Most law firms don’t provide coaching and training to help transition partners who are no longer relevant at the firm.

The legal business profit structure is changing, law firms no longer need nor can afford a large staff as billable hours for clients for discovery have been absorbed by technology.  Advanced software programs now save firms time and expenses to perform the time consuming work of research for case discovery and evidence. Leaner, cost-conscious law firms now outsource many routine base-level services to cheaper contractors outside the U.S.   

Lateral partner hiring, sometimes seen as “buying a book of business”, is one way firms are strengthening their balance sheets. on the rise. Equity and non-equity partners alike who underperform or are no longer aligned with the core business plan are being shown the door without warning.

Churning out long-term partners and bringing in lateral hires creates resentment among the firm’s staff, sapping morale often scaring off legal talent. To attract talent, law firms need and must maintain internal morale. “You can’t bring in a new hired gun who after a short time is a disappointment. The best legal recruiters work very hard to source the right candidates who are a good fit for the firm. Lateral partners must be able to bring a book of business, but that not enough. Candidates must be carefully screened to ensure their skill-set is structurally aligned with the firm’s strategic initiatives and company culture ensuring they’ll thrive and be there for the long-term,” Shari Davidson.

Start developing your personal network, that is where you’ll source new business or at the very least find your next job. A drop in production may come for no apparent reason, don’t make excuses for a lack of performance. Plan your next move, consider that nearly a third of exiting partners source their new assignment with a head-hunter (ALM Legal Intelligence, November 2013).

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Sources:

ALM Legal Intelligence. (November 2013). Up or Out: When Partners Have to Go. Retrieved on April 30, 2016 from http://www.almlegalintel.com/rptTemp/2013_SJL_Lateral_Transitioning.pdf.

The Economist. (May 5th 2011) A less gilded future. Retrieved on April 30, 2016 from http://www.economist.com/node/18651114.

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