Making the Lateral Partner Move: Looking Back, Getting Ahead

Ready to make the lateral partner move? You’ll need to clearly detail how you got to where you are and why the your the best.

Here is what you need to make the lateral move:

  1. Partners, read your agreement now.
  2. Align yourself with a reputable recruiter.
    The best recruiter’s find the perfect fit, aligning your specialized skill-set with the firm’s strategic goals.
  3. Have a clear idea what the next career move will be and why. For example:A firm with robust marketing support.
    Offices located through-out the U.S.
    A culture that allows you to be home for your family.
    Full service law firm that offers specialized services to serve your client’s needs.
  4. Make sure you have a current CV, Business plan and Representative Matters available.

Look Back at your financials for the past three (3) years as well as where you will end up at the end of this year. Know your:

hourly rates
hours billed
realization rates, etc.

Snap-shot of of your practice area.
Breakdown of your practice areas for the past year, realizing that your focus may vary year to year.
i.e. If you are T&E Partner —

50% Planning
30% Administration
20% T&E Litigation

Review two or three success stories, look back.

Once the above is done . . .  work closely with your recruiter to help manage the process to:

  • Set-up meetings
  • Prepping and debriefing on each meeting
  • Streamlining any materials –

(LPQ) Lateral Partner Questionnaire
Compensation discussion and offer
Prepping for resignation

  • Be a sounding board for all concerns
  • Keep communication lines open, on both ends of the table

A job search is a full time endeavor. Hold steadfast to your goals, double down when it gets rough and don’t give up. ‘The grittiest’ people have developed their passions from personal interests.


Law Firms Hire Most of Their Staff From Mid-February to April
Most law firms fiscal years are the same as the calendar year, their budgets are planned for January and thus the budgets are planned in November.  The end of the year brings bonus checks to the rainmakers and pink slips for the rest.  Hiring begins with The New Year, many start looking for new positions.

During the summer large law firms take on a significant number of associates that start in the late spring to early summer. Lawyers are in the office less traveling during June, July and August. 

Late August to Mid-October is the second busiest hiring time of the year.
During these months, law firms and their recruiting staff have more time to turn to lateral hiring because they are not dealing with summer associate programs.

Start your job search in November and December instead of waiting until January.

Placements are made all year long, every year law firms have differing criteria for candidates and every market has needs for varying skill-sets.

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.

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.

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