Four Law Firm Marketing Strategies for the Post Pandemic World

Business is anything but business as usual. During the pandemic law firms have had to pivot, embracing technology and rethinking how to retain and bring in new business.

During the pandemic, many law firms created remote workshops, seminars and embraced interacting with clients online. Law firms must leverage this profound online shift by creating a robust online-digital presence.

People are spending more time online and more time on social media. Each social channel has unique strengths that can be utilized to gain competitive edge online.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS 

Here are the top benefits of the most popular social channels:

Facebook is the fifth largest search engine in the world. Over 85% of all online searches are made using Google followed by YouTube, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft Bing (Pew Internet Research).

Although your prospects may never use Facebook, the truth is that when searching for anything online, you very may well click into Facebook post. Sharing content regularly on your Facebook company page will generate high levels of awareness about your law firm.

LinkedIn highlights the firm’s services, expertise, recommendations and connections. Share insights about best practices and services offered to create awareness about your firm. Post regularly on LinkedIn to build credibility and trust with your core stakeholders.

Instagram is essentially a visual platform. Users share emotive images and videos. If the firm’s message is visual, this may be a good place to connect with your audience.

Twitter is primarily text limited to 240 characters. Breaking news is shared on Twitter reaching powerful thought leaders who can amplify your message giving your message instant credibility.

YouTube is the second largest search engine reaching over a billion people monthly (Pew Internet Research). YouTube is a powerful marketing tool that can help bring in more business.

Video is 10 times more likely to be watched than text. Sight, sound and motion connects with your prospects, personalizing your message building trust and authority.

2. CONTENT MARKETING TIPS 

Follow these creative tips when making videos and blog posts:

  • Create highly engaging content by providing useful advise and insights.
  • Add a call-to-action to opt-in to your newsletter or blog. Create a pop-up that prompts the viewer to enter their email and subscribe to your channel or newsletter.
  • Engage via email and on social channels with personal notes about client’s achievements, etc. to kickstart conversations with current and future clients.‌
  • Build trust and credibility by sharing frequent updates from reviews and testimonials from clients.

3. ONLINE OPTIMIZATION STRATEGIES 

Google My Business (GMB) is a free digital platform that details the services your firm provides. It’s a powerful business tool to help your law firm stand out amongst the local competition.

All of your online profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Bing, and Google) should be thoughtfully completed. The more detailed the information provided in your profiles, the more likely prospects will employ your services.

Optimizing your law firm should be done within the website and on directories so your website is ranked on the first page of a search. Webpages must be coded to ensure they will rank well for online searched. Your firm must also be listed in the top online directories, that way your firm will rank well on searched as well.

Optimization can be expensive, weigh the cost based on your marketing objectives to maximize your return-on-investment.

4. INTEGRATED CONTENT MARKETING

Digital and social media channels are relatively inexpensive compared to traditional media such as print, radio and television. Develop an integrated marketing plan that targets your prospects.

An integrated marketing plan starts with creating engaging content. Your website is your business card. It should detail your services, staff, testimonials and recommendations from past clients.

Published posts should be created on your website, then this content can be shared on your social channels. When sharing content, the posts links should re-direct back to your website. That way prospects can review details about your law firm.

Additionally, shared posts can be boosted by extending the reach. Targeting your prospects with a modest ad spend can result in new business. Always add a call-to-action to capture email and phone leads.

Recommended digital channels that you should follow and add to your integrated marketing efforts include: Above The Law, JD Supra, ABA Journal, Attorney at Law, and LawJobs.

5. LEVERAGING TECH

As we transition to this new normal, understand that while there is nothing better than face-to-face meetings, teleconferencing is an efficient tool to keep in contact with and connect with existing and new clients.

Invest in robust cybersecurity to protect your firm’s intellectual property. Hire a consultant to advise you to help mitigate the risk of exposing your data.

Develop policies and protocols to mitigate the risk to exposure from phishing scams. No security software can deter your firm’s data from being hacked, but should protocols can insulate you from being responsible from an attack.

OLD SCHOOL, NEW NORMAL 

Law firms need to understand that a digital footprint is critical to your firm’s success. Data captured from your website and social shares provides a wealth of insights into who and where to secure new business.

  • Understand how to analyze and leverage your data points to increase billings with existing and new accounts.
  • Engage with your clients, ask what services they need and add on attorneys who can serve those needs.
  • Rethink retention programs to evaluate what services the firm offers are profitable and what services should be added to improve the bottom line.
  • Use teleconferencing to keep the lines of communication open with your clients. There is nothing new here, good old fashioned follow though makes it rain.

In this new normal understand that you need to retool the old school methods by leveraging the technology readily available to bring in new business.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Diversity & Inclusion: Law Firm’s Stand In A Post Pandemic World

As the world pivots from this coronavirus pandemic, the legal community is challenged to create a diverse workplace.

The disruption of the business world has created opportunity to reset the table. Attracting and retaining diverse talent foments successful outcomes.

Representation 

Since the great recession of 2008, there has been a decline in the percentage of women and African Americans represented in law. And yet, the number of women enrolled in law school surpassed men since 2016, American Bar Association (ABA). 

Women attorneys represent about 23% of the firm’s partners and 45% of associates. There are twice as many men who represent corporations’ general council, 69% compared to 31% women. 

Women and lawyers of color, face the constant threat of being minimized. Representation of minority women continues to be under-represented in law. Latina and African American women account for about 2.45% and 2.55% of law firm associates and 0.77% and 0.68% of law firm partners, respectively (ABA).

African Americans are also poorly represented in law. The most recent data from a diversity survey (Minority Corporate Council (MCC) reports that blacks account for just 2.1% of the firm and less are equity partners. Consider that 13.4% of the U.S. population is black. These numbers have not changed over the last decade. 

Retention

Law firms are committed to diversity and inclusion and that will continue. Caucasian women are making consistent advances in the law partner ranks, increasing from 17% to 20%. 

Insights from the (MCC) diversity report, indicate that departures of lawyers of color from law firms has escalated. This disturbing truth underscores the inherent problem with how firms are furthering diversity. Lawyers of color find themselves in a culture that does not make them feel equal among colleagues.

“My job is and has always been about matching each candidate’s unique skill set with a firm that mutually benefits all parties.” Shari Davidson, President — On Balance Search Consultants. 

Diversity & Inclusion 

There is a growing recognition for the need for diversity, but we as a society, still have not figured out how to address it. 

It’s common place for firms to assign a diverse lawyer to a trial team solely for optics. No one wants to be on the team unless they are making real contributions. 

“Our society is guilty of seeing only what they want to see, blind to what they don’t see, or will not defend what is unseen. Recently, the New York Bar has required attorney’s continuing legal education to include credits in ethics, diversity, inclusion and the elimination of bias.” Shari Davidson. 

Inside and outside of the firm, women and lawyers of color, are all too often acknowledged as the last person during the introductions for a meeting. Subtly demeaning individuals based on color or gender or race in the workplace is unacceptable. It’s offensive.

Diversity and inclusion must be intentional and focused. 

Will the legal community seize this moment to advance inclusion of diverse talent? Law firms need to be thoughtful about bringing on rising talent that adds to the overall vision and values of the practice. 

Clearly communicating the firm’s commitment to diversity must prove by example that the path to success within the firm is on an equal footing for persons of color and women. 

Leadership 

The importance of diversity and inclusion must be a priority at every level of the firm. Be known as a firm that champions diversity and compensates their talent equitably. 

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Compensation: Is it all about the money?

Is it all about the money? 
Money changes everything. Carefully consider all the aspects of the offer before sealing the deal. Make sure the law firm is financially sound and is poised for growth. 

Look beyond the salary negotiations and focus on the opportunity itself. Evaluate the non-monetary aspects of each situation, especially career growth and business development potential. 

Things change, you may need to create more balance in your life. Find a firm that will help you make the transitions necessary for a balanced lifestyle. 

Why are you making the move? 
Any career move must demonstrate what you bring to the table, your ability to attract and service new clients is critical. Partners with portable business would want to consider the following prior to making a move:

  • Joining forces with another firm to take advantage of economies of scale, shared expenses and streamlined administration. That way you can focus on making it rain.
  • Marketing and cross-selling beyond compensation are important factors to consider when making a lateral partner move. 
  • Joining a firm who has expertise outside your area of law can help retain existing accounts as well as bring in new business. Clients often like one-stop shopping.

NEGOTIATING THE DEAL 

Lawyers want to understand the rules of the road when making a move. In this talent market, it’s more important than ever. Make sure you understand all parts of the offer and how they work. 

Salary 
It is important to understand how your prospective employer’s compensation system works. 

Most firms consider some combination of business origination, hours billed, business development and cross-marketing efforts, mentoring, firm management, and pro bono work.

Bonuses 
Signing bonuses, profit sharing, a percentage of business generation, stock options/employee stock purchase plans etc..

Benefits 
Insurance (health, life, long- and short-term disability, vision, dental and dependents coverage), 401(k) or other retirement plans and employer matching programs, paid vacation or personal days, continuing education or other professional training expenses, relocation plans, and loans/forgivable loans.

Perks 
Business development allowances, bar and other professional organization dues, country club/health club memberships, travel expenses, marketing budgets, cars or transportation allowances, cell phones, laptop computers, particulars about an office, etc.

Other considerations
Title, timing of partnership consideration, start date, flex time/telecommuting, billable hours requirements, compensation reviews, duties/responsibilities, assurances that you will be working on particular types of matters, or with certain partners or clients, office size and location, etc.

Get it right
Work with a legal recruiter, get it straight from those who knows the in’s and out’s of the legal landscape. Look at the total picture. Does the firm you want to join align with your career goals. It is NOT only about the money!

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Women Lawyers: What are the 9 Critical Steps to Overcome the Confidence Gap?

Law firms are hungry for top talent, and there has never been a better time for women to command the highest pay. Savvy law firms are offering women top salaries, realizing that the gender pay disparity needs to be addressed.

Frustration, disappointment, denial, and fear.
Lawyers are by nature risk-averse, but perhaps an upside of the pandemic is the reduction in certain areas of risk, like timing a move to another law firm. Due to the new employment laws, it’s time to get equitable compensation and gender pay equality right.

Often candidates undervalue their assets and poorly articulate self-worth. “Ask yourself…What do I need to do to meet my career and personal life goals? Does your current situation meet your requirements?” says Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk.

When working with On Balance Search, we take a look comprehensive snapshot of your law practice. This includes:

  1. Who are your clients? What industries do they represent?
  2. How long have you nurtured your relationships?
  3. What is the significance of the cases handled and the outcomes? Quantify the results.
  4. How many other people share credit for your success stories?
  5. How well do you know yourself? What are your strengths and your achievements? Write them down and ask others who know you and you trust.
  6. Are you a ‘Debbie Downer’, do you look at situations negatively?
  7. Be positive. Ask yourself, how will I radiate optimism and bring a vibrant can-do attitude to the table?
  8. Do you look and feel like a million bucks? Employers are attracted to winners, walk the walk and dress for success. Make sure your personal hygiene reflects confidence. Get your nails and hair done, shine your shoes, dry clean your suits. Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel like a million dollars.
  9. How will you demonstrate confidence? What you say and how you say it translates. Use communication practices that convey certainty with others.

Don’t limit yourself, stop making excuses for why things are not going your way. Don’t drag yourself down. Look for results and how to make things better.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Don’t Let Fear Get In The Way Of Future Planning

FEAR Factor Attorney Breakdown . . . False Evidence Appearing Real

F … False

E … Evidence

A … Appearing

R … Real

Fear is something we all feel as a natural response to physical danger. For an attorney is not realizing that your future is a risk due to your being numb to the warning signs.

FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. It appears real, even though it may have no real substance. Arising when we feel threatened or undermined, which makes us cling to the known and familiar. Such fear creates paranoia, worry, nervous disorders, and apprehension.

Case Study I

Senior Divorce Attorney with 30 years’ experience who has built a successful practice with $1 million in billings loses 80% of his business. The trusted associate jumps ship and takes the firm’s book with him. The Senior Attorney ignored the signs and chose not to do anything.

Now the Senior Attorney needs to find a replacement and will end up retiring several years later.

Case Study II

Two Senior Partners with 3 associates of a successful T&E Practice losses large percentage of their billings to stay at status quo.

After the first of the year, one associate left and took many of their clients. Within, the next month or so, the next two associates departed with more clients. Between 75-90% of their business walked out their door.

The two Senior Attorneys now need to decide what they are going to do.

1. Close shop or 2. Start over again.

In Case Study 1 & 2, the senior partners ignore the signs. Instead of creating an internal or external succession plan, they ignored the subject entirely. In both cases, the associates did not know where he/she stood within the firm. Much less understand that they were the Senior Attorneys the retirement plan.

Case Study III

Two, Senior Attorneys (Personal Injury) both with 55 plus years of combined experience seize the day and opt for an early exit plan and double their net worth overnight.

Two successful attorneys, Senior Associate and staff opt to join forces by merging their practices. As a result, both double their net worth overnight and strengthen their firm that will ensure an early retirement down the road. The Senior Associate decided to relocate and join a new firm. In this case, this outcome did not interrupt the flow of the firm’s day to day business.

These attorneys did not put all faith in the Senior Associate taking over their practice. One Senior Attorney is now retired, enjoying his passion for fly fishing while his portfolio produces continued profits. The other is still working and can take advantage of retirement when he is ready.

FEAR is an illusion. Something we fabricate in our own minds and pretend is real. It’s a fairy tale we tell ourselves that keeps us from doing what we really want.

False evidence appearing real.

Hiding your head in the sand, and not making a decision is still a decision. Make the decision to plan for your retirement. Don’t leave money on the table.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Make it Rain: Secrets to building a successful book of business

The highest paid attorneys focus on practice areas that are in demand, year after year. Prodigious rainmakers build a big book of business logging endless billable hours. Corporate attorneys typically do a lot of private equity deals and mergers and acquisitions. That feeds a lot of lawyers at the firm, no firm is going to want to lose you, and that is reflected in your compensation.

Job titles at law firms may not necessarily lead to higher compensation. Law firms reward results, an attorney’s book of business is the most significant factor when considering compensation or adding on a new partner.

“As a legal recruiter, I’ve placed many top producers with prestigious law firms. — Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants. Going In-House is not the panacea, create your own destiny by building a powerful book of business.”

How to build a successful book of business

Building a book of business takes time, here are some great tips on how the best make it rain:

Quality not Quantity

Develop several long-term relationships, that you are in personal contact with all the time. These types of relationships doesn’t happen overnight. The relationships must be mutually beneficial to both parties. If your clients see you as a trusted advisor they will send you work and give you referrals. Five to ten close relationships are worth much more that 500 LinkedIn connections.

Take Care of Existing Clients

About 80 percent of lawyers’ business comes from their existing client base. Current clients account for the majority of your business, don’t neglect your existing relationships.

Make sure you promptly return calls and emails. Think about your client’s business, what affects them, and how you can help them today and tomorrow.

Regularly exceed expectations.

Lawyers are leaving money on the table by not building relationships. A valued and trusted adviser brings in more business from your existing clients.

Improve your Value Proposition

Develop a strategic business plan that highlights your strengths. Bill for value added, not time spent. Clients want to know you care about their business, that they are not just a number.

Strong relationships last, they bring in more business and strengthen your reputation. Be good to your referral sources, some of whom will be your own law firm. Take special care of clients who were referred to you, future referral sources are based on the success of how well they feel they were served.

Hone your Skill-Set

Professional development never ends — digital marketing is a great resource for gaining new clients. Work with a public relations firm to build trust and authority to establish you and the firm as a leader in the field of law you specialize in. Hone your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills beyond the practice of law.

Attorneys aren’t going to become the best-paid at their firm without working hard for it, that’s not enough. Look for ways to think outside of the box for that next big client.

Keep your eye on what’s important — focus on being a team player who has the best interests of the law firm. Build your book of business and understand the firm’s corporate culture, just don’t get caught up in the politics.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: It’s Not Just Your CV That Gets You In The Door

Creating the Representative Matters / Transactional Deal Sheets

The Representative Matters / Transactional Deal Sheets a is perhaps an attorney’s best sales tool to winning new business or making that lateral move to a new firm.

Litigators use the term Representative Matters to list cases, and transactional attorneys refer to this document as the Transactional Deal Sheet. For the purposes of this article we will call it, the Deal Sheet.

Transactional Deal Sheets are an important tool to help quantify your value to your firm and position yourself in the marketplace. Take stock of your experience and assess where you are, and where you are going.

The bottom line is that you must have an up-to-date list of cases you have worked on and deals you have closed. The Deal Sheet clearly defines your professional accomplishments in a way that a resume alone cannot.

The Deal Sheet highlights your successes stories and showcases your specialized skill-set in areas of law you excel at. The Deal Sheet is truly a must to help negotiate a better rate or favorable terms.

The Deal Sheet helps to assess where your experience is, and it’s a must to for client development.

It makes no difference if you plan on making the lateral move or simply staying where you are. Start keeping a running list of cases you have worked on.

There is no set length or format for organizing The Deal Sheet. Deal Sheets have no page limits. The Deal Sheet provides clients and prospective employers with a deeper understanding of your career experience with concrete examples in a clear, cogent and crisp manner. Be as concise as possible.

The key is to come up with a structure that meets the objective. Make the list easy to digest at a glance by highlighting your major accomplishments.

  1. List high profile or high value cases and deals first.
  2. Group information by kinds of cases or deals and firms chronologically.
  3. Always be cognizant that you accurately portray your role in the matters and deals you describe.
  4. Be mindful of confidentiality issues. Be tactful and strategic, often times subtly stating the details works well.
  5. Include citations to be safe or use more generic language without naming specific people or entities.
  6. Include the dates (month and year) of each deal to show how recent your experience in various sub-practice areas has been.
  7. For instances where you have worked on a number of nearly identical deals for the same client, condense these transactions into one entry.
  8. You can include deals that did not close, if the details add something substantive to your skill set.

The important thing is to create a Deal Sheet that succinctly details your cases that can be scanned instantly and with ease.

Create several versions:

  1. Create a chronological Deal Sheet and also create one that lists deals in a logical format.
  2. When prospecting, create a Deal Sheet that is specific to a that industry or a sheet that lists only high-profile cases.
  3. You may want to create unique Deal Sheets for Commercial Litigations, Bankruptcy Litigations, M&A Cases, IPOs, Capital Offerings, SEC Cases and arbitrations separately.
  4. It might make sense to group deals where you represented the issuer under one heading and deals where you represented the underwriters under a different heading or sub-heading.

Carefully review your Deal Sheet and consider being challenged on everything listed. Be fully prepared to talk intelligently about anything and everything you include in your Deal Sheet.

  1. Make sure you can recite extemporaneously any detail listed.
  2. Be prepared to address questions about any key issues that arose during a case and how they were resolved.
  3. Also discuss any challenges you in particular faced, during this deal and how you solved them.
  4. If you really were not involved in the substance of a deal or if elaborating on the issues presents potential concerns about your skill set, err on the side of caution. Delete it.
  5. Put pen to paper and detail your accomplishments. Your resume should be concise, that’s why the Deal Sheet is so valuable.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Law Firm Compensation: How are Partners Paid, Compensated

Equity Partners take the most risk and for doing so, get the most rewards.

All attorneys start their careers as associates, and many will go on to become of counsel, non-equity partners, or equity partners.

The main difference between an equity partner and non-equity or income partner is that the equity partners assumes a leadership role that goes beyond law. Let’s look at titles:

Managing Partner (CEO) this can be an equity partner, income partner or staff partner and sometimes senior associate.

  1. Equity Partners/Member/ Shareholder/Executive Partner (Own a Percentage of the firm) many firms may not even identify by title the equity partners. The website may just say partner.
  2. Income Partners/Contract Partners/Non-Equity Partners
  3. Staff Partner- This title is given to those who have the expertise but don’t have a book of business. The staff partner can charge partner billing rates. Most of the time one can not determine if the partner is a staff partner or not. This title does not show up on website.

Of Council VS Council

‘Of Counsel’ is an attorney who is employed by a firm but not as an associate or partner. Often the designee is a former judge or government official transitioning to private practice. Also, an attorney can be ‘Of Counsel’ can actually work for the firm (close, personal, continuous, and have a regular relationship between the firm and counsel lawyer).

‘Counsel’, ‘Special Counsel’, and ‘Senior Counsel’ may perform many of the same duties as ‘Of Council’. Most of the large AM firms consider attorneys who are ‘Of Counsel’, as a partner who is getting ready to retire.

Confused? Many law firms define the duties of ‘Of Council’ and ‘Council’ differently, further confusing the roles of these titles.

EQUITY VS NON-EQUITY PARTNERS

Many law firms offer their lawyers equity partnership and non-equity partnership. An equity partner is an owner of a law firm.

Non-equity partners do not have the same job security as equity partners. Most non-equity partners receive a salary instead of partnership distributions. Depending on how the firm is set up you maybe paid by W2 or K1 schedule.

Many partners may take a non-equity position for a while to give them time to build up business for the firm, prior to becoming an equity partner. If equity partners do not bill enough hours, they may be moved over to non-equity positions.

Non-equity partners typically demonstrate ambition and drive to eventually become an equity partner. Their interpersonal skills are strong, they have a great work ethic, and have valuable legal skills—they just aren’t quite at the partner level yet. Non-equity partners do not face financial liability if the firm goes under and do not have full voting rights.

Equity partners are high level performers, they generate business, bill tons of hours, and are more invested in the firm than their non-equity counterparts. Equity partners also have skin in the game. Most firms require equity partners to invest a significant amount of money into the firm.

Equity partners support evaluating attorney, firing, recruiting, and are involved in the strategic direction of the firm.

When the firm offers you a partnership invitation, you must ‘buy in’ as an equity partner. Some firms offer loans to partners who otherwise would not be able to become partner. Typically the factors that impact the ‘buy in’ are:

  • The buy in price for partner is based on the fair market value of the business and the equity of the business case loads, billable hours and future client projections.
  • The shareholders or operating agreement is vital to protecting the employee after becoming a partner in the business. The provisions within the agreement will protect the employee concerning compensation arrangements and distributions to meet the buy in. The agreement also has provisions for exiting the firm either voluntary or involuntary.

COMPENSATION MODELS

Base compensation or salaries are paid out several ways:

  • Salaries are determined by prior year revenue and other contributions.
  • Owners receive no salaries, income is entirely in form of incentive compensation or percentage of profits;

Incentive pay is tied to meeting or exceeding key performance indicators (KPIs) that are aligned with the firm’s strategic goals. KPIs include but not limited to new clients, new revenue generated, total revenue managed, client retention and satisfaction, and developing staff.

The lockstep model is based on tenure at the firm. All equity partners are paid the same scale based on the number years at the firm. Each year pay increases automatically.

This model creates transparency, stability as well as loyalty, by placing emphasis on group achievement and teamwork. A lockstep model provides certainty and benefits from diversifying opportunities and spreading risk. Lockstep does not address system underperforming partners or those who make it rain.

A merit-based system, or modified lockstep enables partners looking to retire to continue to fit within the structure rather as well as reward those who bill more hours.

‘Eat what you kill’ model bases compensation on the revenue that each attorney performance. ‘Eat what you kill’ doesn’t account for referrals and developing the firm’s staging in the community and from within.

LATERAL PARTNER MOVES

Making the lateral partner move gets down to what you bring to the table. Your book of business opens the door and gives you the leverage needed to broker a strong deal.

Negotiating has a lot to do with the who, what, when, where, why and how of the situation.

Follow these practical tips when negotiating from legal mediator Diane Rosen —

  • Distinguish between interests and positions. Positions are wants, interests are needs. The position may be framed as a dollar amount. The need may be respect or acknowledgment.
  • Lead with curiosity. Ask, don’t assume, defer problem solving, ask more questions to reveal the other party’s stated positions.
  • The best negotiations are flexible, with alternative counteroffers and the ability to reorder priorities based on the response from the information. Set goals, but be ready to be open to alternatives not considered.
  • Prepare, and be ready with responses to counter arguments.
  • Respond, never react. When caught off guard, respond with something vague to give you a moment to organize your thoughts. Say something like, ‘that’s interesting, I didn’t consider that’.
  • Silence is golden. Silence can be used to reset the conversation, and change the direction of the negotiation.

Winning is not the end game. Consider maintaining the relationship to keep the door open for negotiations down the road.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Clients That Go Dark: Not Feeling The Love

One of the most annoying things for an attorney applying for a position is going through the process and then hearing nothing from them. Not a phone call, a note, email. You thought the interview went well and then — nothing.

And candidates are going dark as well. You get them in the door, an offer is made and then suddenly they go dark. No return call, no note — silence.

“Whenever you don’t hear back from the client, most likely, somewhere along the line something or someone has dropped the ball” — Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants.

There are many reasons why a client may go dark:

  • Law firms go through very formal processes when bringing on a new attorney and often this process can take a considerable amount of time. Not surprisingly law firms lose a lot of good candidates in the process.
  • Or the firm’s needs have changed overnight. Law firms will “go dark” and simply won’t comment or provide any reason for their decision.
  • Sometimes a better applicant comes along, and the firm has put your application on hold pending the offer given to the better prospect. Timing as they say, is everything.
  • Upon reviewing your application, issues arise that were not disclosed during the interview. Consequently, if you are not straight with your recruiter from the onset, you may run the risk of being shot down for not be more forthcoming.
  • On occasion, the firm reviewed your application and did not make you an offer but want to keep your file open for possible opportunities in the future.
  • If a firm is having internal problems which is a possibility, then you don’t want to work there anyway.

No matter what the reason is, communication is the key. Lack of communication can actually hurt the law firm’s brand. Work with a legal recruiter, they can help keep all the participants in the know.

“Many candidates tell me that when they first started looking for a job fresh out of law school, that some firms treated them poorly during the interviewing process. Many will not work for those firms citing the lack of decency displayed. It’s the rule of 200. Everyone knows 200 people who they will tell or via social media share how they were mis-treated” — Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants.

Don’t go it alone. Looking for the right offer takes time, it takes effort, and you have to realize that it can be at times taxing on your ego.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Uber-Successful Lawyers Don’t Just Survive, They Thrive

This past year has been a game changer for us all. The legal industry to its credit quickly embraced the technology to work through this crisis. Now we are getting ready for the new normal.

Not surprisingly, the best in the biz finds ways to continue to thrive in this highly volatile, chaotic economy.

What do these uber-successful attorneys have in common? How do they succeed when all others fail?

They all have a vision as to what changes are necessary to work through the uncertain terrain. Not all plans are perfect. What sets Uber-successful lawyers apart is that they clearly see what is not working, they quickly assess and adjust, making difficult decisions to realize their goals.

Uber-successful people share these common traits to make it happen in any climate:

1. Perseverance & Resolve

It takes perseverance and resolve. No one said it was going to be easy, you have the mental toughness to work the plan, make adjustments and keep yourself on course. When there are roadblocks, you re-think your options quickly and push on.

2. Agility & Aptitude

Most don’t see it coming, nor do they have the know how needed to steer the ship to stay on course. Uber-successful people make the difficult decisions once they determine what is needed to get past the unexpected challenges.

3. Undivided Moral Compass

There are many ways to get it done. People with integrity see it only one way. You’ve got to do the right thing, tell the truth and trust yourself. Doing what’s right is often difficult, but there is no other way for you.

4. The Fire Within

What sets you apart from your peers is your single-minded obsession with knowing what you want. Most don’t have the clarity of vision that you have. You know what you want, for you it’s game on. For your competitors its game over.

5. Likable & Perceptive

You can relate to others quickly. You understand people and get who they are. You how to approach people, and they like you.

“Work with an advisor and consider what is no longer working and where you need to be. Complacency is the killer, silently sitting on the sidelines is not an option.” — Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Many of us hit a wall during this pandemic.

Uber-successful break through by taking ownership of the situation and take action to get back on course. They don’t make impulsive, ill thought-out decisions. And they don’t dither about, time is money.

There is only one way forward, and that has to be a strategic plan that is consistent with your values. Listen to what others are doing but stay true to thy self. Put the new strategic plan in motion.

Highly successful people know exactly where they are going and what they want. They plan. They anticipate and know that adjustments must be made along the way.

Super successful lawyers are always proactive, not reacting to the next crisis.

A lot of their success is achieved by knowing that firms are a good fit for them. Work for a firm that shares your values and wants you on their team.

Take a hard look at yourself, understand what successful traits you lack and what you need to work on. This is the time to make adjustments. Don’t just survive, take this opportunity to thrive.

About On Balance Search
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.