Billable Hours are Your Best Friend When Negotiating A New Deal

There is nothing so central to a lawyer’s daily life, as the billable hour. This metric wasn’t created for big brother looking over you. Use the billable hour as a powerful tool, remember billing is not the enemy. It’s your salvation.

Billable hours helps improve your time management skills. Focusing on what you are spending your time helps determine where the focus needs to be down the road.

If you aren’t happy with your client base, it may be time to start changing the way you do business. Spending too much time doing pro bono work? You may need to start devoting more time working on client business to generate more billable hours.

Examining your billable hours helps assess your overall profitability. Do the math: if you’re billing out 1900 hours and only getting paid for 1200 hours, you are discounting too much. Firms like a high realization rate, meaning what ever you bill out, you get paid for.

Apply the “One Third Rule” to your billing.

The One Third Rule is a general guideline (each law firm is slightly different) to determine your salary and profitability. The rule states that one third (1/3 ) of the attorney’s gross profit goes to salary; one third (1/3) of the attorney’s book goes to overhead costs; and one third (1/3) of the attorney’s book goes to firm’s profit.

Use this model directionally and make adjustments for your unique situation. By using the one third rule, will determine what your base salary needs to be as well as your compensation.

Technology & Time Management

During the COVID pandemic, many law firms have invested in technology. Beyond remote meetings, technology provides efficiency for attorneys to track billable hours, managing and assembling documents, organizing contracts and legal matters and calendaring.

Technology can also help reduce administrative costs. But most importantly, technology can help better manage time. The investment in technology is well worth the cost. Time saved can easily be devoted to creating more billable work.

Implement Strategies That Maximize Billable Hours
Ways to maximize your law firm’s billable hours.

Breakdown Time In Increments: Ensure that all time spent on legal matters is billed and compensated for. Break it down by five-minute increments.

Record Tasks As You Complete Them: There are several time tracking mobile apps that make it easy to track billable hours. Services must be descriptive and justified. Don’t submit an invoice that doesn’t justify the invoice.

Make Time Tracking Policy: Create a culture that makes tracking billable hours a part of doing business for every member of the firm.

Maximize Productivity: Time spent on nonproductive tasks takes away from billable hours. Purposefully spend time on tasks that are billable.

Limit time each day spent on efforts that are not billable. Delegate less profitable tasks to paralegals or support staff to better manage your time.

Track Billable & Non-Billable Hours: Assess where and how much time each member of the firm devotes on servicing clients. Make necessary changes to maximize efficiencies and tasks for each member of the firm. This will improve time management and at the same time increase profitability.

When the time comes to negotiate a new compensation package, you will be in a better position having restructured how you spend your time. Your earnings will be considerably more, putting in an excellent position to ask for more money when the opportunity presents itself.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Workplace Diversity In Law: Where are we headed?

Diversity in adversity.

Americans with disabilities represents about 20% of the population. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, much has changed. People with disabilities are by law, no longer denied access to jobs, schools or transportation. The COVID crisis has put millions of people out of work.

We’re all hurting right now.

As we turn the page on this pandemic, law firms are beginning to re-think the how business gets done. Although not ideal, many attorneys who can will continue to work from home. And that’s not likely to change any time soon.

No one wants to work in an environment that is unsafe.

“Every challenge — every adversity — contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth. The coronavirus pandemic has created a cultural paradigm shift that has fully embraced technology. I’m always looking for the good in a bad situation. There are real opportunities for candidates with disabilities that firms simply have not considered.” – Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

We are social beings. Working remotely has its challenges. It’s just not the same, we’re less connected.

There is no substitute for face-to-face interactions. From the boardroom to the courtroom, we are all impacted by the spontaneous interactions created from our body language. We all feed off of the buzz from the energy created in the office. You may not see it, but you feel it.

That said, many tasks and routine functions can be done more efficiently, remotely. Flex-jobs offer part-time-schedules with the benefit of working remotely.

Working remotely removes many barriers and obstacles for those with disabilities. Law firms can tap the best applicants who need to tele-commute.

The remote work experience has real benefits for both the employees and employers. For starters it improves work-life balance, it improves the bottom line and for many results in higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction.

Firms are no longer focusing on time spent in the office, but rather outcomes. The guiding principals have not changed, it’s always been about results.

“When placing a candidate, On Balance looks for opportunities regardless of physical or societal obstacles. There are real benefits to sourcing work remotely. Firms experience increased productivity, with less absenteeism and higher employee retention. Less office space is needed, which is a big savings.” – Shari Davidson.

Final Thoughts
Now more than ever, firms need to empower their attorneys by creating a work environment that works for everyone. Communication is critical.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Five Signs Your Firm Will Pass You Over For Partner

Don’t get passed over on the road to partnership.

A partnership at a law firm can seem daunting. Several requisites must be met before one can even be considered, including your billable hours, proper mentorship and the ability to bring in new business. You want to make sure you’re properly qualified so your firm doesn’t pass you over for partner.

So you’re at your firm, working hard and learning a ton. The partnership may seem so close, however, you are competing with fellow colleagues and want to keep your eye on the prize. Don’t lose focus and slip up. To help you get your partnership, here are a five signs you want to steer clear from that will pass you over for partner.

Staying at the same firm you started at.
You may be thinking that staying at the firm you started at throughout all these years demonstrates loyalty. While that may be true, you started there as a young lawyer, most likely straight out of college. The unfortunate scenario here is that your firm will have a preconceived view of you as the kid that started at the firm and may have a very difficult time getting the image of you being the new guy out of their head. No matter how much time you have spent there, you may never rise in the ranks solely because people could never see the old you in the new position.

Back in the days of early law, the Cravath had a philosophy called ‘up or out,’ meaning if you never got promoted or made partner you were forced out of the firm. Modern day philosophy follows an ‘over and up’ model. This means that when you have gained enough experience and confidence in your career, you switch to a different law firm. This new law firm will not have a preconceived view of you as the kid straight out of college but the already successful and skilled lawyer.

I’m not ruling out that the firm you started out at will make you partner, however, “switching while you are hot will make you a much more valuable candidate in the eyes of unbiased partners.” Shari Davidson, President — On Balance Search Consultants

Being a good lawyer but not bringing in business
Being a good lawyer these days is not enough to become partner at your firm. For example, at an equity partnership, you own a small part of the firm when you become partner. The amount you make is part of a bigger pie that all the partners share. If everyone is bringing in a bunch of new business and you are not, then you are selfishly taking your share of your partners’ hard work and not contributing any profit of your own.

You want to give the other partners a reason, other than being good at law, to make you a partner. If you can really make it rain and bring in clients, then the partners won’t be able to resist offering you a partnership position. You also do not need to be a partner to bring it. Although bringing it in as an associate may be a bit more difficult, it will show drive, initiative, and ambition

Billable hours
It’s not that complicated, it’s all about making it rain. Don’t’ just show up for work, listen, learn make it happen. Show me the money!

Working exclusively for one partner, or mentor
In this case, you should think of it as a, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” approach. When working for a partner and trying to meet your billable hours, it may seem easier to just pick one partner to work for. However, think of the scenario which may be ‘worst-case,’ but isn’t too far out there either. Imagine you’re well into your years at a firm and you’re confident the partner you’re working for will help you get chosen as a new partner, then suddenly, that partner leaves the firm. You are now left with nobody to vouch for you and a lot of hours that need to be filled with work.

Having a second partner you do work for can prevent this from happening. Try not to choose only one partner to develop a good relationship with because an unfortunate departure of you partner can significantly hurt your chances at succeeding in your path to partner. If, for some unfortunate reason, you are stuck in this situation, remember the ‘over and up’ philosophy we spoke about above. If you think getting a new mentor at your firm may not happen, you can always bring your expertise to another firm where you could possibly be viewed as a stronger candidate.

Not being involved in professional panels or professional groups
Get involved with professional panels and groups that align well with your person and professional goals.

This exposure deepens your stand in the community and adds value to your position at your firm.
The new relationship serve as an excellent resource for referrals and generate new clients.
Becoming partner may seem daunting but it is definitely not impossible.. Ultimately, lending your expertise to these organizations strengthens your path to partner at the firm. Good luck in your journey

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Changing the Landscape of Diversity, Inclusion & the Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

Changing the Landscape of Diversity, Inclusion & the Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

Complimentary Seminar Open to the Public
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 

This seminar will include an examination of the disproportionate statistics of women and minorities in partner positions at law firms, provide an analysis of the key impediments that have affected women and minorities from advancing and discuss how litigation has been used as a tool not only to combat discrimination, but also as leverage to drive diversity and inclusion efforts. Julia and Keith will also highlight practices that attorneys and law firms can adopt to increase diversity and inclusion efforts, both internally and externally, to help change the face of the legal profession.

Speaker:

Julia Gavrilov, Esq. and Keith Frank, Esq.
of Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP

Location: Online Seminar

Time:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021  | 1:00pm-2:00pm Seminar

Accreditation: National Academy of Continuing Legal Education

CLE Credits:

1.0 Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias – this program is transitional and non-transitional

Sponsored By:

  • Ultimate Abstract of New York
  • EPIC Insurance Brokers
  • On Balance Search Consultants
  • Pedersen & Sons Surety Bond Agency

R.S.V.P. on the Form Below

Not All Partners Are Created Equal: A look at Partner Compensation.

This white paper is only intended to be a guide. Each law firm is unique when it comes to compensation and organizational chart. This subject is very complex with many moving parts. No law firm’s compensation models are the same. Each law firm compensates their partners and staff based on their strategic goals and organizational structure.

Not All Partners Are Created Equal

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

EQUITY VS NON-EQUITY PARTNERS

There are two main types of partnerships within a law firm, Equity and Non-Equity. The main difference between Equity and Non-Equity is that Equity Partners take the most risk and for doing so, get the most rewards. This typically creates a two-tier compensation system for partners.

Equity Partners, lead the firm into the future. They have full voting right which include but not limited to evaluating attorneys, firing, recruiting, and strategic direction of the firm.

Many law firms offer their attorneys Equity partnership and Non-Equity partnerships. An Equity Partner is an owner of a law firm. Looking from the outside, you may not be able to know who an Equity Partner or, who is not. Sometimes, law firms will differentiate by title (see below on firm titles and what they mean).

Non-Equity Partners do not have the same job security as Equity Partners.

  • Non-Equity Partners have more flexibility to where and how they want to work.
  • Most Non-Equity Partners receive a salary instead of partnership distributions.
  • Non-Equity maybe paid by W2 vs. Equity Partners are paid by a Scheduled K-1.
  • Both Equity and Non-Equity attorneys can receive a base salary or draw with bonus. Again, this depends on the firm.

There are two ways an attorney can be invited to be an Equity Partner.

  • Buy in— Each firm has a different buy-value. It depends upon, the overall value of the firm, over-head etc. Some firms will offer an attractive loan for an Equity Partner to finance the buy in. Each law firm determines how the buy-in and buy-outs are structured. The terms are included in the shareholders agreement.
  • Sweat Equity— It’s just that. How much effort and business the attorney brings to the table. The value is determined by the attorney’s practice, originations, and leadership within and outside of the law firm.

Typically shares or percentage points are awarded based on the lawyers contributions to the firm’s bottom line. This compensation is clearly defined in the firm’s bylaws.

Both Equity and Non-Equity Partners demonstrate many similar traits. Partners typically demonstrate ambition & drive, interpersonal skills, strong work ethic and leadership skills.

What’s in the Title? What is it worth and what does it mean? 

Equity Partners / Member / Shareholder / Executive Partner —-
Essentially these titles indicate that you own a percentage of the firm’s earnings. Many firms may not identify an Equity Partner by title. In large firms, an Equity Partner maybe forced to retire early or take a step down in title and position. Since the new 70 years young is now considered the old 50 years young, the older attorneys are leaving the large firms to continue to practice in smaller firms.

Non-Equity / Income / Contract Partners
Non-Equity attorneys usually do not bring enough business to the table necessary to be an Equity Partner. It is easier and less complicated for Non-Equity Partners to move to another firm. Equity Partners and Named Partner (Partners name on the firms door) have been known to move to other firms. Many attorneys may laterally move to another firm taking their book of business to become an income partner.

Law firms are very careful who they ask to marry, it’s all about your ability to make it rain.

Managing Partner (CEO)
A managing partner can be an equity partner, income partner, staff partner and sometimes a senior associate.

Staff Partner
This title is given to those lawyers who have the expertise but don’t have a book of business. A Staff Partner can charge Partner billing rates.

Clients prefer working with any partner of the firm as they take comfort knowing they have an experienced attorney advising them, not an associate.

Of Counsel vs Counsel (Also, includes Special Counsel and Sr Counsel)
Yes, this is very confusing. Again, each firm view and defines titles and compensation differently. One firm’s title and compensation may be very different from another firms.

The Bar Association provides guidelines regarding titles. The information is directional at best, as each firm interprets the guidelines differently to suit their needs.

Generally, Of Counsel is an attorney who is employed by a firm but not as an associate or partner. Some use this term for those who are associated with the firm but are not employed with the firm.

Often the designee is a former judge or government official transitioning to private practice, or an attorney that is not an associate or at partner level, or an attorney is getting ready for retirement.

COMPENSATION MODELS
There are two types of compensation approaches. Closed and Open.

  • A Closed compensation model means it is a mystery to everyone except the compensation committee as to how much each attorney makes.
  • An open compensation model is transparent, all are able to review how the partners are compensated.

Compensation models can be a hybrid system as there are benefits to both models. When creating a compensation model take into account the firm’s:

  • Size.
  • Type (regional, boutique, middle market, virtual law firms to top AM200).
  • And approach: how they bill their clients (contingency vs retained or hybrid).

Each category can have numerous subsets of how they are going to compensation the partners.

Every firm designs how they want to compensate their attorneys. One approach is using the Formulaic Approach which accounts for:

  • Client originations— how much work one did on the case, billable hours, non-billable hours.
  • Administrative and managerial duties.
  • Leadership, marketing, mentoring etc.

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 equates to pay increases automatically. This is seen in many of the top AM Law firms.

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. This is seen in some of the AM law, although mainly seen in smaller firms.

The ‘Eat What You Kill’ model bases compensation on the revenue that each attorney performance. ‘Eat what you kill’ doesn’t’t account for referrals and developing the firm’s standing in the community and from within. Many smaller firms use this model, some AM laws and virtual law firms also use this model.

Here too, maybe a hybrid of all the above.

Rule of Thirds or the One-Thirds Rule

This is a quick down and dirty way to calculate what a Partners book is worth and the base draw/salary they will receive. Bonus and origination credit percentages can be formulaic or negotiated.

This is how the Rule of Thirds works:

  • 1/3 of the attorney’s book goes to salary.
  • 1/3 of the attorney’s book goes to overhead.
  • 1/3 of the attorney’s book goes to profit.

Again, this is just a guideline. Virtual law firms may pay the attorney up to 80% of their book of business. Some smaller firms may pay the attorney 40% or higher for new business. The Rule of Thirds only looks at origination credit not the intangibles that the attorney brings to the table.

Partner compensation is very complex and is different, varying from firm to firm. Billable hours are your friend. This is a wonderful way to measure your success in hard numbers. But there are several other factors that line your pockets.

Each firm has a list of criteria that they use to measure your contributions for compensation. The criteria may account for the size of the firm as well as the book of business you bring to the table and your leadership.

An attorney that wants to be promoted in their firm needs to know what targets they should be aiming for. Talk to the executive compensation committee and find out what is important to your firm.

If you are seeking to make a lateral move. Know the law firm practice inside and out. Who are your clients, what has been your originations for the last three years. Have a marketing plan ready. Get all information you need for the lateral partner questionnaire (LPQ).

Watch out for the next white paper in making a transition.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

New Law: Firms Offer Attractive Compensation for Going Virtual

During this pandemic the legal industry has pivoted to working remotely, embracing and investing in technology to Zoom with clients and co-workers. Most agree that remote and flexible work arrangements will continue for lawyers for years to come.

Virtual law firms have been around from years, but now there are many lawyers who have adjusted to working remotely and like the flexibility and lifestyle benefits it offers. The other attractive benefit work working for a virtual firm is the compensation. Without the overhead of an expensive office building and all the costs associated with real estate.

For a partner working for a traditional brick and mortar firm, a third of their book of business pays their salary, a third of the profit goes directly to the firm and the last third pays for the overhead to cover the rent, lights and utilities.

Virtual law firms pay partners up to 70 to 80%, of their book. Virtual law firms provide unique compensation structure that ultimately makes more money for the rainmaker than a traditional law firm.

Virtual firms have helped many senior partners at AmLaw firms overcome fears of making the move to the digital world leaving behind all the politics and the 9 to 5 world. Virtual firms benefit from being able to bring on top talent who prefers working remotely.

There are risks in joining a virtual firm. It’s all about your ability to bring in new business. Most find it difficult to create a sense of team online and networking in the virtual space has its limitations. Not everyone is well suited to work online, they have difficulty with new technologies, and many simply do better business face-to-face.

As we get past this pandemic the ‘New Law’ firm is here to stay. Law firms will offer a hybrid model of remote and in office work schedules. There are real savings that can’t be ignored from meeting remotely. Time and money rule the new normal.

Virtual firms are embracing cutting edge artificial intelligence to mange the process of law more efficiently and intelligently. No matter where law is practiced, technology is truly an investment that gives firms a competitive edge.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


COVID Crisis Law Jobs: Don’t Just Put Yourself Out There

Why did you put yourself on the market in the first place? Were you were passed over for a promotion? Or you just don’t fit in? Does the money change things? Will the issues of the past continue to be a problem?

During this pandemic … 
Don’t just put your toe in the water. Law school doesn’t prepare you for how to manage your career. They don’t teach you how to strategically position yourself in an ever-changing marketplace.

“Do your research. Dig into the company’s financial health to assess job security. Look at where its funding comes from, and make sure the projects you’ll be working on seem stable. Don’t lose sight of the long-term. Remember your career goals. Will this help you get there? Is the opportunity likely to come up again in the months to come?”

Rachel Feintzeig, Work Life Balance writer for the Wall Street Journal, Do You Dare Switch Jobs in the Coronavirus Economy.

Should I stay or should I go? 

Layoffs were commonplace in the legal industry during the Great Recession. For now, large firms are opting to cut pay, reduce hours, and furlough lawyers. Law firms specializing in family, housing, and criminal law have been hardest hit due to local government offices being closed. Many firms are asking for more lateral associates and staff.

Counteroffers are up. 

Interviewing and getting offers is not the way to negotiate a better compensation package. It’s a career killer. What you don’t want to do is create an environment of mistrust. You don’t want to put your career in jeopardy.

Your reputation at the firm will never be the same. There will always be a question of your loyalty. They simply will not trust you anymore.

“In my over twenty years as a legal recruiter, accepting the counteroffer results in being pushed out the door 85 to 90% of the time. The candidate is either let go for someone less expensive, or the promises made did not pan out. About 3- 6 months after the counteroffer is accepted, I get a call.” – Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Accepting a counteroffer is likely to damage your relationship with your current firm. Think about it, you just told your firm you are leaving and are now only staying because they threw some money at you.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Come Out of the COVID-19 Crisis with New Opportunities

Our lives have been turned inside out by this deadly coronavirus. Losing your head in a crisis is a good way to become the crisis.

Don’t let COVID-19 derail your career goals. There’s always an opportunity with crisis.

“It’s crazy out there right now and the near future looks pretty scary. Let’s take this time to come out of this crisis with new opportunities and options for your career. Put yourself in a position to take advantage of this situation as we kick start this new wild ride into the next decade.” — Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants.

Sometimes we all need a crisis in our lives to kickstart our goals in life:

Anticipate. Think ahead. What obstacles do you foresee in the near future?

Relationships. Relationships change over time, consider severing ties or at least distancing yourself from those who aren’t making a positive difference in your career.

What is your emotional investment? Is the work you are doing challenging? Are you content or complacent? Are you happy? Don’t become disengaged and disillusioned.

Take Action. Find a legal recruiter who has a track record of success but more importantly has a solid reputation for integrity.

  • Assess your firm’s workplace culture, policies, practices, benefits, etc.
  • Are your career needs and wants defined according to your goals?
  • Evaluate your worth at the firm and assess if the best options are putting your skills out there to secure a better position at a new law firm.

This is a crippling time of uncertainty. Fear and paranoia are pervasive right now. Change your mindset, don’t view this crisis as a paralyzing event. Spend this time wisely and focus on where you can move into a new opportunity that is perfect for you.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Smart Rainmakers Just Don’t Network at the Bar Association

Time is simply something none of us have. Therefore, you need to work smart. The sum total of your efforts must bring in new business. Make sure you are connecting with the right people, who can help you. Constantly assess what is working, and what is not.

Organizations are a great way to build new relationships that can bring in new business. An obvious choice is the Bar Association. “As a legal recruiter, I cringe every time when I hear this. Is the only place you are networking? Why you ask? Why would you put yourself in the mix with your peers to slug it out to win new business when you can find more fulfilling and better ways to make it rain?” — Shari Davidson, On Balance Search Consultants.

How do you choose a group? What is your practice area and who are your clients? Ask yourself where and who you should network with before you join a group.

Follow these steps to ensure you pick the right group:

I. CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS VALUES

A great place to start is your mission statement. Don’t have a business plan? Get one. Clarifying your mission will help you see the natural connection between your organization and a potential new partner.

II. DETERMINE THE CRITERIA FOR THE POTENTIAL NEW GROUP

Consider criteria such as the size of the organization, the age of the organization and whether the type of group:

Non-Compete Groups

Referral groups like BNI and Gotham offer non-compete exclusivity. Being the only lawyer in the group can be advantageous. But don’t just jump in, consider who is in the group first? If the group is a bunch of Mary Kay Representatives or Landscapers, this may not be a good source of new business for you.

Professional Groups 

Consider partnering with other trusted providers such as Attorney Accountant Networking Groups (AANG). These groups, as well as CPA and Insurance firms, Architects, Engineers, and yes, Bar Associations may have sub committees that don’t only have attorneys in them. Like, WE CARE Fund, (the nationally recognized charitable arm of the Nassau County Bar Association) may also generate a steady stream of new clients.

Hybrid Groups

USA 500 club is a professional networking group of attorneys’, CPA’s and trusted advisors who sit at the Board table of corporations. Join this group.

Industry Associations 

What are the new trends in legal work? Get creative. Research associations that match up with your practice area of law. Consider women’s groups or new burgeoning fields such as cybersecurity. Consider verticals that require your expertise. Build-outs in construction need attorneys well versed in mapping out the legal commercial legalese for everything from airports, dams and tunnels. Other verticals to consider are hotels, restaurants, strip malls or sports complexes. Your competitors are not going to be working these niche industries. Stand out and become the leading authority in these fields of law.

Personal Social Groups

Let your interests and passions guide you. Perhaps you are an avid bowler, cyclist or runner. Do you have a passion for art, history, or horses? These networks may prove to be a major new source of business. Political organizations can be a good place, just remember this can also backfire. Let’s face it, everything is political. Steer clear of politics.

Charitable Organizations 

Shari Davidson, ” As a member of the American Heart Association Charitable Estates Committee, I routinely interface with attorneys, CPA’s, insurance agents and many other trusted advisors on the council. Groups like this are a great place to align your brand or firm, and can be a fulfilling experience leading to forging new friendships and new business.”

There are so many reasons why you should put yourself within a powerful network that has, “the resources, tools, and experience to help the professional community … creating an impactful win-win for all.” said Ed Rodbro, Sr. Advisor Charitable Estate Planning for the American Heart Association.

Start building strong relationships and establish yourself as an expert in your field of law. Working with a charity can become a fulfilling way to further the mission of your organization while helping your community.

III. SELECT AN ORGANIZATION WHOSE VALUES ARE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR OWN

Ask yourself if you like the organization’s board members? Do you feel comfortable working with them? If an organization makes you feel uneasy, then trust your gut. Move on.

Don’t waste time and money getting to know a group that can’t help you. Look at the metrics, trends, and risk mitigation when assessing where to source new business. There is more to networking than securing the mailing list from the business chamber.

Nurturing relationships takes time, set yourself up for success. Get to know one or two contacts at an event. Don’t try and get everyone’s business card. Take an interest in who you meet, learn more about what they do, what’s important to them and make sure you remember them. Invariably you’re going to meet up with that person again. Leverage these new relationships.

Keep a small notepad with you or use an app on your smartphone to take notes. Ideas will pop into your head when chatting with a friend or networking at an event. Write it down, that way you won’t forget. You are a resource and expert in your field, you often are asked for your assessment and opinion on an issue. Make a note. You are now well on your way to penning that new article or writing a that book you’ve been talking about.

Once you’ve selected the right groups to network with, you’ve got to make the most of your time to bring in the business.

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Collaborate With Powerful Professionals To Grow Your Book Of Business

You’ve got to network with the right group of people, who can help grow your business. Once you’ve selected the right groups to network with, you’ve got to make the most of your time.

Now that you’ve decided on the organizations you will network with, let’s talk about how to best leverage these powerful new connections. Be honest about your skill set. You have got to bring it when you’re out there networking. Better be prepared.

Consistently work on improving your skill set and at the same time get out there to further new relationships:

  1. Actively listen to your network by being more emotionally intelligent.
  2. Measure up. Understand who is your audience and what moves them.
  3. Follow the money. Assess the relationship’s potential for success. Will this connection lead to new leads or help you achieve your business goals? If not, move on! And be polite. You never know if that relationship may one day turn into a big payday.
  4. Nurture the relationship. How can you help them with their business or on a personal level?
  5. Prioritize. Determine which relationships have the potential to yield more business. Spend more time with those who will bring in the most business. Reciprocal relationships tend to the most profitable. Continuously look for new ways look for ways to further existing relationships that make money.

“There is nothing better than face-to-face networking. Having said that, integrating social media networking into your game plan, helps save time and can make meetings so much more successful,” said Shari Davidson. LinkedIn is a great digital channel to research and connect with other professionals.

  • Establish yourself as an authority in your chosen field and create credibility as a leader in the category, by regularly blogging.
  • Research new business prospects and your competition.
  • Follow companies and industry leaders.
  • Join powerful LinkedIn groups and start nurturing new relationships.

Mind Your Manners 

Think about what you’re saying. Never post anything that you cannot defend or that may be potentially damaging to your reputation. And don’t just post about things that no one gives a hoot about.

Substance and style. Less is typically more. On or off-line, carefully craft and curate your content. It’s not how much you post or share. It’s all about creating a substantive conversation with your core stakeholders. Be smart, savvy and strategic about what you say and who you talk to.

Actions speak louder than words. 

There are ways that things get done, and there are simply things one should never say or do.

Know the do’s and don’ts . . . 

  • Arrive on time.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • While networking never eat or drink alone and don’t order before your guest arrives.
  • Provide your mobile phone to keep in contact leading up to meet-ups.
  • Remember to thank people for taking the time, for offering their insights and for returning your phone calls.
  • Never “slam” your competitors, instead keep the conversation positive and focused on furthering the relationship.
  • Let them do the talking, listen and thoughtfully contribute to the conversation. Less is more.

And never, never, never, have more than two drinks. Many professionals don’t drink at all. Eat before you go to a party or networking event. Most of the time the food is either detrimental to your diet plan, or you’ll be spending precious time waiting to get some food.

Make the most of your time and start building that powerful network that will bring in more business. Make it rain!

About: On Balance Search Consultants

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 516.731.4300 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 and any legal restrictions regarding the law.