Solos, Small Firms … AM Law Practice Leaders: What Does Retirement Look Like?

AM Law Practice Leaders: What Does Your Retirement Look Like?

Retirement . . .  are you kicking back and enjoying your grandchildren? Are you sitting by the pool or playing golf? What is on your bucket list? Skydiving! Are you looking to ease into retirement now? Considering a firm with more than one location. Live in NYC but want to spend time in Florida?

“Begin with the end in mind” – Steven Covey author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Imagine your goals. For decades you’ve been grinding it out, busy kicking ass and suddenly you realize that you’re not prepared for retirement. Let’s face it, you’re not getting any younger. Don’t let another day go bye.

The time to start thinking about retirement is NOW. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Is your firm’s lease coming due and you need to renew it? Is the firm aging and there is no one to take over?

For years you’ve been bringing on associates, but you haven’t made time to train anyone to take over the practice. It should come as no surprise that senior Big Law partners find it difficult transferring power to the next generation. Now what do the associates do? Join another firm.? Thinking of joining another firm, you’ve got a friend over there who might be able to get you in? Your colleagues may not know how to tell you they are not interested in your practice area.

Don’t make any hasty decisions just because you suddenly realize that you are not set up for retirement yet. You’ve invested years building your client base, don’t put these relationships at risk. Work with an intermediary such as a recruiter. A good recruiter can open doors for you, put you in touch with the right people and help you negotiate the best deal for you.

You have got to put systems into place to ensure the transition is seamless. Work with a strategic advisor who specializes in succession planning. Keep all your relationships intact. Take time to build a succession plan that protects your client’s interests and secures your financial future.

Life happens, FAST. What are your options?

  1. Stay at your desk till you die.
  2. Close shop and walk away.
  3. Monetize your book of business.

In today’s world of mergers and acquisitions, what happens to you as a senior attorney? The AM law firms are notorious for marginalizing senior staff forcing them into retirement. Equity partnerships may dissolve. Are you working for a firm and you are not sure if your pension plan is fully funded? Do you stick it out and hope for the best?

A smooth transition of ownership starts with smart strategic decisions. Proper succession planning calls for careful consideration and preparation. While it may be difficult to entertain the thought of leaving, unexpected circumstances can force you to make that decision early.

It’s never too soon to outline a succession plan. Most lawyers are not prepared for their exit. They believe succession is still far away in the future. Many are in denial, and simply will not even think about a transition of ownership.

“A succession plan ensures that clients are taken care of and that no money is left on the table. You are able to exit under fair circumstances.” — Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants.

Maybe you still enjoy working but need to make time for those plans that have been put off until now. Your retirement must be supported by a sound strategy. Start with a clear idea of your destination and start taking steps to set your course in that direction.

 

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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.

How Women Lawyers Overcome The Confidence Gap

How Women Lawyers Overcome The Confidence Gap

Law firms are hungry for the 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.

Law remains an industry dominated by white men. The truth is that for women, there is money out there for those who know where to look. At the best law firms for women, half of associates and more than a third of partners are women. And more than one-fifth of equity partners are women (Working Mother, August/September 2018).

Frustration, disappointment, denial, and fear.
Lawyers are by nature risk-averse, but there has never been a better time to make the move to a new firm. Now is the time to get equitable compensation due to the gender pay inequality.

Women tend to undervalue their portfolio and opt to stick it out rather than see what they command in the marketplace. Often candidates undervalue their assets and poorly articulate their worth. “Ask yourself if you are in line as successor to the firm? How transparent is compensation at your firm? Are you working actively to build your book of business?” – says Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Work with a legal recruiter to take a realistic, comprehensive snapshot of your body of work including:

  • The specific level of your client contacts.
  • The length of your relationships with important clients and partners.
  • The significance of the cases handled and the outcomes. Quantify the results.
  • And how many other people share credit for your success stories.

Walk the walk, talk the talk.

  • Focus on the strengths you possess and your achievements.
  • Don’t be a Debbie Downer, never look at any situation negatively. Be positive.
  • Radiate optimism and bring a vibrant positive can-do attitude to the table.
  • People are attracted to winners, walk the walk and dress for success.
  • It’s a confidence game. Transmit a feeling of confidence to others.
  • What you say and how you say it translates. Talk the talk.
  • Confident individuals use communication practices that convey certainty with others while also making them feel more confident about themselves.

Don’t limit yourself, stop making excuses for why things are not going your way. Don’t drag yourself down. Read Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: What Your Resume Must Do and Don’t.

 

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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.

 

 

Trends in Law 2019: The Era of Legal Tech

Hot Practice Areas, Hiring Trends, and New Opportunities

2018 was a very good year, in fact the lion’s share of Am Law 200 firms offered pay increases across the board. The 2019 legal job market this year continues to be strong and as we head into summer things should begin to heat up.

Capitalize on these top markets and new legal trends as opportunities present themselves for those who offer the right skills set for these jobs.

LATERAL MOVES BY PRACTICE AREA

Source: Firm Prospects LLC (December 2018 – March 2019)

Lateral Moves By Practice Area 2019

As was the case in 2018 Litigation and Corporate continue to dominate the legal field with Labor & Employment and Intellectual Property rounding out the biggest slices of the lateral moves for first quarter of this year. Litigation will be the top driver of legal job growth in the first half of 2019, then followed by Privacy, Data Security and Information Law.

Commercial litigation is expected to yield the most legal jobs followed by insurance defense, followed by employment law. Key industry sectors include financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and technology. Other practice areas in demand include securities and corporate governance, privacy and data security, commercial law as well as ethics and corporate governance.

Firms Attorneys Made Lateral Moves To

Source: Firm Prospects LLC (December 2018 – March 2019)


The following firms were most active in major markets this year: 

  • Atlanta: King & Spalding – 11 hires
  • Boston: Goodwin – 29 hires
  • Chicago: Kirkland & Ellis – 31 hires
  • Dallas: Kirkland & Ellis – 18 hires
  • Denver: Perkins Coie and Greenberg Traurig – 8 hires
  • Houston: Kirkland & Ellis – 36 hires
  • Los Angeles: Kirkland & Ellis and Loeb & Loeb – 15 hires
  • Miami: Holland & Knight – 8 hires
  • New York: Kirkland & Ellis – 46 hires
  • Orange County, CA: Morgan Lewis – 10 hires
  • Philadelphia: Morgan Lewis – 14 hires
  • San Diego: Sheppard Mullin – 6 hires
  • San Francisco: Wilson Sonsini – 16 hires
  • Seattle: Perkins Coie – 13 hires
  • Silicon Valley: Wilson Sonsini – 16 hires
  • Washington D.C.: Paul Hastings and Wilson Sonsini – 15 hires

Industry trends affecting mid-sized to large law firms report a greater focus on cybersecurity, continued lateral acquisitions and cost-effective specialization. Legal issues surrounding blockchain technology are creating an increased demand for attorneys who specialize in cyber security fueled by expanding security and privacy regulations as well as heightened security measures.

Another emerging trend is cannabis legalization.  Cannabis is the newest regulated industry now legal in over half the states) necessitating sound legal advice in interpreting the new federal enforcement policies, protections as anticipated cases emerge from this new controlled substance.

Lawyers are not just out for more money. Millennials often seek out work that is meaningful and offers a healthy work-life balance. “New emerging trends in law offer attorneys parental leave as well as remote work arrangements. Many firms offer incentives to lure top talent including flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities and company perks such as dry cleaning on-site, a fitness center and childcare.” – Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Candidates must present value propositions that can best address firm’s growing specialized legal need for risk mitigation. Ready to make the lateral partner move? You’ll need to clearly detail how you got to where you are and why the you’re the best.

Working with a local legal recruiter can benefit your job search in several ways. Have you valued your book of business? Detail how much revenue each client contributes and what verticals have historically been most profitable.

Lawyers are inherently risk-averse. Those who don’t adapt to change are going to be left behind.

 

 

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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.

CLE: Top Estate, Income Tax & Long-Term Care Planning Issues for 2019 and Beyond

Long Island Annual Invitational Conference on Estate Planning and Administration

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Nassau County Bar Association
15th & West Streets
Mineola, NY 11501
This is a complimentary program for all credits. regardless of number or type of credit.
For more information or to register, please visit: www.heart.org/longislandestateconference
Or contact Alison Sewell, 212 – 878 – 5923
alison.sewell@heart.org
2019 Estate Planning & Administrative Conference 2019

CLE: Powers of Attorney, Guardianship & Medicaid Planning Via The Use Of Promissory Notes & Gifts

April 10.2019 – Powers of Attorney, Guardianships and Medicaid Planning via the use of Promissory Notes and Gifts

April 10.2019 - Powers of Attorney, Guardianships and Medicaid Planning via the use of Promissory Notes and Gifts

 

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: The Video Interview, Pause-Rewind-Reset

Live or recorded, video interviewing has arrived.

In person and more so on video, you have got to prepare for your interviews. Hand movement gestures including, touching your hair and face and tapping your fingers or feet are not a good idea.

“We prepare our candidates for the in-person and video interview,” Shari Davidson – President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

Follow these steps to ace the video interview:

Dress appropriately. Treat the video interview like you would an in-person interview.

  • Do not wear white (shirts, blouses or jackets) as white way too bright and distracting.
  • Avoid wearing pure black as this can cause your face to wash out a bit due to overexposure. And super-bright colors (reds, yellows, pinks, etc.) can give your skin a slight reddish, unnatural tint on camera.
  • Men, do not wear pinstripes, hound’s-tooth, herringbone, or anything that has a busy pattern. As the camera tends to distort images.
  • Softer, solid colors will work great. A dark, deep blue is one of the best options. Avoid any high contrast between two colors, as it won’t do well on camera.
  • Make sure your nose and forehead are not too to shiny. Men can apply some cream and women apply makeup not to appear too pale.
  • And if you wear glasses, make sure they are glare-proof and that we can see your eyes. If you have contacts, this might be a good time to use them.

Some video interviews are Skyped live and some only give you one shot at the video recording. Make sure you prepare. “It is so important to get the video interview right. Remember, in this new digital world your video lives in perpetuity. Be sure you make it great,” says Shari Davidson.

Preparation

  • Find quiet place to record your video.
  • Set up a neutral backdrop (at least 2 feet behind you to limit back shadow).
  • Set up the camera so that the angle is eye-level and about one to two feet from you when recording.
  • Look into the camera – not the screen. Looking at the screen may distract you.
  • Have lights placed about 2.5 – 3.5 feet on either side of you and at least the same height as the camera while recording. This helps achieve even lighting across your face to diminish shadow and wrinkles.
  • When preparing, adjust the camera angle, sound and lighting as needed.

Practice

  • Practice in front of the camera by rehearsing your responses to interview questions. Don’t stammer, stutter, pause or start saying “uh-huh” or “like” or “um”.
  • Keep your answers short and get right to the point, you will have a limited amount of time to respond.

The Interview

  • Many people find being in front of the camera to be distracting. Make sure you are comfortable, calm, cool and convey confidence during the video.
  • Project a nice, smooth, natural gaze.
  • A good rule is to not sustain eye-contact for longer than 5 seconds at a time. Then break eye-contact, look away briefly, breathe, then reconnect.
  • Try having a friend sit behind the camera. Don’t to at the camera but to your friend. This will give your video that authentic personal touch. And help set you apart from the competition.
  • Smile, but not too much. Come across as friendly and personable. And don’t grin.
  • Posture conveys confidence. Sit upright in your chair and keep your back straight.
  • Face directly into the camera and don’t show too much of a side angle.
  • Find a comfortable balance between leaning far forward and reclining too farback. Also adjust your chair to make sure you’re not too low or high in the frame.

Final Thoughts

Before going live, schedule a test video interview with a friend. Then critique your performance. Be sure to have your resume, job description, and your notes handy so you can refer to them between questions. And have a water bottle close by should you need to stay hydrated.

Good luck on nailing your next video interview!

 

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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 unique circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Succession Planning – When Do You Plan To Leave?

Some small law firms may have chosen a successor. Most have not. Nor have they written a succession plan. Partners spend the majority of their time growing their practice.

“It’s never easy to think about how an unforeseen event can impact the practice. Anticipating the future is challenging for most of us. Ask yourself, ‘when do you plan to leave?’”, says Shari Davidson – President of On Balance Search.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

“Many of us get stuck, doing the same stuff day after day. It’s Groundhog Day! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Many of the rainmakers of small firms don’t think about retiring. Now in their 60’s many rainmakers have created a strong legal practice. Suddenly, they wake up, and realize there is no one who can take over the firm. Don’t get me wrong in today’s business world being 60 is the new ‘middle age’. But, now what do you do?  Hire a young candidate to take over? It will take years to train your successor and there is no guarantee that it’s going to work out.  Okay why not merge the practice or simply close shop. Don’t wait until life circumstances make the decisions for you.”, says Shari Davidson.

Break the cycle and put an end to Groundhog Day. Unlock your potential with an accurate business valuation. Gain insights from industry experts on how valuation affects exit strategies, retirement, and the unique dynamics that your law firm faces.

An attorney who is 40 or 50 years old and plans to stay on the job for many more years may not see the need for a succession plan. Older partners may be reluctant to think about retirement. They may believe that grooming a successor makes them vulnerable to being replaced. Or that failure to plan for a successor provides job security.

Get started and put a succession plan in motion. Think of succession planning as an ongoing process.

  • Begin to start developing your firm’s future leaders.
  • Plan to replace departing staff members with minimal disruption.
  • Deepen your organization’s leadership capacity, positioning the firm for growth.
  • Require your team to formulate their future plans, knowing that they are not committing to specific dates.

Building a sustainable and growing succession plan can feel overwhelming, you may have feelings of being pushed out.  You’re not bowing out early, it is about building value. Building a foundation of success today that will provide the opportunity for the future generations. Done right, and you’ll have the retirement of your dreams.

Talk to a legal counselor to guide you. Work with a legal advisor who can give you a comprehensive understanding of the succession planning process and how you can increase the value of your practice and position yourself for success tomorrow.

  1. Set goals. Identify what you want to get out of the practice and what you want the business to be when you’re gone.
  2. Identify the critical issues that impact succession.
  3. Transition to your next path in your career. Read, Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Succession Planning for Solos and Small Firms.

Change is a fact of life — no matter how well you plan ahead there may be some unexpected challenges. Have a contingency plan for your primary succession plan.

 

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Don’t Go Around Me

Okay you’re putting yourself back on the market and you’re considering working with a legal recruiter. You need to work with a top legal recruiter who has an excellent reputation and a track record of placing candidates with firms that last.

Getting the most out of the relationship. “We place candidates with firms to ensure a good fit. Bringing on a new hire is costly, time consuming and impacts everyone’s reputation. We make sure to get it right,” – Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

Clients and candidates both have preferences that must be managed discretely. When working with a recruiter be honest. Read, Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Don’t Lie to me.

“Don’t go around your recruiter. Great care is given to ensure that the interests of all parties are a priority. Don’t go off and start talking to a firm or another recruiter in the middle of a placement. Doing so only derails the prospect of being considered, not to mention puts everyone’s credibility at risk”, says Shari Davidson.

There are several key considerations to look for when working with a legal recruiter:

Reputation
Most attorneys are by nature risk-averse. They are naturally skeptical. Work with a recruiter who you have a high level of confidence in. The top recruiters are engaged, they stay in constant contact with you and make things happen.

“My candidates become clients for the long haul. We keep in touch over the years to make sure things are going well and offer insights to help guide them through their career to make sure they stay on track”, says Shari Davidson.

Recruiters are guided by and disciplined by the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (“NALSC”) code of ethics (http://www.nalsc.org/about/ethics.cfm). Do your due diligence and research a recruiter’s reputation.

A good recruiter has your back and would never . . .

  • Place you with a firm where people leave all the time.
  • Present you to a firm that has a “bad reputation” on the street.
  • Or recommend you to a firm about which has poor morale.

Business Intelligence Network
Good recruiters stay on top of what’s going on in the industry and keep in constant communication with firms that they have strong relationships with and candidates they work with.

The best recruiters are nurturing and building new relationships to keep their candidates well advised. A good network produces opportunities that are not publicly posted.

Coaching, Positioning & Negotiating
One of the first questions a recruiter is going to ask you is why are you looking? Why do you want to leave now?

The best recruiter’s coach you before presenting the candidate to a firm. No one’s background is perfect, everyone can benefit from having their accomplishments reviewed to ensure they are a good fit for the right firm.

Putting together a compelling resume can make a big difference. The best recruiters work with you to ensure your resume reads well and doesn’t create any red flags.

Your recruiter should ask you for a Representative Matters or Transactional Deal Sheet. A deal sheet is an important tool to help quantify your value when you ask for a raise or want to put yourself back on the market. The Deal Sheet helps take stock of your experience and assess where you are, and where you are going.

The top recruiters create a compelling story about how your unique skills will help the law firm succeed. And only then do they negotiate the best deal that is right for you now and for your future.

Communication
Good recruiters keep you informed about what is going on with your candidacy. They return your phone calls and look out for your best interests.

Conclusion
Good recruiters should make an effort to respond to all inquiries, even if they cannot ultimately work with you. Work with a recruiter we serve the interests of both their clients and their candidates.

Strong transparent communication helps to develop a strong, trusting relationship. Let your recruiter know up-front what your expectations are. Follow these tips and you’ll find exacting what you’re looking for.

 

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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.

 

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: What Your Resume Must Do and Don’t

Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds on a resume (Ladders Report, 2018)—that means you’ve got precious seconds to stand out from the crowd. Resumes that pop have several common elements that get the top law firm’s attention.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

Design a simple layout, that is easy to read. “Resumes are like a plate of food, I instantly decide whether it’s worth considering. If it hurts my eyes to read, I’m not going to bother,” says Shari Davidson—President of On Balance Search.

Make sure your resume covers the basics:

  • Focus on creating clearly-marked sections with job titles and descriptions that are concise, memorable and to the point.
  • Use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments.
  • Provide a detailed overview or mission statement at the top of the resume.
  • The top third of your resume is about as much as any recruiter will scan.
  • Quantify your results, provide statistics that add value to your experience.
  • The voice of your resume must always be in the 3rd Never use “I”.
  • Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors.
  • Keep it to one page.

It’s all about clearly communicating your skills and accomplishments succinctly and cogently. “A great resume is easy to digest,” says Shari Davidson. 

Final Thoughts

  • Use a simple layout and font. Select a font that has ample white-space that reads well on both the computer screen and in print. There are several fonts that are considered the best to use. Consider any of the following fonts: Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, Book Antiqua, and Trebuchet MS.
  • Don’t Clutter the resume with too much information. If you’ve got a lot of great experience, the second page better warrant reading on.
  • When using numbers, don’t spell the number out. Numerical data stands out, number are more memorable and significant to the reader.
  • Keywords do matter, just make sure you don’t use them excessively and that they read well within the context of the description.

And please note that the Summary is not an Objective. There are three key elements for the Summary Statement:

  • what you want,
  • your specific skill set
  • and your accomplishments.

Not sure about what to say and how to say it? Talk to a top recruiter. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

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.