Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Should I Stay, or Should I Go

Many candidates are waiting to see what happens in December. This is the time to start accessing your strengths, and your career goals.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Waiting for December / January puts you behind the eight ball…

The economic forecast for 2019 is bullish and many law firms will be bringing on more lawyers. For many law firms updated budgets and forecasts have been completed and as the new year approaches firms have a bet-ter idea of what they need and who they can afford to hire. When evaluating whether you should stay or go, there are strong indicators that you should not ignore.

Promises, Promises, Promises.

Associates
Have you been promised to be made partner? What makes you think if they haven’t made you partner yet, they are going to now?

  • Firm culture: Does the life work style, fit with your future goals?
  • Clarity: Is it clear how to make partner? What targets do you have to hit to achieve partner status?
  • Support: Is law firm leadership, helping you get to the next level? Are there mentors there to help you get to next level?

Partners
Is the firms direction going in the same direction as you are? Or is there a fork in the road. Which way do you want to go? Right or left?

Here are some red flags to watch out for….

  • The current firm no longer supports your practice area? Has the firm changed strategic direction? Are they moving away from working with middle market business to Fortune 500 companies?
  • Your current firm decided to raise its billing rates.
  • The partner next store has a larger book and he / she determines which clients you can work with. Are there recurring client conflicts?
  • Dissatisfaction over your current compensation, pension not being funded or facing forced retirement
  • Dissatisfaction over the firm’s leadership?
  • Red tape: taking too long to get everything approved. From getting pens to changing billable hours / lack of alternative fee structures. Is it costing you money?
  • Lack of cross-selling opportunities? Your firm doesn’t have a platform to service your clients in other practice areas?
  • Not able to fully service clients needs, in national or international markets?

If you not happy at your firm, move on. An oppressive work environment does not breed a wining track record. Consider what your worth will be if you stay or make the move now.

“I am speaking with several candidates and groups looking toward the horizon. Now is the time to start strate-gizing and taking next steps. December is only a few weeks away. New Year’s resolutions can be made early and kept by those who are proactive,” said Shari Davidson.

Talk to a top recruiter, understand what the market’s appetitive is for a lawyer with your skill set. Assess and account for any external factors that can affect your prospects. Partnering with a recruiter can help you reach your goals.

All the old clichés work here. Time is money. You snooze you lose.

Top Takeaway: Many of the best opportunities are up for grabs in January, so start talking to a recruiter now so that you are positioned to get the job before your competitors put themselves on the market.

 

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 educa-tional purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circum-stances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Collaborate With Powerful Professionals To Grow Your Book Of Business

In our previous article, we discussed how Smart Rainmakers Just Don’t Network At the Bar Association.  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.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

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’ve have got to bring it when you’re out there networking. Better be prepared. Here are a few books I highly recommend you read to make it rain,”, said Legal Recruiter Shari Davidson of On Balance Search Consultants.

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 through this powerful social media network. 
  • 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!

Want to learn more ways to make it rain? Subscribe to our blog https://www.onbalancesearch.com/category/blog-page/.

In our next article, we will talk about, Creating a Powerful Mastermind Group to 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 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.

Getting Ready To Make The Move: Valuing Your Book Of Business

Valuing Your Book of Business
Your book of business has real market value— it is time sensitive. Clearly detail your book’s value by client and how much revenue each client contributes. Identify what verticals have historically were most profitable.

Valuing Book Of Business

“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work it. Use whatever tools you may have at your command.  Better tools will be found as you go along.” ― Napoleon Hill.

“When you begin negotiating your book, all that counts is how well you tell your story,” Shari Davidson President On Balance Search. “Knowing what your book of business is worth—particularly as it grows—gives you that edge. In order to objectively guide you, I will need to know what you want from the onset.”  

Working with a legal recruiter who has the right connections can help get the deal done. From understanding all the legal issues helps in big ways.

Most lawyers spend little if any time understanding what their book is worth and how to increase value. An earn-out arrangement guarantees a minimum level of performance. If the client retention rate drops or the revenue drops, the payout also drops.

A book with lots of recurring revenue brings in more money than a book of transaction-heavy clients. Location is also very important, here in the Metro New York area a book commands much more value than most parts of the country. At big market adds longevity and makes your book stronger.

It’s all about the proper strategic fit between all parties involved. The objective is to increase the value of the business for all parties involved. There has to be strategic alignment and synergy that increases the likelihood for increased profitability. This also applies when parties are coming together in a partnership. There has be value recognition to share resources and capabilities to be on an equal footing. The better the strategic fit, the better the outcome for higher profit.

What to look for when joining a new firm:

  • Strategic Fit: alignment and synergy.
  • Philosophy: How does the new firm do business— conservative versus aggressive
  • Presence: Is your practice well known? Will your clients do business with the new firm
  • Services: Will your scope of your expertise work well in the new business model of the firm?   
  • Processes: What systems does the new firm have in place to capture more marketshare: technology, marketing, network, servicing? 

Your book is only valuable to a firm that can leverage your contacts. It can either be a strength or a weakness, it’s really important to find the right fit. It’s all a matter of telling a story that makes sense.

__________________________________________

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

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

To contact Shari Davidson: info@OnBalanceSearch.com  or 516-731-3400.

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Making the Lateral Partner Move: Looking Back, Getting Ahead

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

LOOK BACK
Here is what you need to make the lateral move:

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

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

originations
billings
hourly rates
hours billed
realization rates, etc.

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

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

Review two or three success stories, look back.

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

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

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

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

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

ALSO KEEP IN MIND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Cred. 

Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

Women Making The Lateral Move

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

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

Lateral Partner Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

About On Balance Search Consultants

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

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

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

 

Sources:

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

Photo Cred. 

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Why Talent Firms are Worth It

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Why Talent Firms are Worth It

This the second installment in an ongoing series from On Balance Search Consultants.

Why Work with a Legal Recruiter? 

The ability to attract, extract and deliver talent is – and always will be a high touch recruiter. No in-house staff recruiter or data algorithm will ever replace a head hunter. Sourcing the best lawyers can be challenging, the top candidates have options, opinions and time constraints.

Speed. Time is money. No one knows the employment marketplace better than a good head hunter/recruiter. The placement process takes time. The recruiter’s fee is more than off-set from the drain on billable hours at the firm. The best legal recruiters leverage connections and scan social media channels to source the top talent efficiently. 

Experience. Most recruiting firms work with many candidates at different levels, the vetting is extensive and ongoing throughout the process “During discovery we pull the Band-Aid off and get to the good, the bad and the ugly. All things being equal, we protect all parties, strategically considering how the firm’s services best compliment the skills the candidates bring to the table”, Shari Davidson, On Balance Search Consultants. 

The sum of the whole is greater than the individual pieces, a great recruiter considers the law firm’s platform – geography, practice areas, talent within the firm, marketing team, strategic services, the verticals they specialize in, and the firm’s culture. “A candidate that compliments the firm’s current book of business can produce the next superstar. We have helped candidates move to a stronger platform – doubling their book of business within 18-24 months and continue to grow,” Shari Davidson.

Confidentiality. A multi-channel strategy across media channels and several search firms may do more harm than good. Internal and external forces may very well conspire to complicate the process. Internally some may feel slighted, that they have been overlooked for this position. Additionally, advertising tips off the competition as to the strategic direction of your firm. 

Negotiation. The best recruiters provide an in-depth professional level of expertise to advise on all aspects of the placement process, acting as a buffer to carefully consider all parties involved. Good recruiters facilitate mutually beneficial arrangements, minimizing potentially polarizing roadblocks that may arise from face-to-face dealings.

The placement process takes time and often difficult. Successful outcomes lead to earning trust and credibility with candidates and firms, and from this is strong lasting relationships are formed.

About On Balance Search Consultants

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

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

Image Cred.

Making it Rain: How to build a successful book of business

Making it Rain

Making it rain, 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 big dogs with the top 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. The relationships must be mutually beneficial so that you send legal work to your connection and they put you in contact with people who can send work to you. 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 strengthsBill 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 your 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 your firm’s corporate culture, just don’t get caught up in the politics.

 

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson is president of On Balance Search Consultants, she 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 council for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.
 

Sources:

Coe, E. How to Become The Highest Paid Partner At Your Firm. Retrived on March 24, 2016 from http://www.law360.com/articles/680150/how-to-become-the-highest-paid-partner-at-your-firm. Law 360.
Quinn, J., Baresh, B. How you can build a better book of business. Retrieved on March 24, 2016 from http://www.law360.com/articles/742196/how-you-can-build-a-better-book-of-business. Law 360.

Give your Law Firm that Competitive Edge

Finding that Competitive Edge

Finding that Partner who brings a successful track record and integrity to take your firm to the next level — starts with finding a great recruiter. What does your firm do that sets you apart from the pack? What’s the culture of your firm? Why do your best stay on with you?

That’s your firm’s competitive advantage. That is how you will land the right candidate who meets the criteria that you and your recruiter carefully map out. Partnering with a recruiter is a strategic step to lateral recruiting.  The recruiter should be communicating your story.

Strategy first, last and always. There are several strategies and tactics that can help you to find the best fit for your firm:

1. Your Story.
The story must be authentic, important and compelling. Your message must connect potential partners in a way that get’s them to sign on with your firm.

2. The Value Proposition.
At your next company retreat ask your partners to identify the firm’s core points of differentiation. Define your value in human terms, not in business terms. Don’t discount the little things. You want to retain your best lawyers while attracting new talent.

Here are a few powerful points for consideration:

  • What is your retention rate of Partners? Associates?  Staff?
  • Is your firm committed to marketing?  Who is on your marketing team?  How does this team assist in publishing articles, coordinate speaking engagements,  create strategic partnerships with associations etc.?
  • How do you integrate new Partners to the firm?
  • Do you have ongoing leadership development training to improve Partners skills?

Prepare simple communication tools that make it easy for your recruiter to tell your story. Follow the rule of Cs: Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent and Courteous.

Create 4 one page summaries:

  1. Create a Talking Point Sheet.  A Talking Point Sheet is a one page summary sheet of the firms highlights ( Firm’s Rankings, PPP, Awards, Value Proposition, History of Firm and anything else of import ).
  2. FAQ sheet that answers the top questions of prospective partners.
  3. Summary-Sheet for each practice group critical to the firms strategic goals ( hyperlink to key partners biography pages and recent hires ).
  4. Finally, share two or three success story’s of one of your top partners that joined the firm.

Make 2016 a great year, get busy identifying what makes your firm great.  Strategically share the information to attract new talent.

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

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

Source:

Love, S. (April 19th, 2015). Getting the Edge in Recruiting Partners. Retrieved on January 18, 2016 from http://www.attorneysearchgroup.com.

Photo Cred.