Know When to Go Before Your Law Firm Forces You Out

When You Are Being Forced Out Of The Firm

Know When to Go Before Your Law Firm Forces You Out

Lawyers are let go for their inability to develop and cultivate new clients and sustain a book of business. Three of every four partners who have been pushed out reported hearing about their performance problems for the first time when asked to leave (ALM Legal Intelligence, November 2013). ”Firm’s business priorities change, if your firm is moving away from your technical specialty, that’s a wake-up call and you had better start looking,” Shari Davidson, On Balance Search Consultants. Most law firms don’t provide coaching and training to help transition partners who are no longer relevant at the firm.

The legal business profit structure is changing, law firms no longer need nor can afford a large staff as billable hours for clients for discovery have been absorbed by technology.  Advanced software programs now save firms time and expenses to perform the time consuming work of research for case discovery and evidence. Leaner, cost-conscious law firms now outsource many routine base-level services to cheaper contractors outside the U.S.   

Lateral partner hiring, sometimes seen as “buying a book of business”, is one way firms are strengthening their balance sheets. on the rise. Equity and non-equity partners alike who underperform or are no longer aligned with the core business plan are being shown the door without warning.

Churning out long-term partners and bringing in lateral hires creates resentment among the firm’s staff, sapping morale often scaring off legal talent. To attract talent, law firms need and must maintain internal morale. “You can’t bring in a new hired gun who after a short time is a disappointment. The best legal recruiters work very hard to source the right candidates who are a good fit for the firm. Lateral partners must be able to bring a book of business, but that not enough. Candidates must be carefully screened to ensure their skill-set is structurally aligned with the firm’s strategic initiatives and company culture ensuring they’ll thrive and be there for the long-term,” Shari Davidson.

Start developing your personal network, that is where you’ll source new business or at the very least find your next job. A drop in production may come for no apparent reason, don’t make excuses for a lack of performance. Plan your next move, consider that nearly a third of exiting partners source their new assignment with a head-hunter (ALM Legal Intelligence, November 2013).

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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 at

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.


ALM Legal Intelligence. (November 2013). Up or Out: When Partners Have to Go. Retrieved on April 30, 2016 from

The Economist. (May 5th 2011) A less gilded future. Retrieved on April 30, 2016 from

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