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

Creating the Representative Matters / Transactional Deal Sheets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create several versions:

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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

Law Firm Compensation: How are Partners Paid, Compensated

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

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

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

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

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

Of Council VS Council

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

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

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

EQUITY VS NON-EQUITY PARTNERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPENSATION MODELS

Base compensation or salaries are paid out several ways:

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

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

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

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

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

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

LATERAL PARTNER MOVES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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


Clients That Go Dark: Not Feeling The Love

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

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

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

There are many reasons why a client may go dark:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Perseverance & Resolve

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

2. Agility & Aptitude

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

3. Undivided Moral Compass

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

4. The Fire Within

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

5. Likable & Perceptive

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

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

Many of us hit a wall during this pandemic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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


Do you have what it takes to be an Uber Successful Attorney?

Do you have what it takes to be an Uber Successful Attorney?
The pandemic has accelerated everything. Clients whose fraught relationship with the law firm, have sited cutbacks and moving in a new direction to going with another firm.

Things are opening up again and everything has changed. Many have been hit hard by the COVID crisis, consequently creating a career plateau. Many of us come up against barriers in our careers. To overcome and succeed, what is necessary is fundamentally moving towards a different way of being and thinking.

There is no going back to the old ways of doing business. One thing that is for sure is that lawyers are risk adverse. That said, technology that should have been embraced a decade ago is now being embraced by law firms. 

Embracing Change

Start by understanding that the pandemic has forced us all to embrace change. Change is hard, it’s difficult and uncomfortable. Rainmakers find it difficult to change decades of doing things that have brought much success throughout their career. They refuse to change, and are probably right. 

The pandemic has accelerated everything. Clients whose fraught relationship with the law firm, have sited cutbacks and moving in a new direction to going with another firm and new counsel. 

Take Ownership of the Situation

You have assess what your career goals are now at this point in your career. Understand where you are today, what new challenges do you face and where you want to go. For some minor adjustments may get you back on track. For others, upon reviewing your circumstances, significant changes may be necessary including changing your environment. 

Be Decisive 

Time is the most precious and scarce resource these days. Now is not the time for complacency. To break through this plateau you’re going to make some difficult decisions. 

Remain True to Thyself 

Never compromise your values, it is what gives you purpose and defines you as a professional. Focus on the big picture, be proactive and make the moves necessary to succeed. Being true to thyself is also about aligning yourself with a law firm that shares your values. Have a clear understanding of the corporate culture you are working for. If things have changed, you may need to move on. 

Fear & Mistrust 

Don’t allow fear and mistrust lead your way. Fear and mistrust foment greed. Many lawyers mistrust their colleagues and assume that collaborating with a colleague will simply erode your strong standing with the client. This is not true. Collaboration can help in cross-selling and helping you become the Trusted Advisor that your clients are seeking. 

Rethink How You Do Business

The pandemic also forced everyone to be innovative overnight. Rethink the way you practice law. Become more flexible and responsive to your client’s needs. Leverage existing client relationships to cross-sell new resources. Invest in technology to become more agile and accessible to your clients. Find new ways to bring in new business.

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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


How to Avoid 5 Huge Hazards When Making a Lateral Partner Move

The pandemic has exposed law firms whose leadership is weak, resulting in many partners making the lateral move to firms with stronger business models and leadership.
Making the lateral partner move.

The pandemic has exposed law firms whose leadership is weak, resulting in many partners making the lateral move to firms with stronger business models and leadership. 

There is a plethora of pitfalls that you should avoid when making a lateral move, so be sure not to make these common mistakes.

  1. Carefully review your partnership agreement before moving on to a new firm. Understand your compensation and how it will be affected when you make a move. As a partner, what are your obligations to the existing firm (i.e., how much notice do you need to give them; what are your responsibility going forward etc.)?
  2. Don’t oversell or undersell your book of business. Align expectations with reality. If you undersell, your compensation may not be what you expect. If you oversell your billings, you may be creating bigger problems.
  3. Does the new firm give you the credibility you need? Will you be perceived as a trusted advisor to your clients (i.e., practice areas for cross-selling)?
  4. Does the new firm’s corporate culture line up with your personal values? If it’s not a good fit, don’t make the move. Take time to find the right firm that has a culture that is consistent with how you practice law. 
  5. Work with a legal recruiter to navigate the process. On Balance Search knows what firms are susceptible to being acquired by another firm and some that are in danger of folding. Do your due diligence to ensure that the new firm is financially sound and has a solid strategic plan for the future. 

Why are you looking to make the lateral partner move? 

Before making a move there are many considerations. You don’t want to burn bridges. Making this decision is important part of your journey. 

Questions to consider:

  • Is there any chance of reconciling differences? Take the time to see if you can work things out with the existing firm before leaping. 
  • Do you have a succession plan in place and how does making the lateral move affect it? 
  • Will you be leaving money on the table? 

Making the lateral partner move is a risk.

Before having major surgery, most folks will get a second opinion. Get counsel before you make a move. Know the risks, work with a legal headhunter to create a lateral integration plan to make the transition smooth and successful. Reliable advisors know the marketplace and can place you in the right firm that is a good fit for you!

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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

The Glass Ceiling: How Woman Lawyers Overcome The Confidence Gap

The Glass Ceiling: How Woman Lawyers Overcome The Confidence Gap

Now is the time to get equitable compensation due to the inequality of gender pay.

Law firms are hungry for the top talent and there has never been a better time for women to command the highest pay. In this new normal workplace, savvy law firms are offering the flexibility to work remotely. This presents women with top talent new opportunities who can’t work at the office.

The truth is there is money out there for women who know where to look. Women now represent nearly half of all associates and more than a third of partners at the top law firms. More than one-fifth of equity partners are now women (Working Mother, August/September 2018).

Frustration, disappointment, denial, and fear.
Lawyers are by nature risk-averse. That said, 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 inequality of gender pay.

Women tend to undervalue their portfolio, opting to stick it out rather than see what they command in the marketplace. Women often poorly articulate their true 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 get 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. 

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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

Top Interview Questions: Are You A Leader or A Follower?

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” — John Maxwell

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” — John Maxwell

Top Interview Questions from a Legal Recruiter 

What makes you the best for the job? Prepare. Know the toughest top 10 interview questions every legal recruiter will ask.

It is always important to know what questions you may be asked in an interview. Knowing what makes you the best fit increases your chances of finding the right law firm. 

Below are the top ten interview questions to keep in mind while vying for a spot for partner.

  1. Are you a leader or a follower?
    If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams.
    Be careful, don’t jump jump the gun. Carefully craft how critical being a team player is to any successful outcome. Thoughtfully demonstrate how your leadership helped win the case.
  2. How have you changed in the last five years?
    This is where “knowing yourself” is essential. Think of these in terms of “how have you improved?”. Who can honestly say they have won every case? Spin it. Turn a negative into a positive. Talk about what that you learned and how the experience made you a better litigator. 
  3. Tell me about a time when you felt that you dealt with a situation inadequately. How has that changed your approach?This is a tough one. It’s more about how the outcome changed you and how it made you a better person. Articulate the philosophical and fundamental guiding principals you bring to the table.
  4. If offered the position, how long do you plan to stay at this firm?
    Why should I hire you? Tell me why you want to work here? Why this firm is a perfect fit for me. Do your homework and prove to me that feel this firm is where you want to be. That this is you new home and you’re in for better or worse.
  5. If you did not have to work what would you do?
    How you spend your time speaks volumes about what type of person you are. Be honest, it’s all about how you approach your day. How you spend you time informs us what kind of person you are. It tells us what drives you and what’s important to you. Take this opportunity to share what makes you special.
  6. What do you think about the principle of Legal Aid? Should clients have to pay for services they use in all circumstances?
    Does the firm do any pro bono work? Why not? Isn’t corporate social responsibility the new norm? Tell a story about how you changed someone’s life. How you made a difference and how the firm profited from your efforts.
  7. What are the three main attributes for a successful partner?
    What are your strengths, what has got you to where you are today. Perhaps it’s your ability to pick a jury well. Settling out of court, or how you treat your clients and associates. That winning way that has served you so well. Speak on what you know and how it has helped you succeed.
  8. Would you be willing to branch out into any other area of law, if the firm priorities changed?
    This question is getting at is how you adapt to change. Tell me about how you overcame all obstacles and made the crisis a success. Convince the recruiter that you got what it takes to get it done. Whatever it takes.
  9. In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing the legal industry?
    Be honest about the challenges the legal profession is up against. Embrace the hard realities of your industry, and then tell me how you turn these obstacles into opportunities.
  10. What sort of activities are you interested in outside of work?
    In other words, tell me about what type of a person are you so the recruiter can assess if you are a good fit for the firm’s corporate culture. 
  • Shared meals: What does this say about you? Are you selfish or just social.
  • Volunteering: Why is this cause important to you?
  • Physical fitness? Are you more relaxed at work? Does being healthy translate into a better lawyer?

Prepare for unexpected questions knowing full well that there is going to be a question you never hear of before. Don’t just react, take a moment to compose yourself before you respond. Give yourself a few moments to give your best, ask a few questions to help formulate your response. 

Don’t compromise. Let’s find you a firm where you can do your best work and shares your passions and values. Schedule an appointee with a top recruiter to guide you though this process.

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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


Work The Room: Creative Conversation Starters

Before you go out there and start networking, prepare and have a plan. It’s all about building powerful relationships.

Arm yourself with these helpful conversation starters to jumpstart that new relationship.

  1. So what do you do? That’s an open-ended question, instead ask: What’s occupying your time right now? 

Get them talking about themselves and their interests. This will help you gain insights into who they are personally. Then drive the conversation towards topics you’re both interested in.

Actively listen. Reinforce things they say by paraphrasing wording to show that you are fully engaged in the conversation.

2. Instead of: Tell me about yourself. Ask: What do you love do the most? What moves you? 

Gain insights into what they enjoy most out of life and what they love doing. Again, actively listen and find shared interests. All relationships are based on trust. Shared interests help establish that trust.

3. Instead of: Have you been here before? Ask about something specific, like the food or the decor. 

Get personal. Listen, then find something that they say that you agree with and run with it. Inject some humor whenever possible. Take the edge off, and have some fun. Once you establish a good report, subtly direct the conversation towards items that will help you achieve your goals for this event.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Prepare in advance by doing some homework on what the venue is for.

  • If there is a guest speaker, have some smart questions to ask prepared for this event.
  • Know who is going to attend the event. And be prepared to have a few cool conversation starters that will help kickstart the crowd’s interests.
  • Dress for success. If it’s casual, dress appropriately but err on the side of being somewhat formal. Maybe wear shoes instead of sneakers or a button down shirt instead of a polo shirt.

During the event, remember . . .

  • Stay upbeat and never talk about politics or religion. If you stumble into a crowd that is going down that road, quietly move on.
  • Be authentic and honest. Nothing turns the conversation cold like being caught in a lie or being disingenuous. If you don’t necessarily agree with something being said, don’t weigh in on that.
  • Listen and carefully engage in the conversation by talking about things you have in common. Authentic relationships lead to better relationships, more opportunities, and greater success.

By being prepared with smart conversation starters will help you to wow your prospects and build better relationships.

Now go out there and work the room!

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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

Make it rain: It’s who you know and how you work it

A poor referral source can have personal consequences. The person at the firm, may not be that well regarded. The recommendation may not be taken very seriously at all.

Have you ever asked your good friend to put in a good word for you? “You work with the Partner, don’t you? Would you mind passing along my resume?” Your friend may have good intentions, however this may not be the best for your career.

Tell me who you know, how you know them. When the time comes, we’ll use your internal connections to your best advantage.” — Shari Davidson President On Balance Search legal recruit services.

A poor referral source can have personal consequences. The person at the firm, may not be that well regarded. “You don’t really know. The recommendation may not be taken very seriously at all.”— Shari Davidson.

  • Perception versus reality, how do you know if your friend is actually well regarded within their firm?
  • Do you have all the facts about your friend?
  • Are you really going to put your reputation on the line?
  • Are you 100% sure, your friend is well aligned with the firm?
  • Just because they are a friend, doesn’t mean you know anything about their professional skill set. Maybe you really don’t want their recommendation?

Play it safe. Here are the several reasons you do not want to ask for a referral:

  1. Even with the best intentions, there is no guarantee your friend will pass along your resume along, or follow up with their current employer.
  2. What if your friend feels threatened by you? Truth of the matter is, they may not even pass your resume along. They may sabotage your submittal in subtle ways.
  3. Don’t put your friends in an awkward situation. Don’t ask them to put in a good word for you or bring your resume to their boss. This is totally uncomfortable for both of you. This makes you look desperate. When you don’t get the call, you’re going to question your friendship.
  4. Is your friend in good standing at the firm? If you don’t know you may be doing more harm than good. What if your friend is on the way out? Your resume will likely end up in the trash.
  5. Is your friend the best representative to negotiate terms for hire? You don’t talk about money with friends. Why would you ask them to negotiate for you? No way, you’ve got to be kidding me.
  6. Consider the cost to your friendship!

The best recruiters understand what firms are looking for. The best recruiters navigate the labyrinth of complex hiring process, policies and procedures. The good ones are expert negotiators. They know how to use their extensive network within and outside the firm to leverage the best terms. That are right for you. A good recruiter will identify the right position and law firm whose culture is best aligned with your career goals.

Remember, most of the best career opportunities are never posted. Work with a top legal recruiter, they will help you strategize your next career move. And when it is appropriate to use your friends name in landing the prefect position.

There are also risks for you to recommend a friend. Do you really want to refer your friend?

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

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

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com

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