The lateral move

Written by David E. Behrend

I have been with a large law firm for seven years and am exploring a lateral move? What are some of the issues that need to be considered, in this post ‘legal recessionary environment?’.

Initially, one needs to explore ‘why’ you are making the move. By now , assuming you are not a staff or ‘service associate’ ( living on the coat tails of an equity partner who brings in the business to the practice), the question needs to be answered. Have you been informed that you are still on a partnership track or not? Has some of your billable hours been the result of your directly bringing client(s) into the firm? Is the culture of the firm, the way it treats staff to your liking, and can you see yourself at this ‘BIG Law’ firm in 10 years?

Assuming you wish to make that lateral move, recognize what is in it for the potential new firm if they consider hiring you.Believe it or not, I recently read with interest that firms are now using ‘Moneyball’ approach to assessing potential lateral hiring, just as baseball has been using analytics to evaluate ballplayers. Statistics are used to decide not only who will be recruited but also how much they will be paid. Spotlight Analytics tracks 200 performance indicators, allowing firms to analyze whether laterals met expectations for billing, revenue, and collections. The data can be used to create a profile of the most successful hires, and determine whether a law firm needs more rainmakers, or more non equity partners and associates to handle the workload.The analytics firm uses the information to estimate what a competitor might be billing for legal work.. Another legal business firm monitors and collects data from 155 law firms, and can identify areas where lateral hires are needed. It maybe helpful to Google and get some information prior to beginning your search.

About the author

David E. Behrend

Director of Career Planning Service, I have been a consultant working with attorneys and other professionals for over 25 years. My focus is on career development, concentrating on meaningful or necessary job change or career transitions. I have authored many articles on the subject, and have appeared on numerous radio and television shows. My practice offers both office and telephone career consultations.

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