After months or even years of feeling like you are at the wrong firm, you finally decide to work with a recruiter and find a better fit. So why does it feel like it’s taking so long? Here are four reasons the process may seem long for a lateral partner:
1. YOU ARE SLOW TO SCHEDULE OR COMPLETE NEXT STEPS IN THE PROCESS
Lateral partner recruiting typically requires several meetings with the law firms that you are interested in considering. You should expect an initial meeting with a hiring partner, managing partner, and/or member(s) of the group you hope to join. This is usually followed by a meeting with a larger group of partners. This meeting customarily includes more partners from the group you hope to join. Sometimes other business professionals from the firm will be included at any of the above meetings.
Promptly scheduling each of these meetings is a way to keep things moving smoothly and keep the momentum going. At many firms, after the second meeting, you will be asked to fill out a Lateral Partner Questionnaire or LPQ. The LPQ helps the firm determine if you are a good fit, both economically and from a conflict viewpoint. While we can help with the LPQ, much of the information is under your control. Therefore, you will have to gather it.
Everyone involved understands that you are busy, but not completing your LPQ in a timely fashion can stall the process. Therefore, as soon as you start thinking about a potential move, it would be prudent to gather your relevant information. This information includes collections and realization rates for the last three years, billing rates, and total hours worked.
Once the firm reviews your LPQ and decides it wants to move forward, there will likely be a meeting with the firm’s governing body. When considering a satellite office, you probably be asked to attend this meeting at the firm’s main office. This may require travel on your part. Again, promptly scheduling this meeting will keep the process moving forward.
At some point after this meeting, if the firm is still interested, you will be presented with an offer. You should think about what information you will need to reach a decision. Also, think about who you would like to speak with or meet with again to discuss the offer. This planning will help you schedule those calls or meetings promptly.
2. THERE ARE OTHER RECRUITING EVENTS HAPPENING AT THE FIRM THAT ARE UNRELATED TO YOU
Although your own lateral partner recruiting process is foremost on your mind, the firms you’re speaking with have many other recruiting events going on. For example, the firm may be going through the acquisition of a small firm or even a merger with a larger one, which would understandably take up some management attention and recruiting resources. There may also be a number of other lateral partner candidates going through the process at the same time. These candidates have to meet with many of the same people.
While this should not affect your chances of receiving an offer (especially if your practice will add to the firm’s bottom line), firm management can only meet with one partner at a time. Therefore, there may be a delay caused by having to schedule meetings with a number of lateral partner candidates. Try to be flexible and schedule the next step in the process as soon as the firm is ready.
3. TIME OF YEAR
Time of year may also be a factor. Is it the last month of the firm’s fiscal year and everyone is busy closing the books? Or is it summer or holiday season? It’s hard to schedule the next round of interviews because so many people are out of the office on vacation?
Associate hiring may also be a factor in your lateral partner process. Is the firm is focused on their law school on-campus interviewing? Or the beginning or end of the summer associate program? Or bringing on the first-year associates and conducting orientation? Although none of the above reasons is related to you, all of them may cause a delay in your process. Try to be patient and flexible. Make an effort to schedule the next step quickly when the firm is ready.
4. IT TAKES TIME TO MAKE A GOOD MATCH
Have you waited months or even years to decide you were ready to find a better fit, and now you’re impatient to find that perfect match immediately? Keep in mind that this is a very important choice for you. You should be deliberate and careful in making it so that you can make the best decision possible.
Although it seems like a lot of these timing factors are outside of your control, you can help the process move smoothly by being flexible, responding promptly with information the firm requests, scheduling meetings as soon as possible, and not cancelling those meetings unless there is a true emergency. Even when things run smoothly, the process will generally take at least two months to complete.
Keep in mind that this is also a very important decision for the firm you want to join and they need to make a careful decision too, so they can’t be rushed. Be patient – once you find your perfect fit the whole process will have been worth the time.
Since you can now see how long the lateral partner search process can take, do not to leave things to the last minute. Please reach out to Gillman Strategic Group as soon as you begin to consider a potential move. We can help you assess your timing so you know when to start the process, as well as to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible by assisting you in gathering all of the relevant information, and preparing you for success in the interviews with each firm. Gillman Strategic Group is experienced in navigating this process and can truly partner with you to take on some of the work to help you find your perfect fit.
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