While we are all working from home it seems like a good time to take a look at some measures to take for self-care and carving out a space to soothe anxiety and protect our mental health as much as possible.

Working in cramped quarters with family members nearby and pets underfoot, amid a national health crisis, is creating some unique challenges. A recent article discussing how to stay calmer while we are all dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and current political climate talks about how we all can protect our mental health.

One of the first suggestions to maintain a mental equilibrium is to refrain from obsessively following the coronavirus updates. The article states “Protect yourself from the mental fallout. Those include limiting your exposure to emotionally disruptive cues. . . Unless you’re an epidemiologist or public health official, chances are you don’t need a real-time play-by-play. As with most anxiety-inducing subjects, the big-picture awareness will probably suffice. As such, limiting social media and disabling worry-inducing notifications is a good idea. According to the CDC’s guidance for managing anxiety and stress during the coronavirus pandemic, you should “take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.”

Aside from trying to keep anxiety in check, it’s a good idea to turn off the frequent news notifications on our phones while we’re trying to get in a productive workday from home. The usual rhythms of how we work, go through our emails, and interact with clients have been upended, and it’s important to cut out extraneous distractions wherever possible. Of course, sometimes news is really pressing or a family member really needs attention, but creating a general framework for business hours is helpful.

During this challenging time, those working from home (and staying in all the time) are also facing an “increasing sense of isolation and loneliness. As events and get-togethers are canceled, trips are postponed and remote working and ‘social distancing’ increase, we’ll be getting less of something human beings are hard-wired to need—a sense of connection.”

It’s kind of a double whammy for the legal profession. That sense of connection is something that a lot of lawyers have already found lacking in their daily lives during normal times. Statistics show that “lawyers already experience high levels of isolation and loneliness, both of which undermine physical and mental health and increase the risk of substance misuse and addiction.”

Therefore, lawyers who are now working from home during social distancing, some for the first time, should be sure to keep in mind purposeful ways to combat feelings of isolation, which can no doubt exacerbate anxiety. The article had some suggestions for staying connected, including
“schedul[ing] time to check in (by phone or video) with family and friends” because “in a time of increased stress, a sense of connection can be transformative and, for some, lifesaving.” Maybe this is a good time to check in on work colleagues you haven’t heard from in a few days or who missed the last Zoom conference, just to make sure they are OK.

Another thing to keep an eye on for yourself and your friends and colleagues is the risk of overusing substances. Lawyers already have a heightened risk in this area and health guidelines suggest that “excessive alcohol use disrupts and impairs the immune system” — something none of us need right now.

This year’s election also promises to be a potential stressor and the article points out that
“it’s an environment that you’ll be required to take proactive steps to mitigate if you want to emerge unscathed.” Just as with the coronavirus coverage, the author recommends limiting exposure to negative social media and other news about the contentious election. It also recommended “prioritizing and nuturing a sense of connection with others” through activities like “joining social groups or clubs, engaging with your community, volunteering, and taking part in religious, spiritual or cultural activities.”

It may seem a bit ironic that when busy lawyers are forced to work from home and may finally have time for activities that can enhance their social connections, social distancing and shelter in place orders have made them seem impossible. However, some of these activities may be still be taking place virtually and that’s a great place to start. Try to engage with your house of worship or watch services online, spread the word on charities that need help, attend a virtual club meeting, or stay involved in other virtual activities within your community. Then when things return to normal, you will hopefully have developed a different routine that includes more time for the things that matter to you and foster a sense of connection, such as family, faith, community, or service and you can do them in person, which the author points out is much better than through social media.

Law firms can also do their part. It will help the whole organization if as the article suggests they “promote activities to support health and well-being in the coming months…. it really is something that organizations of just about any size and budget can accommodate.” One thing to check out coming up in a while is Lawyer Well-Being Week in early May.

Anything individuals and legal employers can do to help manage stress and protect our mental health and well-being will certainly help all of us right now. Focusing on planning to take positive steps which are in our control can be really helpful when things seem so out of control.

You can read the full article if you would like here.

If you would like to read more you can also check out the article Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession.

I also would like to invite you to join us weekly for networking.  There is no charge, it is just our way of getting a number of interesting people together and connecting in this time of social distancing.  You can learn more here.

With the news changing daily about the coronavirus, and some firms making the decision to cancel large meetings and travel, or even to close their offices altogether, it’s interesting to read a recent article in The American Lawyer that analyzed how this health scare and the coming election may impact a projected recession.

According to a Citi Private Bank report last month, the legal market posted growth of over 5% in 2019, which was based on increased demand and increased rates.  The article pointed out that “a prolonged shock to the economy would undoubtedly hurt not just demand, but would also increase clients’ resistance to increases in billing rates.” Unfortunately, since the article was published, there have been increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in the United States, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus to be a pandemic, and the stock market has plunged even further.

The article cited an industry consultant who said “There’s been a feeling on the part of many chairs and managing partners that the legal market is due for a correction at some point.  It’s possible that this may be the beginning of it.” Even going back to before the December start of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, “a majority of American economists had predicted the U.S. economy would enter a recession by the end of 2021.”

But given the historic 11-year economic expansion in the U.S., change may have been bound to come at some point even without concerns about the disease.  One firm chair pointed to changes in his firm’s “distressed” practice areas. “We had a lot of bankruptcy activity. We had a lot of loan enforcement activity.”  There is also “talk about a softening energy market.”

With the introduction of fears about the impact of the coronavirus on top of the projections about an upcoming recession, “there’s more questions than answers at this stage.”  One managing partner pointed out that “the disease introduces an added layer of uncertainty to the firm’s existing preparations for a potential recession. ‘The coronavirus exists outside of a natural economic downturn.  We don’t know yet how it will affect our business but we’re watching it very closely.'”

At the same time, the natural uncertainty that exists in the market during a Presidential election year is happening. With any potential change in the presidential administration, will come “new demand for lawyers, as clients scramble to make sense of uncertainty.” Regulators who “pivot their focus” and potential new legislation will both bring new needs. During the current Democratic primary process, comparisons of Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden at firms center on who is perceived to be more “business-friendly.” Regardless of what happens in the coming months in the economy and in health news, there will still be a major election in November.

One managing partner claimed not to be worried about a future downturn because his firm has “capabilities in . . . five industries that are relevant to good times and to times of distress.”  Other firms are getting ready for busier litigation and bankruptcy practices.  The industry consultant “advises that more firms consider the inevitable downturn, regardless of when it transpires, as an opportunity . . . ‘to make deeper cuts they’ve wanted to make for some time, but about which they’ve faced internal opposition during a stronger economy.’”   The article concluded by stating that “the firms that get this right will also be well-positioned to make a run at top talent at firms that have been complacent.”

It remains to be seen whether the coronavirus outbreak will hasten an economic downturn, but it seems like the legal industry is in agreement that there will be a downturn somewhere on the horizon, whether due to the health scare, upcoming election, or normal economic cycle.  It’s certainly an issue for firms to keep a close eye on.

You can read the whole article from American Lawyer here.

If you would like to see how Gillman Strategic Group can support you, set up a meeting with Jennifer here for a short 15 minute chat.

The lateral partner integration process is becoming an issue of increasing focus in law firm partner recruiting and retention.

I read an article on the topic that stated “In the not-too-distant past, law firms held the partners they poached from their counterparts at arm’s length, hiring them primarily for their books of business, plopping them into an office with freshly printed business cards and sending them on their way.”

At Gillman Strategic Group we know that these days, recruiting and bringing on a lateral partner is much more of a collaborative process, with the goal of blending them seamlessly into a new firm that will be a good fit for the new hire as well as his or her new partners.  Many firms have developed integration plans that begin trying to welcome new partners even before the recruiting process has concluded.

While “law firms are constantly on the hunt for top talent,” future retention is an issue, so the partners they hire need to be carefully selected with the best interests of everyone in mind. One firm’s management pointed out that  “‘you can have a formal integration program, but if it’s not linked with the recruiting side, you’re going to have less favorable results.”

Recruiting efforts should be geared to evaluate both what a potential new partner could bring, as well as whether a new firm has the right environment to help a lateral hire succeed.  One way that legal recruiters can assist in this effort is to help partners honestly evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses, and have the base of knowledge to be able to advise them in deciding which firms might be a good match going forward.

As the article pointed out, “it’s a two-way street. As law firms vet laterals, the laterals themselves are also vetting their potential new homes.”  Firms that have well-developed integration programs are able to use those programs to distinguish themselves from the rest of the market.  One partner who made a successful move recently said “partners like him are constantly being blasted by recruiters, and it takes a concerted effort for a firm to rise above the noise.”

When joining a firm that treats its lateral partner integration process “with the same care as they would a business deal,” new partners can feel comfortable that there will be plenty of help from the firm during the entire process. In fact, many firms have professional staff whose sole task is to assist with integration, and a number of firms assign partner sponsors or mentors to further aid in the process.

It appears that lateral partner integration is becoming an ever more important part of the process of attracting and retaining the best talent.  Firms would do well to examine their own integration programs to maximize their position in the lateral market.  And partners who are considering a move may want to add a well-developed integration plan to their list of must-haves at the new firm.

If you would like to read the whole article you can do that here.

If you would like to see how Gillman Strategic Group can support you please reach out and set up a 15 minute call with Jennifer. That is all the time it will take to find out what options you may have.

 

A recent article I read picked up on some of the discussions generated at this month’s Legalweek New York 2020, where industry leaders gathered to meet about current trends in providing legal services.

They reported that “clients and their in-house counsel often want a more holistic approach from their law firms, including project management and other value-added services that don’t fit into the billable hour. Most law firms, meanwhile, are sticking with traditional legal representation and business models.”

It can be tricky for law firms to navigate out how to deliver what the clients say they want, while at the same time trying to maintain the status quo and continue to be the reliable provider of advice and legal work they’ve always been.

One participant at Legalweek “said she was managing outside representation, a tech team and multiple other aspects of the company’s legal matters—and she wants firms to do more of that work. In-house people don’t want to manage all of it—we want law firms to be the ones to take on a general contractor role and maintain the relationship,” she said. “To best serve the client, don’t offer to introduce them to a new technology tool or a third-party service provider. Do it for them.”

For the clients, it would be nice for them to have one less decision to make. Whether it’s evaluating some new technology or choosing an outside vendor who promises to make managing legal business simpler, law firms can shoulder some of that responsibility.

The law firm can take care of making those decisions based on what works for their clients’ business needs.

Innovation is never easy. But it does sound like the law firms that find a way to offer these additional services that clients are asking for will be able to distinguish themselves from the competition. The challenge is how to do it gracefully.

To read the complete article click here.

If you would like to connect about how Gillman Strategic Group can support you in finding your best fit firm, click here to schedule a brief 15 minute call with Jennifer.

I recently read an article in Law.com about the transformation of the lateral recruiting industry and I wanted to share that with you.

The article said that “Some law firm partners, once thought to be impossible to budge, now take new jobs every few years. Meanwhile, databases that recruiters purchase or compile themselves offer quick access to facts about firms’ financials, practices, offices and people ….”

As legal recruiters we employ ever more sophisticated tools to evaluate the marketplace for the lawyers we work with, and to help them pick and choose among the many options they have to advance their careers. Partners with business from clients with whom they have strong relationships can use the information recruiters are able to  share with them to learn what kinds of work environments other law firms might offer to them and their clients.

It also stated that “Last year, more than 3,100 lateral partners moved between Am Law 200 firms, representing billions of dollars’ worth of business…. Some 80% of partner candidates considered by law firms come from outside recruiters, according to people at two Am Law 100 firms.”

The amount of movement between firms by lateral partners has been growing by leaps and bounds. And “outside recruiters” (those not employed by any individual law firms but who operate from an independent, third-party perspective), are uniquely positioned to compare how a partner’s practice would fit in at a variety of firms. Recruiters can provide deep knowledge of the marketplace in a geographic area, in specific practice areas, and of the culture at a variety of firms. For partners who have been busy developing their practices, recruiters can offer a shortcut to learning helpful information about many other firms. Recruiters can also offer firms introductions to new partners, whom they might not otherwise have a chance to meet.

The article also noted that “The industry has evolved, and law firms are relying as much as ever on the lateral market to find skilled, diverse attorneys and grow their client bases.”

By expanding via lateral hires, firms have the opportunity to adjust their partnerships —to reflect the changing needs of their clients, cross-market in new practice areas with their existing partners, and grow their ranks in new ways.

If you would like to read the full Law.com article you can find it here.

If you would like to discuss how Gillman Strategic Group can help you please set up a 15 minute call here.

Is your law firm prepared to deal with succession issues? If the answer is “No,” then it is part of the 60% of mid-sized law firms in the same boat.

Issues Law Firms Face in Succession Planning

As the wave of baby-boomers who entered the legal profession in the ‘70s and ‘80s nears retirement, succession planning has become a real issue at the majority of law firms. Most law firms, big and small, have practicing lawyers in their 60s and 70s – many of whom also bring in most of the firm’s business. These senior partners own the client relationships and provide mentorship for junior partners. Their departure can lead to loss of business and gaps in management.

Still, most law firms fail to institutionalize a proper succession planning framework for several reasons.
Discussing retirement with senior partners is difficult.

The average age of a senior partner in America’s top 200 law firms is 52. About 3 percent of senior partners are 71 to 88 years old. Senior partners are often reluctant to retire because they have helped establish the firm. Everybody looks up to them because they’re the major rainmakers and sometimes even the founders of the firm. In addition to respect, they’re also earning hefty paychecks. It’s hard to let go.

Other partners find it awkward to bring up retirement with a colleague whose efforts have helped build the firm and develop their careers.

Succession Planning is complicated.

The second reason why law firms don’t plan for succession is that it’s not easy. Partners are not the only people involved in succession planning. The whole firm and its clients are affected by the departure of a senior partner.

From the organization’s perspective, a firm losing a senior partner is at the risk of losing stability and continuity. Without succession planning, however, a law firm might lose some of the senior partner’s clients, contacts, goodwill, reputation, and knowledge when he or she retires.

From the client’s perspective, it’s critical to have service continuity, which depends upon commitment, service quality, and personal relationships. A succession plan must address the clients’ concerns by planning a timely transition from the retiring partner to the succeeding one.

Strategies for Succession Planning

To overcome these challenges and institutionalize succession planning, a law firm must balance the interests of the retiring partner, the clients, and the firm itself. Here are a few strategies that work.

Make Retirement a Part of Career Planning
Retirement should figure regularly during discussions, performance reviews, and counseling sessions within the firm. When the partners reach a certain seniority level, a transitioning program should become available to them. The program should include annual discussions about their short- and long-term plans including retirement, post-retirement goals and expectations, their practices, clients, and the transitioning of their knowledge and contacts to successors.

Identify and Groom Future Leaders
Most law firm senior partners are Baby Boomers planning to retire within the next decade or so. It can be a big blow when a firm loses several rainmakers and mentors within a short span of years. To prevent losing revenues, clients, and expertise, law firms should make transitioning a part of human resource management. Identify and groom future leaders so that they’re ready to assume the roles of the retiring partners as smoothly as possible.

Provide Individual Support to Retiring Partners
Senior partners may resist accepting help and support because they’re reminded that they’re nearing the end of their careers. But it becomes easier when they’ve been preparing for the inevitable for years. Personalized coaching and mentoring by outside professionals and the firm’s retired partners, peer group discussions, and access to a library of resources for making the transition less disturbing will help the process.

Have Continuing Post-Partnership Roles
Consider having permanent roles for retired partners, making them advisers, mentors, or ambassadors. Discuss with your partners and establish criteria for different roles. Post-partnership roles can allay their fear of idleness and provide valuable input from people who’ve ‘been there, done that!’

If your firm doesn’t currently have a succession plan in place, this is definitely something to put on the priority list. Spending some time planning now will help avoid serious issues in the future.

Many solo practitioners and attorneys who practice at small firms mistakenly believe that joining a larger firm will mean less money because of the high overhead and less freedom because of all the red tape.  Many times that’s simply not the case.  There are actually a number of reasons that a larger firm with a more full-service platform can result in increased compensation.  And leaving behind all of the administrative responsibility can give you more freedom to focus on client service and development.

So how do you know if a larger firm makes sense for you?

Here are 5 areas to consider:

 

1. YOU ARE REFERRING WORK OUT BECAUSE YOUR FIRM LACKS PRACTICE AREAS

 This is a big one for a lot of solo practitioners.  Since no single lawyer can be an expert in every area of the law, solos (as well as small firms and boutiques) are often asked to do work that their firms don’t have the expertise for and must refer out.

Unfortunately, every time an attorney refers work out there is a risk the client won’t come back again, either because the client stays with the second firm or decides to go to a third firm that is better able to handle all of its legal needs.

 

2. YOU DON’T HAVE A BENCH TO PULL FROM WHEN MATTERS HEAT UP

 If you’re a solo practitioner (or part of small firm) there aren’t extra people around to help shoulder the burden when you get busy.  There are a couple of consequences.  This may put you at a disadvantage to the firm on the other side that’s able to pull staff from other departments to help with caseloads and consult on different areas of the legal matters at hand.

It may also mean that when a big case is going to trial or a major transaction is getting ready to close, you have to turn down new matters.  Then when the case finally settles or gets tried, or the big deal finally closes, you may be left scrambling for work.

  

3. YOU WOULD BENEFIT FROM CROSS-SELLING AND CROSS-MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES

 Joining a large firm with a collegial atmosphere is often a way to market your skill set to clients who are already using the firm for their other legal needs.  A client that already has a positive association with the firm may be happy to meet a partner that can handle more of its legal needs and allow if to keep all of its work at one firm.  And at a firm with the right culture you’ll have many partners who are ready and willing to introduce you to their clients.  This can certainly give you a head start when it comes to marketing.

 

4. MORE BACK OFFICE STAFF WOULD MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO FOCUS ON CLIENT SERVICE AND BUSINESS GENERATION, INSTEAD OF ADMINISTRATIVE WORK

 Solo practitioners (and managing partners at small firms) inevitably spend part of their time on administrative tasks, instead of having the opportunity to focus their attention on client work and business generation.

Joining a larger firm gives you the benefit of a billing department, professional marketing staff, and many times even a non-lawyer CEO or COO.  Depending on the size of the firm you may have many other non-legal professional staff, all of whom are tasked with making sure you can perform your work as efficiently as possible.

 

 5. YOUR CURRENT AND POTENTIAL CLIENTS MAY FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE GIVING THEIR WORK TO A LARGER FIRM

 Solo practitioners (and managing partners at small firms) may have a harder time landing the larger clientele they need to boost revenue.  The reason for this is that these clients often have many different areas they need legal advice in and so they are more comfortable giving their work to a larger firm that can handle all of the areas.  It makes it easier for the client to have one law firm handling everything rather than multiple law firms handing all the different aspects for them.  It makes it easier when they have one place of contact and don’t have to think about who is the right firm to help with that particular issue.

I invite you to sign up for a 15 minute, no obligation call with me to discuss if moving to a larger firm would be a better fit for you. You can choose a time that works for you here. 

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Have you ever questioned whether you’re compensated fairly? Or wondered if you could make more money somewhere else? There are actually a number of ways that moving your practice to a different law firm results in increased compensation.

Do any of these apply to you? Is it possible to move to a firm where you:

1. GET PAID MARKET RATE COMPENSATION

Sometimes, you’re being paid below market where you are, and a move to a firm that compensates you appropriately can mean a big raise. Does it feel like you’re generating a lot of business and working long hours, but it’s not reflected in your compensation? Do you work at a firm where the senior partners take a disproportionate amount of the profits in comparison to their contributions? Are you getting tired of your firm’s opaque compensation calculations that never seem to reward your efforts?

2. FIND NECESSARY PRACTICE AREAS AND CROSS-SELLING OPPORTUNITIES

Does your current firm have all of the practice areas necessary to meet the legal needs of your clients? If not, moving to a firm that does can often increase your compensation with very little effort on your part. Of course, this only works if the new firm encourages and rewards cross-selling. For example, if you’re a patent attorney and your clients have real estate matters they can bring the firm, the firm has to be one which encourages the real estate partner to get up from her desk and pitch the client with you. Although this can be accomplished through creating a culture of cross-selling, it’s easier to guarantee when there is some form of compensation tied to the assistance, and the firm gives you origination credit for matters you bring in to other departments.

3. HAVE RATES THAT MAKE MORE SENSE FOR YOUR CLIENTS AND PRACTICE

Although this one seems counter intuitive, going to a firm with lower rates may increase your compensation,even though it means you will have to collect on more hours. This is because instead of getting one “bet the company” deal or litigation once a year because your client thinks you’re very good but very expensive, you might become the client’s “go-to” firm for all of its legal needs if your billing rate becomes more reasonable.

4. HAVE THE RIGHT TEAM

If you don’t have the correct support at your current firm, sometimes just moving to a firm that has the right team can be enough to increase your compensation. If you had appropriate staffing, you would never have to turn work away because you didn’t have the capacity to handle more.

With the right team of lawyers at the correct levels, you can also leverage your time better, which can lead you to be responsible for generating more hours, and even allow you to spend more time away from the office while someone else is doing the work. It’s easy to recognize this problem if you’ve asked management at your current firm to hire additional associates or other support and they’ve refused. A subtler version of this issue is when your current firm is unable to attract talented associates,whether because the firm has a negative reputation, doesn’t pay enough, or because it’s not well known enough in your practice area.

5. ARE NEEDED

Sometimes a firm needs you for a particular reason and they will pay to get you. For example, is there a rain maker partner getting close to retirement with no one to take over his very large client base? The firm naturally wants to keep those clients after the other partner leaves and that’s where you come in. Ideally you will have time to get to work side by side with the other partner and have him introduce you to the clients as the lawyer who will be handling their matters from now on. In this situation, how much the firm pays you may be dependent on how hard it is to find someone with your skill set, and just how imminent the retirement is. Even more motivating for a firm is the situation where a partner leaves suddenly and they don’t have anyone at the firm who can handle the work. There is a lot of time pressure to find someone to handle the clients before they find other firms, which can translate into the firm just wanting to get the deal done and get someone in place, at whatever the cost.

Another situation when a firm might need you is when it’s getting increasing internal referrals for a practice area it doesn’t have. Firms hate to refer work out, because there’s always a danger that the client will either stay with the second firm for other needs or find a third firm to handle all of their needs. How much this situation affects your compensation will be dependent on how frequent the referrals are, how difficult the firm thinks it will be to add the practice area, and whether you have clients of your own to keep you busy between internal referrals.

Do any of these issues apply to you? Although it’s not all about the money, most partners want to make sure they maximize their compensation appropriately. Gillman Strategic Group can help. Why not take a look at our website www.gillmanstrategicgroup.com and set up a call to see if we can help you earn more money without working harder?

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You probably thought that becoming a partner, especially one with your own clients, would finally give you control over your own schedule and time to spend on the other things you care about. So why are you stuck in the office late at night and feel like you never have your weekends free?

Whether it’s to see your family and friends, volunteer for a cause you care about, or simply get to the gym once in a while, you probably have something you wish you had more time for. How can you achieve better work/life balance and still be a law firm partner?

All law firms aren’t the same. Sometimes moving your practice to a different firm can make a dramatic difference in your lifestyle. Here are four things to look for:

1. A FIRM CULTURE THAT VALUES WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Do you work at a firm where partners “complain” about the late nights and weekends they work, but are really bragging about how many hours they bill? Then maybe you’re just at the wrong firm.

Firm culture may be the most important factor on this list. No matter how much you promise yourself that you’re going to try to leave earlier so you can have time for the things you care about, it’s hard to ignore the raised eyebrows or pointed comments when you actually do manage to get out of the office at a reasonable time.

Luckily, for every law firm where the partners try to one up each other with how hard they’re working, there’s another where they’re proud to leave early to coach the Little League team, train for a marathon, see the school play, or volunteer for a cause they believe in. You just need to find the firm where these things are valued.

2. YOU CAN PUT THE RIGHT TEAM IN PLACE TO HELP YOU LOG FEWER HOURS YOURSELF

Are you working long hours simply because there’s no one else to help you? Is it getting to the point that you almost dread getting new work from your clients because you know it just means another late night for you? Are you doing work that’s more suited for a junior lawyer but there isn’t one available to help? You should talk to firm management about hiring additional associates or other support for your practice.

If your firm refuses to hire additional associates when you need them, or your firm has tried but can’t attract the talent, then you’re always going to be working too hard. It may be time for look for a firm that will have the right team to support you, so you can actually get home in time for dinner.

3. CROSS-SELLING OPPORTUNITIES MAY HELP YOU LEAVE THE OFFICE EARLIER

Do you work at a firm where partners jealously guard their clients and won’t introduce you to any of them, even though those clients could really use your expertise? Or a firm where your partners aren’t interested in taking on work from your clients when it’s outside your practice area and won’t even come to a pitch meeting with you? If so, you’re at a firm that probably hasn’t figured out how to incentivize partners to cross-sell.

Moving to a firm with better cross-selling opportunities and appropriate ways to compensate for them, can make a significant difference in your work/life balance. You can earn money for work that you bring in for other groups, as well as the work they refer to you. That extra compensation from “low hanging fruit” may mean you have more time to spend with family and friends and less time to frantically network for new clients.

4. BETTER TECH AND NO FACE TIME CAN HELP YOU GET TO IMPORTANT EVENTS

Does your work not count unless everyone sees you at the office? There are many firms that don’t care if you’re in the office at all as long as you can get your work done and keep your clients happy.

Or do you work at a firm that doesn’t care as much about face time, but has technology so far in the dark ages that you can only get your work done when you’re physically sitting at your desk? Many firms have recognized the value of technology and have remote access and that’s comparable to sitting at your desk.

If you were at a firm that down played face time and had the technological resources to free you from your desk, you could work from anywhere. Then you could attend all of the important events in the lives of your family and friends, without sacrificing client service. Maybe it’s time to think about finding a firm like that?

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If you feel like there’s room for improvement in your work/life balance, Gillman Strategic Group can help you find a firm that expands your time away from the office. Please contact us and set up a call to hear about the alternatives for getting more of your life back.

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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?

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 (and sometimes business professionals from the firm), which customarily includes more partners from the group you hope to join.

Promptly scheduling each of these meetings is a way to keep things moving smoothly and keep the momentum going. At many firms, it is after the second meeting that you will be asked to fill out a Lateral Partner Questionnaire (LPQ) so the firm you are interested in can see if you are a good fit, both economically and from a conflict point of view. While this is something that Gillman Strategic Group (or the placement firm you are using) can help you with, much of the information is under your control and 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 as much of the relevant information as you can, including statistics such as 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 should be prepared to be asked to have this meeting at the firm’s main office, which 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 and who you would like to speak with or meet with again to get it, so that you can 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, sometimes the firms you’re speaking with have many other recruiting events going on as well. 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, who 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, so there may be a bit of 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 and 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 temporary delay in your process. Try to be patient and flexible, and 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, and 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 meeting sunless 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, it makes sense 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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