As a lateral partner, finding the right legal recruiter to help you navigate the complex process can feel like a serious uphill battle. You’re sifting through a sea of recruiters, all vying for your attention, promising to have the best connections and opportunities. 

But here’s the thing: You aren’t just looking for a new job.

You already have an established practice, a network of clients, and a book of business. You need to find the right fit for all of those factors, not to mention your goals and plans for the future of your career. 

You’re not an associate searching for a job opening; you’re a rainmaker at the top of your field, creating opportunities. 

That’s why a specialized lateral partner recruiter becomes so essential. 

There are consequences to getting this part wrong. The wrong recruiter, who doesn’t understand the specific nuances of the lateral partner process, who lacks the skills, experience, and market knowledge to help you create the right opportunity, can be directly detrimental to your lateral move. 

Many attorneys I talk to fail to differentiate between an associate or a lateral partner recruiter, don’t perform due diligence on a potential recruiter, or both. 

So, in this blog post, I’ll dig deeper into how a lateral partner recruiter is different, what to consider in choosing yours, and why it’s so critical to get this right.

Associate Recruiters vs. Lateral Partner Recruiters

One of the biggest mistakes lateral partners make is assuming any recruiter will do. That can be a serious mistake, and not only because the wrong recruiter may not have a strong command of the process (and therefore end up wasting your time and money). 

The reality is your potential future perfect-fit law firm may judge you by the company you keep, meaning the wrong recruiter could actually damage your reputation and cause you to miss out on great opportunities. 

Here’s the key point: Lateral partners need somebody who will advocate for them, creating opportunities instead of just filling a position.

Rather than seeking to fill a specific job opening on behalf of a firm, what I’ve found is that the best lateral partner recruiter looks for the firm that’s the right fit for the candidate – namely, YOU, rather than fill a position.  

Your recruiter should actively market your book of business to different firms that are good matches for your needs. They should base their search on a clear understanding of you, your practice, and your clients, as well as informed knowledge about the atmosphere and culture at each firm.  

That’s not a level of advocacy most recruiters are prepared to offer. 

What Lateral Partners Should Look For In a Recruiter

Before choosing a recruiter, it’s important to ask the right questions – I explored 5 questions you should be sure to ask recently on this blog.

Here are a few key things to keep in mind: 

  • A good legal recruiter should be able to offer you market insight and access to opportunities that you may not have been aware of otherwise. They should also be able to provide guidance and support throughout the lateral partner process, helping you to navigate the complexities of the process and negotiate the best possible deal. 
  • The recruiter should be able to establish a strong working relationship with you, taking the time to understand your unique situation, needs, and goals.
  • The recruiter should make the process easier for you by doing as much of the leg work as possible, so you can stay focused on your clients.
  • Consider their level of professionalism and their ability to build and maintain strong relationships. 
  • Consider the length of the recruiter’s experience with partner placements, specifically. 

Additionally, a good legal recruiter should have strong connections and relationships with law firms and partners in the market and a proven track record of successful negotiation on behalf of their clients. 

Your recruiter may also help you develop a strategic plan for your practice, outlining specific goals and metrics you can use to track your progress over time. Broadly, your recruiter should be invested in your success and willing to provide support and guidance whenever you need it. 

(Read more about how we use our Business Plan for strategy here.) 

Finally, the recruitment process doesn’t end when you sign an offer letter.

 In fact, the first few months at a new firm can be some of the most crucial. Your recruiter should provide ongoing support to help you navigate any challenges or issues that arise during the transition process. 

Your Recruiter Is Your Partner In Lateral Success

Bottom line: As a rainmaker, your book of business is a valuable commodity. It represents years of hard work building relationships with clients and developing your expertise in your practice area. 

The right recruiter should recognize this value and work to create opportunities for you to bring that business to a new firm, where you can not only continue to grow your practice but also leverage the resources of the firm to take your practice to the next level. 

They should be proactive in marketing your book of business, leveraging their industry knowledge and network of contacts to identify firms that are a good fit for you, and negotiating the best possible terms for your move. 

In short, the right recruiter should be a partner in your success, helping you to achieve your career goals and take your practice to new heights.

Ready to Learn More?

As a lateral partner, you aren’t just looking for a new job – you’re looking for the perfect fit for you and your clients. 

With the right lateral partner recruiter by your side, you’ll receive guidance and support throughout the process, and benefit from their skills, experience, market knowledge, and ability to open doors and create opportunities at your exact right, perfect-fit new law firm. 

Don’t settle for any recruiter. Choose an advocate and ally who will meaningfully help you take your practice to the next level and achieve the career you deserve. 

Schedule a call today to discover how we can help.