The Lateral Partner Business Plan is an essential tool when pursuing a partnership-level lateral move.

Your perfect-fit law firm is out there. What distinguishes Gillman Strategic Group is our focus on our candidates and the career that you want. We work with you to assess your Business Plan and ensure that you are positioned to get the right results for you.  

Rather than repurposing another Business Plan or a generic template we ask you to put this together because it makes you more valuable, more aware, and more prepared for a lateral move. 

A thoughtful, well-crafted plan is a valuable tool. It educates the law firm about your expertise and background, gives you increased leverage when negotiating your wants and needs, and gives your partner a roadmap on how you will continue to be successful and benefit the firm.

Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to market yourself and your practice.

This article will explore three components of an effective lateral law partner business plan. By including them in yours, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful and smooth lateral placement process at a law firm where you will be happy.  Download our sample lateral business plan template, get started on your future today. 

(This post focuses mostly on Partner Business Plans, but the same template and approach can also be useful as an associate attorney business development plan.)

#1: Lateral Partner Business Plan Executive Summary

Think of this section as your bio or resume. This is your chance to hook the reader with an outline of your practice, experience, and industry niches or areas of specialized expertise.

Be sure to highlight any noteworthy accomplishments, like winning a high-value or high-profile case, and don’t forget to emphasize your key strengths. 

You can also include general information such as:

  • Job title and job functions
  • Leadership roles within and outside the law firm
  • Relevant work history
  • Community and charity involvement
  • Your expectations for your practice in the future

Last but not least, when it comes to your summary, keep it brief. This is just an overview, so aim for 100-200 words. Remember that busy partners will be reading it – so keep this short. 

Our Business Plan Template guides you through putting your Lateral Partner Business Plan together. Download it here.  

#2: Current Business

In this section, dive deeper into your current book of business. The level of detail and specificity you employ can vary depending on your comfort level — some attorneys are willing to divulge all client information, while others are not.

Regardless, the goal is to show that you have a portable business portfolio that you are highly likely to retain at a new law firm.

One of the primary motivating factors for law firms to bring in a lateral partner is revenue generation, so be sure to include realistic projections for your practice.

This can be a bit of a tricky balancing act, as you don’t want to under or over-project. If you expect your revenue in a given category to increase or decrease from historic levels, be sure to explain why.

Your revenue projections will be of intense interest to the firm, so make sure you provide as much detail as possible and that your forecasts are credible. 

Your current business section should include the following information:

  • Existing clients with the type of work, past and projected revenue, and cross-selling opportunities
  • Origination information; in other words, identify how each client came to you, such as through a referral or marketing activity
  • Client contact information, including all the individual relationships you have at the client’s business (for example, the CEO or General Counsel) as well as how long you have known each contact and the strength of the relationship

Finally, it may also be a good idea in this section to touch on how you have developed your practice to date. The LPQ is likely to cover your business development track record, but it is nevertheless useful to reiterate some of the information here. 

#3: Future Opportunities in the Lateral Partner Business Plan

This may be the most critical section of all — this is where the rubber hits the road. Here, you will connect the dots for the hiring firm by laying out how you will use your new platform to retain and grow business from existing clients and generate business from new clients.

Include the following in your Lateral Partner Business Plan: 

  • Define your ideal client, and be specific. Examples may include: multijurisdictional product liability defense for pharmaceutical companies, management-side labor, and employment for middle-market companies, or trusts and estates for wealthy individuals.
  • Define your competitive advantage. Why do your ideal clients hire you? Is it because of your experience, industry knowledge, personal brand, reputation, pricing, or a combination of these?
  • Write about the specific opportunities that a new law firm and its platform will bring to you and the firm. Perhaps you could not get work from a client due to conflicts at your current firm. Or, you have clients that need a national platform or services that your current firm cannot provide.

The point is to put yourself in the best possible light. However, do not overpromise or create unrealistic expectations. Again, the level of detail and specificity depend on the comfort level of the individual candidate. 

You can also include other opportunities and plans, too.

Where would you like to grow your practice geographically? What other specialties within your practice area would you like to explore? In which industries would you like to practice (where you don’t practice now)?

Ask yourself questions like these, and paint a portrait for the reader of what they can expect from you as a member of the firm.

Remember, though, not to over or understate your potential. Protect your credibility and reputation by keeping your estimations optimistic but realistic. 

The Lateral Partner Business Plan Bottom Line

When pursuing a lateral partnership opportunity, it is essential to create an in-depth and comprehensive Business Plan. Doing so is an important part of the lateral partner hiring process (and it will help you complete your Lateral Partner Questionaire.)

Even if you are not thinking of making a move now or at all, a Lateral Partner Business Plan can still be useful. 

If you have an up-to-date Business Plan you can explore other opportunities, if it ever sounds interesting.

If you already have a Lateral Partner Business Plan, it can be constructive to review it for areas of improvement. If you don’t already have one, your first step before seeking lateral move opportunities should be to start working on your plan.

If you have any questions or need help, let’s schedule a time to talk.