All posts by Lateral Link

Maximizing Career Potential Through Pro Bono Work: A Lawyer’s Guide

In the fast-paced legal world, finding time for pro bono work can be challenging, but the benefits are well worth it. The need for pro bono services is great, and those who lend their expertise free of charge to serve the greater good often find the work rewarding and satisfying, both professionally and personally.

In fact, it’s for these reasons that pro bono hours have been on the rise in the past several years. According to a recent study, overall pro bono hours have been on a steady climb, with 4.2 million hours in 2015 rising to 5.45 million hours in 2020​​. In 2022, the AmLaw 200 firms contributed about 5.01 million hours of pro bono work, a slight decrease from the 5.45 million hours in 2020 but an increase from 2021​​. This trend underscores the importance of pro bono work, and below we discuss in detail exactly why providing pro bono services can enhance one’s professional and personal development while also serving those in need.

Pro Bono Work: It Makes Us Happy
There is a Chinese saying: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Throughout history, the greatest thinkers have suggested that happiness is found in helping others. This notion is supported by scientific research, including a study by Titova and Sheldon (2021) in The Journal of Positive Psychology, which found that efforts to make others happy can increase personal happiness more than focusing on oneself​​​​​​. Helping others may be the key to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

Expanding Legal Expertise Through Pro Bono
Beyond serving the greater good, pro bono work is an opportunity for lawyers to diversify their experience and improve their skill set. It also gives lawyers the chance to pursue an area of law they are passionate about. Doing so will not only make you a more well-rounded attorney, but it will also better serve your existing clients by having an understanding of different types of matters and the different walks of life they come from. What’s more, pro bono work often gives younger attorneys more hands-on experience than their primary (paying) practice. For example, a litigator who has never argued in the courtroom or a corporate lawyer who has never directly drafted or negotiated contracts can take on pro bono cases to gain practical, first-hand experience. These experiences are crucial for skill development, especially for lawyers early on in their careers.

Networking and Team Building
Pro bono work is an effective strategy for building stronger bonds with colleagues and for broadening professional networks. Collaborating with colleagues from other practice areas/departments on pro bono matters can forge new relationships and strengthen camaraderie within an organization. Pro bono work can also connect lawyers from different organizations, expanding one’s professional network, which can prove invaluable for career development down the road.

Enhancing Brand Recognition, Law Firm Culture and Recruitment
Many lawyers today tell me they are looking for employers that prioritize corporate responsibility – which is the notion that a firm makes a concerted effort to operate in ways that enhance rather than degrade society and the environment. Pro bono work is one of the prime ways firms can achieve this. In fact, when evaluating law firms and attorneys to hire as outside counsel, many clients look favorably at those who have actionable social responsibility initiatives in place.

Leadership and Pro Bono
Strong pro bono involvement often leads to leadership opportunities. This is evident in the growing number of dedicated pro bono partner roles in law firms globally. As reported by the International Bar Association, there are now 66 examples of dedicated pro bono partner roles across 55 law firms worldwide​​.

The nature of pro bono work has evolved significantly over the last decade, with pro bono practices expanding in size and complexity, often operating across multiple jurisdictions and connected to humanitarian emergencies. This growth in pro bono partner roles reflects these trends and provides another avenue for leadership opportunities within firms​​.

Elevate Your Legal Career with Pro Bono Insights
In sum, providing pro bono services is not just the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do – for your career, your community, and your happiness. To truly excel in this profession, strategic choices are crucial. For personalized guidance on leveraging pro bono work to enhance your legal career, reach out to Lateral Link. Our team of experienced legal recruiters specializes in aligning lawyers’ career trajectories with their professional aspirations and personal values. Engaging with our experts offers a unique opportunity to explore how you can improve your professional development. Please reach out to us anytime for seasoned insights on how you can define and achieve your ideal career path.

Balancing Law Careers: Overcoming the Motherhood Penalty

The legal profession, traditionally known for its demanding nature, often presents unique challenges for those striving to balance the responsibilities of a legal career with those of parenthood. The stark realities presented by a recent American Bar Association Commission on Women report highlight the urgent need for industry-wide change. This report, informed by the experiences of more than 8,000 lawyers, puts into perspective the disproportionate burden borne by lawyer mothers when it comes to childcare and domestic responsibilities.

The statistics are more than just numbers—they are a reflection of a day-to-day struggle many lawyer parents face. “Balancing the rigor of a legal career with the demands of parenting is a tightrope walk many of us face daily,” shares J’lene Mortimer, a former attorney turned recruiter at Lateral Link. “I remember being an associate trying to figure out how to navigate my responsibilities when my toddler son was home sick and unable to attend daycare. It is not easy, especially when you do not have family or friends in the area who can step in to support you. Fortunately, I was at a firm that supported me and had given me a part-time role so I could have more flexibility. I am grateful for their understanding of my situation at that time.”

This sentiment is at the heart of our mission. It’s about understanding the personal narratives behind these figures and transforming them into positive outcomes. The ‘motherhood penalty’—a term that surfaces all too frequently in discussions about workplace equality—is not just a buzzword but a barrier that must be dismantled. Lawyer mothers report feeling sidelined due to the very role that should be celebrated for its skills in multitasking, leadership, and time management.

Addressing this imbalance, Jennifer Anderson, another Lateral Link recruiter who combines her legal expertise with her insights as a parent, emphasizes the need for actionable solutions. “Every day we hear from parents who are striving for a workplace that doesn’t just offer lip service to work-life balance but embodies it,” she says. “Our charge goes beyond placements; it’s about shifting the narrative and creating an environment where women don’t have to justify their dual roles as mothers and lawyers.”

At Lateral Link, the conversation around these issues is deeply personal. We understand that when lawyer parents are supported, the entire legal ecosystem benefits. It’s not just about finding a job; it’s about forging a career in a space that honors one’s full identity, both as legal professionals and parents. We’re here to guide lawyer parents to firms that will celebrate their dedication to their families as a strength and not view it as a distraction.

As recruiters, we take pride in our dual roles as career strategists and advocates for change, ensuring that every lawyer parent we work with is empowered to achieve their professional goals without sacrificing their family commitments. We stand committed to advancing a legal industry that values inclusivity and equity, one placement at a time.

In crafting a legal profession that truly respects work-life integration, we invite our peers, partners, and the wider legal community to join us in this pursuit. The goal is clear: to foster a landscape where the contributions of lawyer parents are not just acknowledged but seen as vital to the richness and diversity of our profession.

Biglaw Compensation Trends: Milbank Pioneers with Associate Salary Increase

In a landscape of cautious optimism within Biglaw, Milbank has announced an increase in first-year associate salaries to $225,000, setting a new benchmark in legal compensation. This move reflects a confident outlook for 2024, despite the previous year’s volatility in client demand and transactional work. The adjustment, which represents a $10,000 increment, establishes a precedent in a market that has witnessed only conservative financial growth in recent years.

The upward salary revision, effective from January 2024, spans across the firm’s hierarchy, reaching up to $425,000 for more tenured associates. This decision coincides with the announcement of year-end bonuses that echo the figures from the previous cycle, asserting Milbank’s commitment to maintaining competitive compensation in a changing economic climate.

These developments, indicative of Milbank’s resilience and foresight, may serve as a bellwether for the sector’s financial health and the strategic positioning of legal talent. As firms navigate this evolving terrain, the need for astute career management and market readiness becomes increasingly apparent.

Within this context, Movers, Shakers, and Rainmakers provides a platform for legal professionals to understand the shifts in the compensation landscape and to anticipate future trends. The podcast’s latest episode offers a nuanced discussion on the potential ripple effects of Milbank’s salary structure on Biglaw’s ecosystem.

While the series enlightens on market trends, Lateral Link offers a complementary suite of services that facilitate strategic career moves. The insights gleaned from the podcast, coupled with Lateral Link’s expertise in legal recruitment, can empower attorneys to make informed decisions in a market where advanced knowledge translates to competitive advantage.

Tune into Movers, Shakers, and Rainmakers for a discerning analysis of Biglaw’s current state and future outlook. For those contemplating their next career phase, Lateral Link provides the market intelligence and strategic support essential for navigating the intricate legal landscape.

Unlocking Legal Careers in Texas: Navigating Opportunities in the Booming Energy Sector

Amid a remarkable upswing in the energy sector, major corporations such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil are navigating the course through calculated acquisitions and sizable investments in oil and gas assets. This surge has significantly expanded opportunities for the legal industry, notably augmenting the demand for seasoned attorneys in Texas.

Navigating the Landscape of Energy’s New Era

“The energy landscape has made big headlines recently, with Chevron’s bold $53 billion bid for Hess Corp and Exxon Mobil’s significant $60 billion partnership with Pioneer Natural Resources, setting the tone for an era of consolidation and strategic investments,” observes Tori Keith, Senior Director at Lateral Link. This trend serves as a robust indicator of the sector’s vitality, fueled by rising interest rates, a cash-rich environment, and strategic foresight aimed at long-term growth. “Energy and oil deals have been constant throughout 2023. In fact, the energy and power sectors have surpassed technology as the primary driver of M&A activity so far in 2023. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” according to a recent article in The American Lawyer titled “Deal Watch: Energy, the Largest Driver of M&A in 2023, Poised for Deal Barrage (and Maybe the Largest Deal of the Year).”

Additionally, an imminent vote on a constitutional amendment in Texas that, if passed by voters, will pave the way for the construction and operation of major power projects in the near future. Proposition 7 proposes the Texas Energy Fund, designed to tackle issues with the state grid by providing low-interest loans for the development of new power plants. $5 billion is earmarked for 3% interest loans for constructing new power generation facilities over 100 megawatts and fully dispatchable, which means the new power plants can support 20,000 homes or more, deliver power to the grid continuously, and are not weather-dependent. However, energy storage, such as battery technology, is excluded from these loans. Power plants operational by June 2029 will qualify for bonus payments. Beyond the initial $5 billion, additional funds are designated for refurbishing existing power plants, strengthening the grid near hospitals and other essential facilities, and for enhancements to grid infrastructure outside the main grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), as reported by the Texas Tribune on October 31, 2023.

“In Texas, we’re seeing a golden era for legal professionals, with the state emerging as a nexus for opportunities in all aspects of energy law, from traditional upstream and midstream transactions to mergers and acquisitions, and significant infrastructure projects, including finance,” Keith states. “Law firms with robust energy practices are poised to play a pivotal role in steering these complex transactions and navigating the intricate regulatory landscape.”

Legal Opportunities for Mid-Level and Senior Attorneys: A Pivotal Role

The energy sector is dynamic, complex, and truly fascinating. It encompasses a broad range of legal disciplines and novel legal issues, involving numerous stakeholders. It’s also intertwined with public policy that impacts every individual, along with many state and federal regulations. No two deals are the same, and the laws and investments are in constant flux.

In-Demand Legal Practice Areas

Keith highlights the practice areas experiencing growth:

  • Projects and Infrastructure: “Legal professionals specializing in corporate finance are crucial in ensuring the financial robustness and integrity of these significant transactions.”
  • Regulatory: Involving FERC and state-specific entities like ERCOT and PUC; addressing purchases and sales, contracts between companies and consumers, public authority requirements, and licensing.
  • Transactional: “Attorneys adept at managing large-scale, intricate transactions are now at the forefront, playing a critical role in shaping the future of the energy sector.” This includes M&A, joint ventures, capital markets, private equity, venture capital, and project development and finance.
  • Energy Law: “Expertise in energy law is more valuable than ever, with professionals needed to navigate the sector’s complexities, including issues related to production, distribution, and regulatory compliance.”

Texas: A Nexus of Opportunity

“Texas stands as a beacon of opportunity in this vibrant landscape, thanks to its pivotal role in the U.S. oil and gas sector and its business-friendly environment,” Keith emphasizes. “For legal professionals eager to distinguish themselves, the state offers a wealth of opportunities unparalleled elsewhere.”

With Lateral Link’s strategic insight and deep industry connections, legal professionals are well-equipped to navigate this dynamic field. The firm’s robust network within the legal community ensures that attorneys are well-positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning opportunities presented by the energy boom.

What Law Firm Associates Want: Attracting Top Talent Through Relevant Policies and Procedures

To secure top-tier talent, law firms must understand and respond to the shifting preferences and expectations of associates. The purpose of this article is to help law firms better understand what associates are looking for when considering a lateral move. Equipped with this information, firms will be better positioned to critically analyze policies and procedures that may be inhibiting recruitment and growth efforts. 

Today’s associates want two things. No, it’s not better snacks in the break room. It’s transparency and fairness – a prominent theme throughout this article. Considering these trends and expectations will ensure that your law firm is an attractive option for lateral attorneys.

The Pursuit of Transparent Compensation

At the heart of candidate expectations is an unequivocal demand for transparent compensation. Transparency starts at the beginning of the job search and sets the stage for a positive or negative candidate experience.

There is a high demand for transparent salaries. Lateral associates want to know the salary for each job they are considering before applying. In fact, compensation expectations are often included in the first conversation legal recruiters have with their candidates. Thus, the first step in attracting the best candidates is to be clear on compensation. Firms can create clarity by providing a salary range in the job description and sharing this range with their recruitment partners. Salary transparency ensures that both parties are aligned before investing time and energy into the interview process. 

Transparency also extends to the offer process. If a candidate discloses a target salary and the firm agrees to interview that candidate, the firm’s offer should reflect the candidate’s target number. In a real-life example, a candidate was transparent and ensured salary alignment by disclosing her target salary, but the offer she received was $25,000 less than previously discussed. This discrepancy left the candidate with a negative impression of the firm, which ultimately resulted in an offer that was not accepted. To ensure that your offers are accepted, discuss realistic salary ranges as an initial matter and ensure that the candidate’s salary request fits within your compensation plan and structure. 

Valuing Contributions Beyond Billable Hours

Transparency drives candidates to the firm, but equitable compensation helps them stay. Associates and partners alike are expressing a desire for recognition and compensation for their contributions outside of billable hours, including activities such as recruitment, training, diversity programs, and business development. Oftentimes, these important yet non-billable activities are not taken into consideration when determining overall compensation. In a real-life example, a partner’s expertise, ethnicity, and gender were leveraged to obtain new business but the partner received no credit or other form of compensation for helping to bring in that new business to the firm. To maintain equitable compensation, develop a system to appropriately value non-billable contributions. 

Redefining Bonus Structures

The legal industry is experiencing a significant shift in how bonuses are perceived and valued by candidates. Disenchantment with discretionary bonuses is growing. More and more candidates favor transparent, formulaic bonus structures. Associates want to know what goals they are required to meet and what they will receive in return. They crave clear guidelines and expect to be presented with a written bonus structure. 

Associates are also conducting cost-benefit analyses to evaluate the best way to spend their time. Bonus structures that provide an hourly rate for hours billed in excess of the firm’s requirement are being strictly scrutinized. Accordingly, the law firm’s formula must be motivating and competitive. In two real-life examples, one associate earns a $1,500 bonus for every 100 hours billed over 1,900 hours while the other earns $75 per hour billed over 1,900. The first associate calculated that this bonus amounts to $15 per hour and felt that they could be paid more working a second job or forgoing the bonus altogether while the second associate billed 2,300 hours and earned a $30,000 bonus. The first associate felt demotivated and undervalued while the other felt motivated and excited to succeed. 

In another notable trend, many candidates (associates and partners alike) are willing to exchange the promise of a large bonus for a slightly higher base salary even if it means a reduction in overall compensation. In another real-life example, an associate expressed more interest in a compensation structure with a base salary of $200,000 and a $10,000 bonus than a base salary of $150,000 with a $100,000 bonus. These trends highlight a preference for predictability, stability, and transparency.

Let’s not forget bonuses based on collections. Associates are turned off by bonuses that are only paid when and if the client pays. While associates understand that there is a business reason for linking bonuses to collections, associates feel that they have no control over when and if a client pays their bill. This issue is also compounded when the associate exclusively works for one client who has a reputation for payment delays or a client has strict billing rules. Unlinking associate bonuses to client-dependent activities will create a more equitable environment and culture. 

Bonus structures – if designed properly – have the potential to attract, motivate, and retain candidates. Firms should review their bonus plan and evaluate it with a critical eye. It may also be an opportunity to save money and enhance culture while also better reflecting associate compensation trends and desires.  

The Desire for Upward Progression

Associates crave firms that offer an upward trajectory. After all, no one wants to be at a dead-end job. Associates are seeking firms with reputations for offering annual raises and a clear path to partnership. In a real-life example, an associate with a four-year tenure at her firm made a lateral move because she had not received a raise in over two years. If your firm struggles to provide annual raises and has no defined path to partnership, your firm is likely a less attractive option to laterals. To combat these issues, carry out intentional salary adjustments, calendar time each year to review salaries, and document the path to partnership. 

The Imperative for Determined  Leave

Similar to salary, candidates are demanding transparency around time off and leave of absence. Vacation days and parental leave are of high interest. Candidates are now less content with open-ended leave policies and desire specific and numerical leave policies. They do not want to guess how much time off is too much or too little. They want to know the firm’s expectations upfront (usually in the form of a formal written policy) and adhere to those requirements. In particular, associates want to know the firm’s policy on leave before accepting an offer. This is understandable as policies often vary from firm to firm. To attract top candidates, law firms should consider memorializing their policies in written documents and actively promote their policies during the interview process. Doing so will ensure that candidates are well-informed and eliminate the need for candidates to initiate this taboo yet crucial conversation.

Embracing Flexibility: The Hybrid Work Model

The demand for flexibility is stronger than ever, with many candidates seeking firms that have adopted the hybrid work model. In particular, candidates seek an established, written policy clearly identifying the number of days expected to be worked in office. In a real-life example, a firm offering hybrid work (1 day in the office per week) is able to attract talent at salaries well below market. Offering this work model has saved the firm thousands of dollars per attorney in base salaries. This approach also helps to retain attorneys because employees highly value this level of flexibility and it is less likely to be found at competitor firms. If your firm is considering adopting a hybrid work model, make sure you have the necessary technological infrastructure, are able to maintain a level of mentorship and support, and clearly communicate expectations. 

A Call for Transparency and Fairness

Transparency and fairness stand out as the prevailing themes in the current landscape of candidate preferences. Law firms that align their policies and procedures with these principles will position themselves as attractive employers for today’s legal talent. Embracing these trends will not only enhance the firm’s reputation but will also contribute to the long-term success and stability of the firm.

Lateral Link is a vital ally for law firms navigating these changing tides. Connecting with Christine Berger and Lateral Link ensures that your firm is attuned to the latest trends, fostering a culture that attracts, nurtures, and retains the best legal talent. The journey towards building a resilient, future-ready legal practice starts here.

Navigating the Legal Landscape: A Deep Dive into the Top 20 Law Firms for Summer Associates in 2023

The legal profession, ever-fluid and dynamic, offers both promise and challenges. For young attorneys on the cusp of their careers, understanding the nuances of top law firms can pave the way for a future marked by growth and success.

“In the constantly shifting landscape of law, being well-informed and strategic in your early career choices isn’t just beneficial; it’s imperative,” mentioned Lateral Link Director, Anna Szymczak.

Paul Hastings firmly holds the top position with an enviable average score of 4.996. Their prowess shines distinctly in areas such as “Interesting Work” and “Partner-summer associate interaction,” both recording a perfect 5.000. Equally commendable is their emphasis on an accurate “Firm Self-portrayal,” with an outstanding score of 5.000.

“Selecting the right firm involves more than just considering its reputation. It’s about balancing one’s goals with the firm’s ethos, the quality of mentorship, and the type of work offered,” said Lateral Link Principal, Susan Agopian.

Boasting an international footprint, Clifford Chance has shown remarkable ascent. Their commitment to “Real Work” and “Training and Guidance” is evident, with both categories hitting a perfect 5.000. This combination of global reach and attention to attorney growth underscores their dedication.

“Starting out in the legal field isn’t merely about joining a prestigious name. It’s about finding a place that promotes growth, provides hands-on experience, and cultivates a solid legal foundation,” observed Romina Filippou, Senior Director at Lateral Link.

Duane Morris, not far behind, boasts an overall score of 4.977. Their focus on providing “Real Work” and ensuring robust “Associate-summer associate interaction” is evident, with both sectors securing a 5.000. This indicates an environment where budding attorneys don’t just work but actively engage and form meaningful connections.

In the competitive legal realm, these scores are more than just numbers. They serve as guiding lights for those navigating their career choices. Firms like Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and Cahill Gordon & Reindel have also demonstrated excellence in “Training and Guidance” and “Communication of Goals and Expectations,” respectively.

“Early career decisions can set the trajectory for an attorney’s future. Aligning with seasoned recruiters who truly understand the legal world can be the difference between a good and a great start,” articulated Kelly Rizo, Senior Director in our Texas office.

As the legal world continues to evolve, so do the opportunities and challenges that come with it. “The choices made today influence the career paths of tomorrow. Rely on insights, mentorship, and the wisdom of those who have tread similar paths to make those choices wisely,” advised Lateral Link Senior Director, Tori Keith. Making informed decisions early on is paramount. At Lateral Link, our seasoned professionals serve as compasses guiding young attorneys towards promising horizons. If you’re eager to navigate the intricacies of the best-suited firms and programs, place your trust in our experienced recruiters. Embark on your journey to excellence with Lateral Link. Let’s embark together.

2023 Summer Associates Survey Rankings – Top 20

2023 Ranking2022 RankingFirm Name
14Paul Hastings
236Clifford Chance
31Duane Morris
426Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
541Cahill Gordon & Reindel
61Blank Rome
79Proskauer Rose
824Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
925Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
1074Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
115O’Melveny & Myers
137Allen and Overy
1418Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
1510Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
1617Sullivan & Cromwell
178Day Pitney
1865Fenwick & West
1948Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
2013Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Accelerate Advancement: Initiate Your Lateral Attorney Move Before Year-End for Optimal Career Opportunities

As the luminous spirit of the festive season begins to envelop the concluding chapters of the year, numerous legal professionals invariably defer their lateral career aspirations to the new year, succumbing to the pervasive notion that January heralds a more conducive environment for such transitions. “Often, attorneys believe that the beginning of a new year symbolizes a fresh start in many aspects, including career changes. However, what they may not realize is that initiating a lateral move in the final quarter of the year can actually unveil a wealth of untapped opportunities and set the stage for a prosperous transition,” notes Lateral Link Managing Director, Vered Krasna. This prevalent conviction, while widely acknowledged, may inadvertently veil the untapped benefits and strategic footholds that can be gained by embarking on lateral career navigations sooner rather than later.

Challenging the Norms: The Undervalued Merits of a Preemptive Search

“Many Attorneys unintentionally place constraints on their career trajectories by adhering to the false notion that hiring processes do not occur in Q4.  The truth is, a larger number of hires in Q1 actually get underway in Q4,” observes Zain Atassi, Principal at Lateral Link. A significant spectrum of opportunity lies veiled in the fall, providing a backdrop where competition is considerably tempered, and unique opportunities manifest within a less congested market.

  1. The Perceived Awkwardness of December Onboarding:

“An integral facet often overlooked by candidates is that the prospect of starting anew amidst the holidays is, in actuality, relatively infrequent,” comments Matt Bennett, Director at Lateral Link. While the apprehension surrounding a mid-holiday employment transition is comprehensible, it is crucial to acknowledge that positions commencing in January or even February are far from scarce, providing ample space for strategic lateral moves without holiday encumbrance.

  1. Navigating the Bonus Conundrum:

Navigating through the anxieties concerning annual bonus preservation presents its own set of complexities. Amy Savage, Chair of Lateral Link’s Government Enforcement and Regulatory Group, sheds light on this matter, stating, “Most firms, cognizant of the financial motivations and apprehensions of potential hires, will formulate pathways that either compensate any forsaken bonuses or create transition scenarios that ensure bonus retention from the present employer.”

  1. The Myth of the Year-End Interview Lull:

Countering the presumption that firms hibernate their interviewing activities as the year draws to a close, Lateral Link Director, Christine Berger, elucidates, “Every lateral move I made as an associate attorney was in October. Q4 is a crucial time for law firms. Firms use this time to (1) close open positions that support their existing business and (2) hire new associates to support anticipated business in Q1. The need to be fully staffed entering the new year allows candidates to apply to new and current opportunities.”

  1. The Energy Dilemma: The Exhaustion vs. Opportunity Dynamic:

Balancing energy conservation and seizing potential opportunities often puts candidates in a quandary. “Candidates, especially those navigating through the lateral move terrain for the first time, frequently perceive the process as more taxing than it practically is,” notes Christina Ahn, Lateral Link Senior Director. An initial dialogue with a recruiter, albeit amidst perceived lethargy, might not only reveal unforeseen opportunities but might also rekindle latent career motivations and energies.

In an era where meticulous and strategic career mapping becomes pivotal, it’s essential to critically examine the widespread practice of postponing lateral searches until the commencement of the new year. Engaging with recruitment specialists before the year folds might just unearth those bespoke opportunities, allowing legal professionals to carve a distinctive presence in a momentarily sparse candidate market.

Understanding and masterfully navigating the intersect between market demands, personal career aspirations, and strategic timing enables legal professionals to adeptly steer through the tangible and perceived boundaries of lateral career moves, ensuring their professional pathways are not inadvertently sequestered by the cyclical boundaries of the annual calendar.

Capitalize on Your Next Strategic Move with Lateral Link

Embarking on a lateral career shift need not be a solitary or perplexing journey. Lateral Link, with its formidable assembly of industry-leading legal recruiters, stands poised to render your transition not only smooth but also astutely aligned with your career objectives and market realities. Our team meticulously appreciates the intricacies and pivotal moments embedded in the legal hiring landscape, ensuring that your move is both timely and strategically advantageous.

As the holiday season approaches, we invite you to engage with a Lateral Link recruiter in your region. Allow us to be your strategic partner, unearthing and navigating through those hidden opportunities, and propelling your career forward with discernment and strategic finesse. Your next career milestone might just be a conversation away – reach out to us and let’s shape your professional journey together into and beyond the holiday season.

How to Distinguish Hype Versus Reality Around Artificial Intelligence

With all the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI), I’m reminded of a time when I was immersed in selling and building cloud solutions in 2009. A technology that was relatively new, “cloud” became the term du jour, finding its way into every offering and presentation. Does that sound familiar? Upon scrutinizing these presentations, it was apparent that the term “Web 2.0” was simply replaced with “Cloud,” previously the next big thing.

To educate potential customers about the cloud, our team developed a punch list of the five characteristics of cloud computing. This list was derived straight from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their definition of cloud computing. If an offering answered no to any of the characteristics, it was not cloud computing.

AI, tracing its roots back to the 1950s, presents a broader and more complex scenario than cloud computing. What we can do is attempt to create our own checklist of characteristics of AI, helping to discern whether a product that claims to be AI truly is.

Defining Artificial Intelligence

AI is fundamentally an emulation of human-like intelligence, with the capability to learn, adapt, and autonomously execute tasks within machine constructs. In essence, it weaves together various fields such as computer science, data analytics, and statistics to develop algorithms capable of mimicking human intellect. The ambition of AI is to create machines that can perceptively learn from experiences, adapt to new inputs, and autonomously perform tasks without human interference.

Mechanics of AI: A Glimpse into Machine and Deep Learning

Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI, enables computers to refine their operations without explicit programming by learning from data. It uses algorithms to predict future outputs by analyzing historical data, forming a foundation for deep learning (DL).

DL, an intricate branch of ML, leverages artificial neural networks, often modeled to emulate human brain functionalities. These networks contain complex layers of interconnected nodes that meticulously process and transform data. Notably, DL has the ability to autonomously learn and enhance its performance from extensive data inputs, gradually improving its accuracy over time.

Navigating through applications, DL has carved substantial paths in fields such as image recognition, natural language processing, speech recognition, and recommendation systems. This technology permeates various industries, steering the evolution of innovations like self-driving cars, speech-to-text transcription, and personalized recommendation engines. Pioneering AI in Legal Recruiting

In the legal recruiting realm, emerges as a notable example of AI application. This AI-driven platform integrates publicly accessible data, esteemed industry legal rankings, and accumulated data from years in the lateral recruiting market, seamlessly matching candidates with premier firms., fueled by the aforementioned ML and DL techniques, scrutinizes data, identifying and correlating patterns of successful candidate placements to adeptly match candidates with suitable firms, thereby refining the recruitment process.

The merits of utilizing in legal recruiting are multifold:

  • Efficiency: The platform rapidly sifts through extensive data to pinpoint ideal candidates, rendering the recruitment process proficient.
  • Accuracy: Algorithms correlate patterns in successful candidate placements, ensuring ideal candidates are matched with fitting firms.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Notably, minimizes bias in legal recruiting, promoting diversity and inclusion by selecting candidates based on skills and experience rather than demographic factors.

An AI Checklist for Authenticity

To discern genuine AI applications, a checklist proves useful:

  • Data: Utilizes extensive data for training and applies learned insights to analyze live data, identifying correlations, patterns, and predictive analytics.
  • Algorithms: Employs algorithms that rely on data training to recognize patterns and make predictions or decisions.
  • Automation: Operates autonomously, acting based on rules or learned knowledge without human intervention.
  • Learning: Modifies results or decisions adaptively in response to changes in underlying data.

If a solution lacks any of these characteristics, it likely falls short of genuine AI.

Artificial Intelligence is a rapidly evolving field with transformative potential across various aspects of our lives and industries. Through its deployment of intricate algorithms designed to eschew bias and optimize legal recruiting, exemplifies the future trajectory of AI in legal spheres, driving efficient, accurate, and inclusive recruitment processes.

Legal Career Growth: Why Continuous Engagement with Legal Recruiters is Key

It is a common misconception that recruiters are only useful during an active job search. While it may be surprising, engaging with a legal recruiter while you’re still content in your current role can bring tremendous value. The help of a skilled legal recruiter can positively impact your career development and set you on the path to a successful and lucrative legal career. Here’s where an informed legal recruiter can help you maintain a competitive edge even if you are not actively job searching:

Unearth Exclusive Market Insights

Lawyers often wonder about the market and how they fit into it. Legal recruiters know the legal market and can provide you with detailed market insight. This can help you conduct periodic career evaluations, irrespective of any immediate intention to lateral. Questions that your legal recruiter can help you answer may include:

  • Is my compensation competitive?
  • How does the future of my practice or niche look?
  • Which legal market resonates best with my expertise?
  • Should I lateral now or later?

Recruiters’ guidance on the market, practice areas, and timing of a career move can ensure that you make transitions at the opportune time and at the peak of your marketability.

Receive a Customized Career Consultation

Lawyers want to do what’s best for their careers, but often find themselves without a knowledgeable professional to guide them. Recruiters recognize that your career is an evolving narrative and understand that your circumstances are unique. Your pressing questions may include:

  • Are you on par with the milestones typical for someone with your experience?
  • Are you strategizing appropriately to increase your odds of becoming a partner?
  • Is your current specialization what you want for the remainder of your legal career?
  • Are you well-positioned to transition to an in-house role?

Every individual’s situation is different and distinct. Recruiters offer targeted guidance and connect you with the best resources tailored to your needs.

Cultivate Connections and Prepare for the Unexpected

Gone are the days when employees stayed at the same company for the duration of their careers. While many attorneys might stay with a firm for a considerable time, a transition is often inevitable. A need for a lateral move may arise from layoffs, economic downturns, non-competitive compensation, a change in firm leadership, or some other occurrence. By nurturing relationships with seasoned legal recruiters, when the unexpected happens, you’re primed with a trusted ally to navigate the shift seamlessly.

Help Your Network

Being content with your firm doesn’t mean your network is. Engaging with recruiters and knowing what is going on in your market positions you to refer someone in your network who may be looking for their next opportunity. Recruiters welcome referrals and you may be able to connect your colleagues, friends, and peers to new and exciting legal opportunities.

Position Yourself for the Golden Opportunity

Perhaps the most enticing reason is the unforeseen “golden opportunity.” Without active searching, irresistible and exclusive opportunities may be brought to your attention — whether it’s an unparalleled work-life balance, an attractive compensation package, or the chance to work at a prestigious law firm. Legal recruiters can connect you to these serendipitous opportunities and it may be exactly what you didn’t know you are looking for.

While your instinct might be to approach recruiters only during active job searches, astute attorneys foster this relationship throughout their careers. Doing so not only provides a competitive edge but also primes them for future legal opportunities. Consider recruiters not just as gateways to new roles but as lifelong partners at every step of your career.

Ready to elevate your legal career? Christine Berger at Lateral Link is a seasoned director with deep insights into the legal profession. Whether you’re considering a move now or in the future, her expertise can be invaluable. Connect with Christine at and position yourself at the forefront of legal opportunities.

The True Cost of Vacancies: Addressing Lost Profits in Law Firm Recruitment Departments

In the distinguished corridors of AM Law 200 law firms, every unoccupied chair symbolizes not just an absence, but a missed revenue opportunity and untapped potential. At the nexus of these esteemed institutions, recruitment departments face the ongoing challenge of converting these vacancies into value. To this end, Haistack – Law Firm presents a transformative solution: our state-of-the-art platform now available via a next-generation SaaS license. This offering goes beyond merely filling seats – it represents a comprehensive overhaul of the recruitment process, optimizing fiscal health and precision. This narrative not only underscores the ramifications of lingering vacancies but spotlights our next-generation SaaS licensing solution, poised to revolutionize legal recruitment and secure the financial future of elite law firms.

The Financial Underpinnings of Open Roles

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

  • Vacancies at junior level (2): Daily Lost Profits – $6,623 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $596,080
  • Vacancies transitioning from junior to mid-level (3): Daily Lost Profits – $10,233 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $920,935
  • Vacancies at mid-level (4): Daily Lost Profits – $13,877 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $1,248,960
  • Vacancies transitioning from mid to senior level (4): Daily Lost Profits – $15,110 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $1,359,935
  • Vacancies at senior level (2): Daily Lost Profits – $7,822 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $703,935
  • Cumulative 90-Day Loss for all levels: $4,829,795

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

  • Vacancies at junior level (3): Daily Lost Profits – $9,935 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $894,135
  • Vacancies transitioning from junior to mid-level (11): Daily Lost Profits – $37,521 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $3,376,935
  • Vacancies at mid-level (8): Daily Lost Profits – $27,753 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $2,497,760
  • Vacancies transitioning from mid to senior level (2): Daily Lost Profits – $7,555 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $679,935
  • Vacancies at senior level (1): Daily Lost Profits – $3,911 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $351,935
  • Cumulative 90-Day Loss for all levels: $7,800,719

Jones Day

  • Vacancies at junior level (15): Daily Lost Profits – $49,675 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $4,470,750
  • Vacancies transitioning from junior to senior level (14): Daily Lost Profits – $47,753 | 90-Day Lost Profits – $4,297,770
  • Cumulative 90-Day Loss for all levels: $8,768,527

Empirical Insights: The Cost of Waiting

To provide a sharper perspective for law firm recruitment departments, consider the following chart illustrating the escalating lost profits based on the duration a position remains vacant:

Days1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th Year5th Year6th Year7th Year8th Year
Days Job Open vs Lost Profits10$31,130$33,116$34,110$34,692$37,774$39,110$40,411$45,103

From a first-year associate to an eighth-year senior, every additional day a role remains unfilled culminates in a substantial financial drain. The implications are clear: swift, precise, and effective recruitment is more crucial than ever.

In the context of these figures, recruitment departments should be leveraging every resource at their disposal. However, where traditional methods might falter, technology holds the promise of a brighter future.

Enter Haistack – Law Firm: The Future of Legal Recruitment

In light of the towering financial repercussions associated with job vacancies, Haistack – Law Firm rises as a paragon of change and innovation in the legal recruitment arena. This state-of-the-art platform transcends traditional job boards, presenting a holistic ecosystem crafted specifically for the intricacies of the legal world. What sets apart?

Precision Targeting: At its core, Haistack – Law Firm employs AI-driven algorithms that deftly pinpoint candidates resonating with a firm’s ethos, areas of practice, and distinctive requirements. This tech-savvy approach dramatically trims recruitment timeframes.

Dynamic Networking: A departure from the passive nature of typical job boards, Haistack – Law Firm champions real-time engagement. The platform offers interactive tools allowing firms and prospective hires to converse instantaneously, nurturing relationships and expediting the hiring sequence.

Future-Ready: Reflective of its forward-thinking design, Haistack – Law Firm’s digital infrastructure is primed to adapt to the ever-evolving recruitment milieu. Amenities like virtual onboarding, digital portfolio assessments, and remote interview coordination are just a few indicators of its alignment with contemporary challenges.

ROI Centric: Time is money. Every day shaved off the recruitment process equals tangible profit. By curbing the duration of vacancies, Haistack – Law Firm has a direct, positive bearing on a firm’s fiscal health.

The legal industry stands at an inflection point. Persistent vacancies and dated hiring processes are proving to be costly oversights. As these costs compound, it’s evident that conventional recruitment avenues are no longer sustainable. The clarion call for change is loud and clear.

A New Era in Legal Recruitment with SaaS Licensing

Amid the swift evolution of the legal sector, the demand for avant-garde recruitment tools becomes paramount. Haistack – Law Firm emerges not just as an embodiment of next-generation AI capabilities but as an accessible gateway through its comprehensive SaaS license. This license grants law firms direct access to our cutting-edge recruiting resources, setting a new gold standard in legal hiring.

In today’s dynamic landscape, traditional hiring tactics fall short. Excellence necessitates the state-of-the-art technology encapsulated within our license. By harnessing the capabilities of Haistack – Law Firm, law firms not only streamline their hiring processes but also gain profound insights from the depth of our data analytics.

Our position is distinct and pivotal: We don’t merely complement; we define the very future of legal recruitment. Firms leveraging our license reap the trifecta benefits: guaranteed desk occupancy, amplified talent acquisition, and finessed financial oversight.

The call to action for forward-looking law firms is unambiguous. Embrace Haistack – Law Firm, tapping into the unmatched prowess of our recruitment platform. To lead in this modern era of legal hiring, visit and secure your license today.

*To ensure transparency, the data showcased reflects projections tied to vacancies at the highlighted firms as of the article’s publication date.*