Tag Archives: Law Firm Opportunities

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.

Government Attorneys: You Owe It to Yourself to Test the Market

Good news for government attorneys! Demand for your skills is off the charts. High-level government attorneys have recently joined Cravath, Sidley Austin, Skadden, Cleary, Kirkland, Jenner, Arnold & Porter, Mayer Brown, and Boies Schiller, among other firms. If you are a government attorney, now could be the time for you to make a lateral move to private practice.

The Surge in Hiring

Government attorneys are getting more traction with firms than at the same time last year.  Here’s why:

  • Client Demand: As companies grapple with recent changes to the regulatory landscape, they need attorneys with government expertise. That demand is fueling the current hiring boom.
  • Strategic Timing for Attorneys: If you joined the government at the beginning of the term, you have accumulated significant experience with the current administration, which few attorneys at firms can offer. This translates into immediate value for a firm and their clients. Equally important, the third year of a presidential term is a golden period to leap into private practice. Attorneys who move in year three often secure better positions with more prestigious firms and higher guaranteed compensation than attorneys who join the crowd making a rush for the exit at the end of a term.

Government Attorneys Offer Valuable Expertise

The experience you have gained in government is a scarce and valuable resource. Specifically:

  • Shapers of Policy: Whether as political appointees or career officials, recent government attorneys have played pivotal roles in shaping current policy shifts. Firms value your perspective on agency priorities and the nuances of fresh regulations.
  • Guiding through Uncertainties: In an era when new rules have emerged but few cases set precedents, businesses are in unfamiliar territories. If you have just left a government role, your fresh insights are pivotal in helping companies understand and navigate this new regulatory environment, especially in sectors where regulatory history is sparse.

The Risk of Limiting Your Options

Too often government attorneys consider only one firm when they move to private practice – perhaps returning to their prior firm, or in response to a direct call from a law firm. 

  • Easier is Not Always Better: It is flattering to get the call asking you to return to your old firm, or when a practice chair reaches out to invite you to an interview. It can be efficient, but remind yourself of the potential cost. Saying “yes” might mean missing out on a better opportunity elsewhere. 
  • Keep Your Options Open: Another firm may provide a stronger platform for you, have a stronger track record of success with former government attorneys, offer more compensation, present a better title, or promise more powerful leadership opportunities. 

How to Efficiently Navigate the Market

Transitioning from government to private practice presents distinct challenges. 

  • Unique Concerns: Government attorneys have different guidelines than law firm attorneys when it comes to issues like recusals, profit sharing when joining a firm, appearing before agencies following departure, aspects of confidentiality, and much more. You also need to understand how to develop a business plan while having no immediately portable business. 
  • The Right Recruiter: Find a respected recruiter known for working with government officials. The right recruiter will identify the firms interested in government attorneys in your practice area; and will also help you navigate issues unique to government attorneys, simplify the process, save you time, ensure a more effective search, and help you secure a better result than you can on your own. 

Next Steps

If you are a government attorney contemplating a lateral move to the private sector, there’s no better time than now. Your expertise is a sought-after commodity, and with the right guidance, joining  a law firm could help you take your practice to the next level. Navigating this transition, however, requires not just expertise but strategic guidance to ensure that the move aligns with both immediate goals and long-term career aspirations.

Looking to make a move? Connect with Amy Savage, Chair of our Government Enforcement & Regulatory Group, and the Lateral Link team to explore a brighter horizon and ensure your next step is the right one. Your potential, our expertise—let’s chart your future together.

Mastering Lateral Hiring Interviews for Your Legal Career: Essential Strategies and Insights

Understanding the Importance of Lateral Hiring Interviews

Navigating the complex web of the legal profession often leads to lateral hiring interviews, a key component of legal career progression. As a managing partner of a prominent Houston law firm highlights, the lateral hiring market remains exceptionally strong. Consequently, mastering these interviews is crucial for those looking to achieve notable advancement in their legal career. These interviews markedly differ from entry-level or on-campus interviews, requiring distinct preparation strategies to maximize success.

Prioritizing Practical Legal Expertise in Lateral Interviews

During these lateral hiring interviews, your practical legal expertise takes center stage. As one Houston law firm managing partner shares, “The deal sheet gets more attention from us than the resume.” However, there’s no need to fret over intricate legal questions as these are seldom asked. Instead, the focus shifts to your professional background, predominantly your legal resume and your past legal experiences, or case history. A thorough review of past cases and clearly articulating your unique role and contributions becomes a fundamental preparation step.

Crafting an Effective Deal Sheet for Lateral Interviews

Assembling a well-structured list of past cases, also known as a “deal sheet” in legal terminology, can significantly enhance your professional profile. Drawing insights from a corporate and securities partner from a renowned New York law firm, focus on three essential aspects when crafting this list: format, substance, and length.

  1. Format: Interviewers often favor case lists arranged by transaction type rather than chronological order. Use this preference to your advantage by placing your most notable legal cases at the top of each category.
  2. Substance: Replace generic terms such as “client” with more specific descriptions, as advised by legal professionals. Highlight aspects that align with the interviewing law firm’s key practice areas and elaborate on your role and contributions.
  3. Length: A comprehensive list that reflects the wide scope of your legal work is typically more appealing than a limited selection of cases.

Upholding Professionalism During Legal Interviews

Despite the evolving workplace norms and a casual attire trend, a formal approach is generally expected during law firm interviews. As one Houston-based law firm partner points out, “Most law firm hirers still expect professional attire because their clients still expect professional attire.”

Conducting Thorough Background Research

Performing background research about the potential law firm employer is another critical preparation step for lateral hiring interviews. Familiarize yourself with the firm’s unique strengths, its distinctive attributes, and the specifics of the department or group you’re interviewing with to leave a positive impression.

Harnessing Effective Communication Skills

Clear and concise articulation is a vital skill that interviewers assess during the hiring process. This skill is especially valued in law firms where associates are expected to interact with budget-conscious clients early in their careers, as per insights from a New York-based law firm partner.

Explaining Your Interest in the Firm

When asked about your interest in the firm, well-thought-out answers are appreciated. Possible reasons may include the desire to specialize in a domain not available at your current firm, the aspiration to diversify your client base, or positive feedback about the firm’s culture.

Evaluating the Prospective Law Firm

Lastly, remember that a lateral hiring interview also provides you with the opportunity to assess the law firm and its professionals. The prospect of mentorship, which is particularly important for junior attorneys, should be part of your evaluation. A partner from a Houston law firm points out that this doesn’t just mean a formal mentorship program, but also assessing whether the interviewers seem supportive of junior colleagues’ professional growth.

Choosing the Right Law Firm for You

Different law firms have unique selling propositions. A partner from a prominent Texas law firm suggests considering firms that emphasize their growth trajectory, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to nurturing junior attorneys. Others, as a partner from a renowned New York law firm highlights, may accentuate their unique culture, molded by their client base, and the opportunities available to associates. Recognizing these unique traits and the growth potential within such firms can aid in your lateral career progression in the legal profession.

Making the Most of Your Legal Career

Ready to take the next step in your legal career? Leverage this guide on lateral hiring interviews to make a positive impression and increase your chances of success. For more resources on lateral hiring and to explore potential opportunities, connect with a Lateral Link industry expert today.