Tag Archives: legal market

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 cberger@laterallink.com and position yourself at the forefront of legal opportunities.

8 Essential Soft Skills for Legal Professionals in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Fostering Success: Essential Soft Skills for Today’s Legal Professionals

In the rapidly evolving legal market of 2023, legal professionals, both established and aspiring, must go beyond academic laurels and technical prowess. A unique set of abilities, frequently referred to as “soft skills,” is pivotal to success in the legal arena. Drawing from my experiences as a legal recruiter, it’s evident that top firms emphasize these attributes, understanding their significance in interactions with clients, opposing counsel, and fellow team members.

Effective Communication

Effective communication remains foundational in the legal world. It goes beyond the ability to articulate points or draft compelling legal documents. The true essence lies in active listening, clarity in expression, and conveying information with accuracy. Legal professionals are often tasked with understanding intricate issues at a rapid pace and relaying them in an understandable and concise manner to clients, making them feel informed and empowered.

Collaboration and Teamwork

The realm of law is rarely an isolated journey. Actively collaborating, valuing myriad viewpoints, and chipping in toward collective objectives are paramount. Remember, a law firm functions as a cohesive unit; a legal professional’s ability to maneuver within this dynamic, from senior partners to paralegals, sets them apart.

Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, and Understanding

Contrary to the stereotype of the stoic lawyer, emotional intelligence is pivotal. The ability to connect on a human level can shape client relationships and negotiation outcomes.

Organization and Attention to Detail

Navigating the legal sphere means dealing with voluminous data. It’s imperative for professionals to have meticulous organizational acumen and a hawk’s eye for detail. This translates to adeptly handling files, gearing up for hearings, and ensuring even the tiniest data point isn’t overlooked.

Time Management and Patience

Given the weight of projects and pressing timelines, mastering time is a non-negotiable. It’s about setting priorities, adhering to deadlines, and grasping the fine art of delegation. Blending this with patience, professionals can tackle intricate, prolonged matters without undue strain.

Sense of Humor

While it might seem unconventional, humor is a potent tool in law. Not only does it serve as a stress-buster within teams, but it also eases interactions with clients, opposing counsel, and colleagues. A light-hearted jest at the right moment can humanize intense legal discussions.

Leadership Skills

Whether you’re the front-running partner or an associate fresh on the scene, leadership is indispensable. Fostering an environment where all feel inspired and inclined to deliver their best is the hallmark of true leaders.

Acting with Integrity

Topping off the list, integrity remains the legal profession’s bedrock. It’s not just about aligning with professional standards; it’s about earning the unwavering trust and respect of clients, peers, and the judiciary.

In 2023’s demanding legal arena, while technical mastery holds weight, it’s these soft skills that delineate the elite from the crowd. Embracing and honing these attributes is the key to being a well-rounded legal professional in today’s competitive world.

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.

Navigating Attorney Lateral Moves: Key Trends Shaping Today’s Legal Landscape

The legal landscape is continuously evolving, and Lateral Link’s extensive research into the trends and shifts in the United States’ legal market offers valuable insights. As we explore these findings, we’ll discuss the implications for both law firms and individual attorneys while highlighting specific firms that have been active in the lateral market.

Talent Wars: The Surge in Partner Hires

Between 2021, and the end of 2022, Am Law 200 firms made waves by hiring over 3,600 new partners. These talent wars at the partner and associate levels were the talk of 2022, but the origin of these new partners captured even more interest. For example, Latham & Watkins, and Kirkland & Ellis have been particularly active in recruiting lateral hires, reflecting a broader trend of expansion and increased competition for top talent. Across the Am Law 200, nearly 30% of all partner additions came from unranked firms, while just 12% came from Am Law’s Second Hundred firms.

Interestingly, Tier 1 Am Law firms (firms ranked 1-50 in the 2022 Am Law 200) primarily sourced new partner hires from Am Law 100 firms (59%). For instance, Paul Weiss and Skadden have strengthened their presence in the New York market, while Cooley and Morrison & Foerster have been active in expanding their teams in California. These top-tier firms added more new partners from unranked firms (11%) than from Am Law Second Hundred firms (9%).

Geographical Insights and Gender Dynamics

New York, Washington, D.C., and London remained the most active markets for partner hires. However, the percentage of Am Law 200 partner hires in emerging legal hubs such as Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Austin exceeded 10% of all Am Law 200 partners in each market, indicating growth in these regions. Firms like DLA Piper and Baker McKenzie have made significant hires in the Corporate sector, while Wilson Sonsini and Fish & Richardson have bolstered their Intellectual Property practices.

In terms of gender dynamics, men accounted for seven out of every ten partner hires. Notably, 78% of all women partner hires were made by Am Law 100 firms, demonstrating a potential focus on diversity and inclusion within these top-tier organizations.

Report Breakdown: Hiring Metrics

The report provides a detailed breakdown of hiring practices based on Am Law ranking tiers, Revenue Per Lawyer (RPL), Profit Per Equity Partner (PEP), and gender-based metrics. By examining these hiring trends, law firms can gain valuable insights into the competitive landscape and make strategic decisions to strengthen their market presence and service offerings.

Implications for Law Firms and Attorneys

The data from Lateral Link’s research has several implications for law firms and attorneys.

Strategic growth and competition: The increase in lateral moves highlights the need for law firms to plan strategically to remain competitive. By expanding their practice areas and market presence, firms can better position themselves in the evolving legal landscape.

Talent acquisition and retention: As competition for top talent intensifies, law firms need to prioritize both talent acquisition and retention. This can be achieved through competitive compensation packages, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities.

The importance of diversity and inclusion: With an increased focus on hiring, law firms must also prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives to attract and retain a diverse pool of attorneys.

Emerging legal markets: As the legal industry continues to grow and change, law firms must keep an eye on emerging markets such as Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Austin, and adapt their strategies to capitalize on new opportunities in these regions.

Navigating attorney lateral moves and understanding the key trends impacting law firms and legal professionals today are essential for success in the ever-changing legal landscape. By recognizing growth in specific practice areas, geographical hotspots, and the increasing demand for in-house and government roles, law firms and attorneys can adapt and thrive in the evolving market.

Embracing technology and innovation: Law firms need to keep up with advancements in technology and leverage innovative solutions to streamline operations, enhance client services, and stay ahead of the competition. Firms like Orrick and Reed Smith have been particularly proactive in incorporating technology and innovation in their practices.

Cross-border opportunities: With globalization and the expansion of multinational businesses, law firms must focus on cross-border transactions and disputes, and develop a diverse team with the ability to work seamlessly across jurisdictions. Firms like White & Case and Baker McKenzie have established themselves as global players by expanding their cross-border capabilities.

Focus on client needs: As clients’ needs become increasingly complex and specialized, law firms must develop niche practice areas and expertise to cater to these demands. For example, Winston & Strawn have developed a strong expertise in antitrust and sports law, while Ropes & Gray have made a name for themselves in private equity and asset management.

Collaborative culture: Creating a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing is crucial for law firms to foster innovation and deliver better results for clients. Firms like Goodwin Procter and Hogan Lovells have embraced a collaborative approach, enabling them to provide comprehensive solutions to clients across various industries.

Succession planning: Law firms must have a long-term vision and plan for the future, including effective succession planning and leadership development. By grooming the next generation of leaders, firms like Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and Sullivan & Cromwell can ensure a smooth transition and continued growth.

Understanding the key trends and adapting to the dynamic legal landscape is crucial for law firms and legal professionals to remain competitive and successful. By being proactive in their approach to talent acquisition, retention, diversity, inclusion, and strategic growth, law firms can rise to the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead in the ever-evolving legal market. As you navigate these challenges and opportunities, Lateral Link is here to guide you through your journey, offering expert advice and professional support to help you make the best decisions for your career and practice. With a deep understanding of the industry’s complexities and trends, Lateral Link is your trusted partner in shaping your future in the legal profession.