Tag Archives: legal networking

Government Attorneys: Strategies to Elevate Your BigLaw Prospects

Government attorneys are in demand, and several prominent law firms have recently hired former government attorneys. If you are a government attorney considering a transition to the private sector, understanding how to leverage your background to strengthen your candidacy is crucial. Here are a few tips to strengthen your BigLaw prospects.

Develop High-Level Expertise

Many attorneys are drawn to government practice not just to serve the public, but also to take on high levels of responsibility earlier in their career than attorneys in private practice. The higher the level of responsibility you have handled, the more attractive you will be to most law firms. Seize opportunities to lead projects, appear in court, negotiate settlements, craft new rules, attend training sessions – your advanced skills will set you apart from the competition.

Also, seek out an experience that gives you a unique insight into government policies and priorities. Firms and clients appreciate that insight because you will be able to help them more effectively navigate (what seems to be constantly evolving) legal frameworks.

You may also be able to leverage your expertise to earn promotions, which may make you more appealing to potential firms, especially at the partner level. Senior positions also enhance your credibility with future clients.

Build Relationships

This is one of the most rewarding aspects of practicing law for many attorneys. It is also crucial for government attorneys who are interested in partnership options. Firms appreciate your relationships in part because they demonstrate that you are thinking ahead about developing business, and that you are honing the soft skills needed to build a successful practice. 

So where do you build these relationships as a government attorney? While you are not in a position to wine and dine potential clients, you still have a universe of options. Start by fostering relationships with your government colleagues. If your colleagues leave they may become clients if they move in house, or referral sources when they join other firms. You also have opportunities to build relationships with professionals you meet at government events, departmental training sessions, and conferences. Consider joining the ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division to meet even more people. Even working across the table from opposing counsel presents the opportunity to get to know key players in your space.

Focus on Relevant Practice Areas

If your long-term goal is a move to private practice, focus on a practice area that not only inspires you but also aligns with the kind of firm you want to join. You will have more options if you are interested in areas where top firms have thriving practices. For 2024, we predict that litigation, antitrust, white-collar, corporate, energy, and intellectual property will continue to thrive. In contrast, specializing in niche areas like First Amendment law may limit the range of options available to you. That said, you will ultimately commit to one firm. Therefore, the volume of exit opportunities might be just one factor for you to consider.

Plan Ahead

Strategically planning ahead increases the likelihood of a successful search. Not only does it take time to craft persuasive application materials, but you also need to take the market for government attorneys into consideration. This year, for instance, it is important to be mindful of the electoral cycle. A surge of government candidates after elections can lead to heightened competition. Positions may also be limited at that point; historically, many firms complete their searches for government attorneys well before an election. 

You also need time to find the firms that align with your practice areas, work style, and personal and professional goals. A legal recruiter who has deep relationships with firms can help you on that front; they will know which practices are thriving, which firms are hiring, and can play a pivotal role in guiding you to the firms with platforms that best match your aspirations. The earlier you reach out to a recruiter, the better they will be able to help you with your search.

For personalized guidance and insights specific to your career path, connect with me, Amy Savage, at asavage@laterallink.com. Your next career move awaits, and we are here to support you every step of the way.

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.