Tag Archives: professional development

Lateral Search Dos and Don’ts: Tips from Both Sides of the Lateral Coin

Moving firms is a laborious and time-consuming task. Without assistance, your search may sputter and stall. Legal recruiters were instrumental in my two lateral moves, each significantly boosting my compensation and firm prestige. Trying to make these moves independently proved fruitless, underlining the importance of a skilled recruiter.

Choosing the Right Legal Recruiter

As a practicing attorney, I responded to recruiter emails based primarily on the opportunities they presented, often lured by promises of higher compensation, better hours, or work in fields like entertainment, sports, or cyber law. My criteria were simple: (a) an appealing opportunity, and (b) the recruiter graduated law school. Beyond that, I did minimal research.

This approach was too simplistic. A good recruiter acts as your agent, providing practical advice and actively advancing your career goals, rather than merely seeking a quick placement. Essentially, recruiters are brokers, introducing you to firms potentially interested in hiring you. This is a crucial perspective to maintain.

Recruiters sometimes need to temper your unrealistic goals, while other times, they make your dreams a reality, depending on the situation.

Dos and Don’ts from My Experiences

From my journey as an associate using recruiters and now being one, here are some key dos and don’ts:

  • Do review your recruiter’s LinkedIn, website, and articles. A quick check can reveal much about their resources and approach.
  • Don’t choose a recruiter solely for their pedigree. While pedigree can indicate industry knowledge and competence, some of the best recruiters at Lateral Link, for example, don’t have a law school background.
  • Do collaborate with recruiters who align with your career aspirations yet remain realistic about your goals. They should be knowledgeable about the market and provide insightful guidance. That means knowing when to go for it and when to ground expectations in reality. 
  • Don’t work with recruiters who are not solution-focused or try to push you into roles they’re trying to fill. Your lateral search should be a collaborative effort with a recruiter who supports your journey and guides you through the process.
  • Do be judicious about sharing your application materials. A reliable recruiter only submits your application to firms you’ve approved, avoiding potential issues and application conflicts.
  • Don’t engage with too many recruiters simultaneously. This can lead to confusion and difficulties in managing submissions, as well as weakening your position in offer negotiations.
  • Do choose a responsive recruiter who keeps you regularly updated. Navigating job changes is challenging, and a good recruiter will ensure you’re well informed throughout the process.
  • Do work with recruiters who take the time to understand your practice area, history, and preferences, and who prepare you effectively for interviews.
  • Do ask recruiters about their motivations. Some are genuinely passionate about their work, while others may be primarily driven by financial gain. Make your choice accordingly.

Having been both a lateral associate and a recruiter, I’ve gained valuable insights into the process. Moving firms is challenging and stressful, but with the right recruiter, it can be as seamless and stress-free as possible. 

Charting Your Course: An In-Depth Resource for Law Students Navigating Multiple Job Offers

Embarking on the journey of a law student entails numerous critical choices, of which, selecting among multiple summer associate or first-year associate propositions stands paramount. At Lateral Link, we appreciate the significance of this decision. Our crew of seasoned legal talent finders, many of whom have trodden the path of summer associates themselves, impart a profound knowledge base and guidance, empowering you to make an enlightened choice.

Assessing Law Firm Offers Beyond the Facade of Rankings

Though rankings may shed some light on a firm’s accomplishments, they can inadvertently offer a skewed perspective. Abby Gordon, co-director of our Northeast associate recruitment division and a past summer associate and associate at Cleary Gottlieb, articulates this concept as, “Choosing a firm transcends mere rankings. While the prestige of your first firm undeniably paves the way for future career opportunities, there is more to it. It equally revolves around identifying the perfect alignment for your ambitions, interests, and ethical values.” Scrutinizing a firm’s work environment, stability, and resonance with your career aspirations is indispensable. For further insights on firm selection, refer to Abby’s counsel in a past ATL piece.

Holistic Evaluation of Influencing Variables

“Approach your opportunities with a comprehensive perspective, taking into account your immediate and long-term personal and professional objectives,” recommends Matt Bennett, a California-based Lateral Link recruiter, USC Gould School of Law graduate, and previous summer associate at Snell & Wilmer. “I consistently encourage candidates to strategize their thinking, to not just fixate on whether they fancy a firm’s current practice, and this mindset can be immensely beneficial to newly minted attorneys fresh from law school. Delve into the firm’s culture, geographical presence, practice domains, mentorship programs, benefits, work-life equilibrium, partnership prospects, hourly obligations, remuneration, and incentives. Consider the professional relationships that you can cultivate in the firm and their potential trajectory. These are critical considerations, especially when you are just initiating your legal career and lack the foresight that experience gifts. Extend your thinking beyond macro-level professional objectives: contemplate how the attributes of a firm might facilitate your short and long-term personal and lifestyle objectives. Endeavor to envision your evolving work and life aspirations as time progresses,” Bennett elaborates. Scrutinize whether the firm champions diversity, nurtures a collegial atmosphere, and offers pro bono opportunities, particularly if these aspects are valuable to you.

Tailored Guidance from Lateral Link Recruiters

Our recruiters understand the intricacies involved in choosing between multiple offers. “Lateral Link’s team consists of past attorneys and law firm recruiters. We can offer personalized advice drawn from our market knowledge, firm-specific intel, and industry connections,” shares Amy Langan, Manager of Professional Development & Law School Relations. To encourage a comprehensive dialogue about your career trajectory, Lateral Link extends a complimentary 15-minute discussion to address law students’ queries and offer direction.

The Impact of Your First Law Firm

Your inaugural law firm can exert a substantial impact on your legal career’s trajectory. To demonstrate this, Gloria Cannon, our Managing Principal, recites her experience from her law school OCI tenure:

“After deliberating offers from numerous Am Law 200 firms, I chose to spend my 2L summer at Milbank’s LA office, where I was exposed to corporate, real estate, litigation, and bankruptcy/financial restructuring practices. After my law school graduation, I joined Milbank’s financial restructuring team due to its esteemed reputation, cordial culture, and the size of the group, which allowed me to swiftly take on significant responsibilities with extensive client interactions.

One of our primary clients was Oaktree Capital Management, a distinguished Los Angeles-based asset management firm, for whom I executed a considerable amount of work. Consequently, during my 5th year, Oaktree’s General Counsel directly invited me to join their in-house legal team. I wouldn’t have encountered this fantastic in-house opportunity had I not been a summer associate at Milbank.”

This anecdote underlines the delicate dynamics involved in deciding between multiple offers – the decision transcends the work type and encapsulates firm culture, training, and long-term career opportunities.

Deciding on Your Legal Career’s Initial Steps

The decision should reflect your career ambitions, personal values, and lifestyle preferences. While mentors, professors, and recruiters can extend guidance, the ultimate decision rests with you. “Refrain from focusing on prestige or peer choices. Prioritize the decision that best aligns with your future goals. Apart from the numerous variables to consider, trust your intuition when assessing firms and the lawyers you have interacted with during interviews or over the summer,” advises Langan, a former recruiter for multiple Am Law 200 firms.

Perceiving the Broader Career Landscape

The path to a triumphant legal career comprises diverse opportunities. Each decision you make contributes to your comprehensive career evolution. While the choice of your first firm is unquestionably critical, it is merely one of the many vital decisions that will sculpt your legal career.

Lateral Link recruiters are dedicated to assisting law students in navigating multiple offer decisions. We are at your side throughout this journey, ensuring your choices align with your career objectives and personal ethics, enabling you to make the most advantageous choice for your future legal profession.

If you wish to connect with one of our recruiters to discuss your offer options, please contact Amy Langan at alangan@laterallink.com or via LinkedIn.

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.

Navigating the Legal Industry: In-Depth Guide for Law Students and Legal Practitioners

Embarking on a legal career can be both challenging and rewarding. This comprehensive guide delves into law school, selecting a law firm, law firm life, the lateral market, and maintaining a successful career throughout. By understanding the intricacies of each aspect, you can make more informed decisions and excel in your legal profession.

Prioritize Your Law School Grades: Strong academic performance in law school is crucial for securing prestigious summer associate positions that can lead to permanent roles. Maintaining high grades throughout law school is important, as second- and third-year grades can impact lateral moves or in-house opportunities, especially for litigators. Prospective employers will request your transcript when applying for lateral attorney positions and, in some cases, even for partner candidates.

Consider a Federal Clerkship for Litigators: Aspiring litigators should consider the value of a federal clerkship, as it can enhance your legal career, particularly if you plan to work in a litigation boutique or prestigious law firm. A clerkship can be completed before starting your legal career or as a break from law firm work. For corporate associates, a clerkship may not hold the same weight and might not count towards your years of experience.

Choose a Prestigious Law Firm: The prestige of the law firm where you begin your career plays a significant role in your ability to lateral to another firm or move to a company. While smaller firms may offer better hands-on experience and training, prospective employers often prioritize candidates with experience in prestigious firms.

Select the Right Practice Area: Choosing the right practice area involves considering factors such as your personality, lifestyle, academic background, geographic preferences, and future goals. Assess whether you enjoy the substance of the work, can handle the personalities and work culture in a specific practice area, and have the necessary educational background and aptitude.

Understand Law Firm Structures: Understanding law firm structures, such as lockstep firms and two-tier partnership tracks, is essential when making career decisions. Lockstep firms may foster cooperation and have more institutional clients, while two-tier partnership tracks can offer opportunities to prove your worth as a business-building partner.

Manage Your Professional Development: Take charge of your professional development, as law firms may not always prioritize your long-term growth. Be proactive in seeking opportunities for growth and learning within the firm and externally, such as attending workshops, conferences, and networking events.

Stay Informed in Your Field: Stay updated on the latest firm and industry news to remain competitive and knowledgeable about your field. Be aware of emerging practice areas, firm financial performance, and potential opportunities for growth or lateral moves.

Prepare for the Lateral Market: The lateral market requires you to ensure your résumé, deal sheet, and firm bio are always up to date and easy to understand. Having a clear record of your experience and accomplishments can increase your chances of being contacted by recruiters and considered for lateral opportunities.

Invest Time in Interview Preparation: Invest time in preparing for interviews, researching the firm or company, and practicing common interview questions. Maintain a positive attitude during the interview process, avoiding negativity or complaints about current or former employers. Respond promptly to interview requests to convey interest and enthusiasm.

By understanding the intricacies of law school, selecting the right law firm, and navigating the legal industry, you can make more informed decisions and thrive in your legal career. Keep these tips in mind as you progress through your journey and remember to be proactive in managing your professional development.

7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Law Firm: A Comprehensive Guide for Legal Professionals

The legal industry has evolved significantly, and selecting the right law firm requires careful consideration of various factors. In this comprehensive guide, we present an updated and detailed analysis of the 7 key factors to consider when choosing a law firm in the competitive legal and recruiting market, supported by relevant data and statistics to help you make an informed decision.

Firm Size: Assessing the Work Environment and Opportunities

When evaluating a law firm, size plays a crucial role in determining the work environment and available opportunities. Large firms (Am Law 100 and 200) typically offer a broader range of practice areas and represent 81% of total revenue generated by the top 200 law firms in the U.S. However, they may also involve longer hours, with over 60% of associates working more than 50 hours per week on average. Smaller boutique firms and regional firms may provide a more intimate work setting, focused expertise, and better work-life balance. Consider your preferences and evaluate which size firm aligns with your legal career goals.

Practice Area Focus: Identifying Firms with Strong Practice Groups

Certain practice areas are experiencing significant growth. For instance, the global data privacy market is expected to reach $158.2 billion by 2027, and intellectual property filings have increased by 10.2% in recent years. It’s crucial to identify law firms with strong practice groups in your area of interest, as this can impact your professional development and long-term career prospects. Research each firm’s reputation and track record within your chosen practice area to make an informed decision.

Firm Culture: The Importance of Diversity, Inclusion, and Work-Life Balance

Firm culture has become increasingly important, as law firms recognize the value of a healthy work environment in retaining top legal talent. According to a survey by the American Bar Association, firms with diverse and inclusive environments report higher retention rates and overall satisfaction. Investigate the firm’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and work-life balance, and assess whether the firm’s values align with your own. Speak to current and former employees and attend legal networking events to get a feel for the company culture.

Compensation and Benefits: Evaluating Competitive Law Firm Salaries

Compensation remains a critical factor when choosing a law firm. The median salary for first-year associates at large law firms is $190,000, while smaller firms may provide competitive compensation based on their niche expertise or regional market strength. In addition to base salary, evaluate benefits such as bonuses, retirement plans, and health insurance to make a comprehensive assessment of the firm’s compensation structure.

Location: The Impact of Geographical Presence on Your Legal Career

Remote work has become increasingly common in the legal industry, with 74% of law firms offering flexible work arrangements. However, a firm’s geographical presence still plays a significant role in shaping your career. Major legal markets provide access to prestigious clients and high-profile cases, while smaller markets may offer lower costs of living and a better work-life balance. Consider your personal preferences and long-term goals when evaluating a law firm’s location.

Professional Development and Mentorship: The Key to a Successful Legal Career

Law firms that prioritize professional development and mentorship tend to have higher retention rates and more satisfied attorneys. A study by the NALP Foundation found that firms with structured mentoring programs have a 20% higher associate retention rate after three years. Investigate each firm’s commitment to training, continuing education, and mentorship programs to ensure a supportive environment for building a successful legal career.

Partnership Prospects: Assessing Your Long-Term Career Trajectory

As you advance in your legal career, partnership prospects may become increasingly important. According to the American Lawyer, the average time to partnership at large law firms is approximately 8.2 years. Assess each firm’s partnership track, including the average time to partnership, the firm’s expectations for partner candidates, and the overall partnership structure (e.g., equity vs. non-equity partners). A transparent and well-articulated partnership track can impact your long-term career trajectory and financial success.

In Conclusion: Navigating the Legal Landscape with Confidence

Choosing the right law firm requires thorough research and consideration of various factors. By evaluating firm size, practice area focus, firm culture, compensation and benefits, location, professional development and mentorship, and partnership prospects, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your personal and professional goals. The legal landscape is continuously evolving, and understanding the nuances of each firm can help you navigate your career more effectively.

As you embark on your legal career, remember that selecting the right law firm is just the first step. Staying up-to-date with industry trends and developments, networking, and continually reassessing your goals will help you remain adaptable and successful in the ever-changing legal market. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from industry experts and peers, as they can provide valuable insights and support throughout your career journey. If you’re looking for personalized assistance in finding the right law firm or making a strategic career move, consider reaching out to Lateral Link. Our experienced legal recruiters can provide invaluable advice and connect you with opportunities that align with your professional aspirations. Visit Lateral Link’s website today to learn more about how we can support you in navigating the complex legal landscape and propel your career forward.