How Long Will My Law Firm Search Take?

While in-house searches are notorious for taking their own sweet time, law firm searches, in comparison, move at lightning speed. Two rounds and you’re done, right? Not always. If you are looking to lateral as an associate, your search could be completed from start to finish in a matter of weeks. However, if you are a Counsel or Partner, expect your search to take many weeks or months. This time is necessary in considering a major career decision – take it! Luckily, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.

I recently worked with a Partner who had her first lunch with a top-tier law firm in September 2016. Seven months later, after many in-person meetings and conference calls, she received an offer. A Counsel I just placed first interviewed with his new firm in November 2016 and was given an offer in April 2017. In my experience, neither of these situations is unusual. In both instances, my candidates needed patience and stamina. I was happy to advise them throughout their long searches.

Moving law firms when you are a Counsel or Partner takes time for a number of reasons. Candidates will interview with many or all Partners in the related law firm department. You will also need to be vetted by members of the firm’s senior management committee. If you are being considered by a large firm, you might also travel to meet decision makers in offices around the US or the world. All of this happens while you (most likely) have a full time job to handle. It’s not easy to juggle so many demands on your time. However, it is also to your benefit to spend as much time as possible with a firm you are considering joining. You should know who your future Partners are and what they will be like to work with. A good recruiter will help manage the interview process so that it runs as smoothly as possible and will take into account the demands of your current position.

If you have come to the conclusion that it is time for you to change law firms, prepare yourself for the time commitment you will be making. Take a deep breath and acknowledge that while moving at a senior level won’t likely happen quickly, if you are willing to invest the time, hopefully you will have the opportunity to join a firm that enables you to truly advance your legal career. If you would like to talk to me about how I might be able to help with your search, please call me at 212-328-6183.

What’s Left in Your Wallet?

We are each born with a deposit in our bank accounts.
The deposit is TIME!

We don’t know how big the deposit is, but we do know that each day there is a debit from the account. Awareness of this should embolden each of us to spend our deposit wisely and consciously, in both our personal and professional lives.

When it comes to the precious time you spend at work, it is a deliberate, fully thought-out professional life that maximizes our potential for success and fulfillment.

Don’t delay examining your career and your current employment situation. Ask yourself: Am I spending my time wisely? Am I happy? Am I appreciated? Does my current position satisfy my intellectual, emotional and economic goals?

We cannot redeposit time poorly spent, nor can we “go backwards” and recover wasted time. Our careers take up an incredible amount of our deposited time, so it is very important that our careers be meaningful to each of us.

Contact me via email at lwiesenthal@cmwsearch.com to talk about spending your personal deposit of time with joy and wisdom.

You Love Your Firm, But Your Practice and Compensation are Stuck

“I respect and enjoy my partners but my personal practice is not growing at the firm.”
— Too many attorneys

As a legal recruiter I have often heard from attorneys who find themselves in this very quandary.  This is a tough situation especially if you feel guilty about considering a move.  At the same time it may be impossible to grow your practice if you stay put.

My advice in this situation is dependent on whether you are generating your own work and how important it is to you to have your own clients. These are important considerations from the perspectives of both compensation and personal fulfillment. If your compensation is dependent on your personal generation of revenues, then it is important to identify a platform that is conducive to the continued growth of your practice.

As you search for that platform, keep in mind that there may be another firm out there that has already invested in your practice area, with resulting synergies that can propel your practice to a new level.  Engaging with such a firm will facilitate growing your practice and will result in enhanced compensation and ultimately great personal and professional satisfaction.  You may naturally grow into a leadership role as a result.

In order to achieve your goals it is important to develop a relationship with a trusted advisor who understands the market. Create a partnership so that you can stay abreast of opportunities that are worth your time to consider.

Consider this road map to guide your analysis:

  1. Am I the only (or one of a very few) partner(s) in my practice area at the firm (in my office)?
  2. Do I generate most of my own work?
  3. Do other partners need my expertise?
  4. Am I invited to joint pitches for clients of the firm?
  5. When I analyze my “numbers”, are my billable hours directly relatable to my originated clients?
  6. Does my compensation directly relate to my client originated revenues?
  7. I think I could generate more work and develop more clients if the platform was deeper within my expertise?
  8. I think I have a desire to grow my practice, increase my compensation and my exposure within my industry?

Now please take one more moment and give us, CMW Legal Search, a call to discuss the market as it relates specifically to your stated goals!  Our number is (212) 328-6180.

So You Want To Go In-House…

In my years of legal recruiting, the number one question I’ve heard from law firm associates is, “How can I find an in-house job?”

I wish there were an easy answer. Even associates at top firms can find it challenging to land a fantastic in-house opportunity. However, I can share a few general resume tips based on feedback from our corporate clients that will help you write your best resume and hopefully get that first interview.

Resume Dos:

  • A straightforward, easy to read and well-organized one- or two-page resume
  • Descriptions that emphasize your experience most relevant to the opportunity at hand
  • A deal sheet that lists the projects you took the greatest responsibility on, are the highest profile and broadly representative of your practice

Resume Don’ts:

  • Fancy fonts
  • Heavy, cream-colored resume paper
  • 5-page deal sheets
  • Text so dense that only a law school professor would bother reading it

And here’s another tip: I am currently working on a number of excellent in-house opportunities.

If you are considering making a move and one of these jobs sounds like a good fit for you and your experience, I’d love to hear from you!

Please send me an email at jdemasi@cmwsearch.com or send me an InMail via LinkedIn, so we can set up a time to talk.

Headhunter and Matchmaker

Recruiting is a relationship business. In my experience, the best headhunters are like great matchmakers because they personally know the individuals involved and understand what will make a happy union.

Here are a few relationship phrases that I use frequently with candidates and clients alike:

  1. Love at First Sight. That karmic connection when candidate and client have a meeting of the minds. While this may not lead to a permanent match, when the skill set and personalities just fit, it is a great place to start.
  2. You Only Need One Groom/Bride.  There are advantages to having more than one finalist for a job or in landing multiple offers, but in the end, you only need one great match.
  3. Be Yourself. As a candidate you should put your best foot forward in an interview, but you also need to be genuine. Don’t pretend to be a formal, buttoned-up personality if you aren’t. Long-term career happiness comes from having a job where you can be successful by being yourself.

Don’t forget the personal, relationship aspect to your job search or hiring. I hope that these three points will help guide your search. If you would like to talk to me about how to move forward in your legal career or if you are in the market for a great lawyer, please send me an email at jdemasi@cmwsearch.com or send me an InMail via LinkedIn, so we can set up a time to talk. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Success = Opportunity + Skills

Matching the right opportunity with your well-developed and specific skills is the key to a successful and rewarding career.  That sounds easy, right?  However, the truth is that it takes bravery and an openness to the market.

If you are unhappy with your current position because you are not challenged, or you feel unappreciated, or there isn’t a clear path for advancement, get to know your market!  If you feel that your best attributes (i.e. specific expertise in a discreet practice area, business development) are not being rewarded or realized, you owe it to yourself to understand if your highest potential can be realized on a different platform.

I recently worked with someone who was a non-equity partner at a small firm with unpredictable profitability. Although this attorney was highly regarded, she was frustrated that there was no room in the group for a new equity partner. Therefore, her professional growth and compensation were capped. I presented an opportunity within a high profile group in a profitable firm. This opportunity was precisely suited to her skill set and it resulted in an immediate and positive career advancement, including compensation, status and professional growth. The group in the new firm “needed” her and therefore the compensation and status reflected that need.

Take control of your career and your potential. Call a trusted recruiter to know your market. Most importantly, be open to an opportunity that feels right and speaks to your personal advancement and then take the leap. Trust yourself and your skills!

After-Bonus Resolutions

The holidays are over. The champagne has been drunk. Most law firms have paid out their year-end bonuses. Now what? Whether you typically are a New Year’s Resolution maker or not, I’d like to suggest that you make one work-related, shall we call it, After-Bonus Resolution, for 2017.

Your resolution can be made whether you are happy or unhappy in your current job. Regardless, following through on an After-Bonus Resolution can move you closer to your long-term professional goals.

Here are a few After Bonus Resolutions:

  1. Improve your LinkedIn profile.  It is one of the first places a potential employer looks to learn more about you.
  2. Revise your resume and deal sheet.  Update these documents so that they are ready to go when a great opportunity comes up.
  3. Attend a networking event.  Whether it’s through the Bar Association, your college or law school, it’s always a good idea to expand your contacts.
  4. Call a recruiter.  Introduce yourself and ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities. You never know when your dream job will open up!

I hope these suggestions have inspired you to make an After Bonus Resolution. Proactively taking even simple steps makes us feel more in control of our work life. If you would like to talk to me about how to move forward in your legal career, please send me an email at jdemasi@cmwsearch.com or send me an InMail via LinkedIn, so we can set up a time to talk.

Happy New Year and good luck with your After-Bonus Resolutions!

Rock Out (without the Rocks)

Enjoy office holiday celebrations and stay on partner track. Three pointers a senior associate should follow.

  1. Alcohol is not your friend. Stick to one drink on the rocks and then switch to seltzer or water with a twist.
  2. Every conversation is meaningful. Because you are being evaluated to join the partnership, the reality is that you need to be aware of your interactions. Each conversation could be your final one before the “vote.” Keep it appropriate and relevant to work.
  3. Don’t stay too late and don’t attend the after-party. Leave the party on a high (natural) note and as a non-memorable attendee. The memories that you should be creating on the path to partnership should relate to your legal accomplishments not “dancing on the table.”

Happy Holidays!

© 2017 Corrao Miller Wiesenthal Legal Search Consultants, Inc.