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.