The Lawyers Career Blog

Look Before You Cross: What every law firm partner must know before changing law firms

The lateral partner market is robust and there is very high demand for lateral partners with self sustaining portable business in a wide range of practice areas. Increased merger activity among law firms may bring about even more lateral moves as partners evaluate which law firm platforms will best service their clients.

If you are a partner who is contemplating a move, you will achieve greater success by understanding the dynamics of the marketplace, your obligations to your current firm, possible constraints on what information you can share with firms that you interview with, and how to present yourself in the best possible light.

Here are 10 items worthy of consideration:

  1. Does your resume have appropriate and relevant content?
  2. Is a deal sheet necessary? If so, how specific should it be?
  3. Are you bound by a partnership agreement and if so what are your obligations to your current firm?
  4. When are you permitted under the law to communicate with your clients about your intention to join a new law firm?
  5. What is your current firm’s policy on bonus payments or distributions to departing partners?
  6. Will there be rate flexibility at a new law firm? How open is the firm to alternative fee structures?
  7. How much and what kind of marketing programs exist at your new firm? How much cross selling occurs?
  8. Are you reference ready? Are your references familiar with the opportunities you are considering?
  9. Will your practice be valued at your new firm and is there a commitment to grow and develop your practice area?
  10. Are your interview skills current? Do you have an interview strategy?

This list is intended to guide you as you consider moving your practice to a new firm. We are available to speak with you on a confidential basis about your specific situation.


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