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Bringing Laterals Onboard

Bruce MacEwen has a lengthy post about how law firms are bringing laterals into the fold.   Notably, different firms look for different characteristics when bringing in laterals.  Some firms look at capability, rather than clients or book of business, at the recruitment stage.  Others look for laterals with complementary business that can help jump-start a practice area.  One firm, Orrick, uses a "fishbowl approach:"

The fishbowl takes place near the end of recruitment. According to partner Peter Bicks, who heads recruiting efforts in New York, what comes before it is exhaustive. After initial interviews with a lateral candidate, several partners prepare a memo of at least five single-spaced pages, which is shown to both the candidate and to all Orrick partners. The memo covers the candidate's personal background, client relationships, compensation and billings history, and time spent on nonclient matters. It also includes proposed compensation at Orrick and two to three years of economic projections.

From Macewen's perspective, firm culture is most important.  He writes:

Laterals need to be a fit, or their half-life will be nasty, expensive, and short. Invest your own time and that of your most senior colleagues, and indeed, invest the time of everyone who will "touch or concern" the new arrivals.

As with everything else, when it comes to laterals, ultimately, it's all about building and establishing personal relationships.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 8, 2008 at 04:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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