Posts Tagged ‘lawfirms’

Current Legal Hiring Trends

September 28, 2010

It has not happened as quickly as many attorneys would have liked.  However, legal hiring has picked up.  Firms have been seeking attorneys with substantial portable business in almost every practice area all through the recession.  Until recently, many attorneys with large books of business have been reluctant to make moves.  However, more recently, those attorneys have felt confident enough in the economy to pick up their clients and move to other law firms.  Many of these rainmakers have chosen to make the move from large firms to mid-size and even smaller boutique firms.  They have felt that they will be able to avoid the office politics attendant with mega firms and receive the marketing support and more reasonable billable hour rates to enable them to keep and cultivate clients.  Still another group of rainmakers have found other large firms to meet their needs for marketing support and cross marketing opportunities and allow them to still enjoy practicing law.

Now firms are getting busy enough to seek attorneys who are not fully self sustaining especially in regulatory areas such as healthcare regulatory and energy and oil and gas regulation.  Intellectual Property attorneys remain in demand, especially those with degrees in Biochemistry or Electrical Engineering and those with ANDA Litigation experience.

Labor and Employment attorneys  are being sought, especially those with management side restrictive covenant and wrongful termination litigation experience.

M & A is back and more firms are seeking corporate attorneys.  While it is true that deals are taking much longer to come to fruition than in the past, in part due to a tightening of the purse strings of lenders, firms still need attorneys to draft the documents and put those deals together.  Deals involving middle equity markets seem to be coming together the quickest.

Class Action litigation remains busy in many areas including securities, antitrust, and mass torts.  More Asbestos Litigation cases seem to be going to trial these days and experienced attorneys are needed to try them.

The good news is that positions have been slowly opening for stellar litigation associates.  However, many of these positions are for litigation associates with 2 to 4 years of large firm experience.  This is very bad news for the many stellar 6th and 7th year litigation associates who were laid off from large firms during the height of the recession.  A number of these talented attorneys are having trouble finding positions.

Corporations are increasing their hiring of in house attorneys, once again, especially in regulatory areas such as Healthcare Regulatory, FCC Regulatory, and Energy Regulatory as well as Intellectual Property.  These companies are finding that they are busy enough for it to make financial sense to have an extra attorney in house as opposed to paying more outside attorney fees.

Things look very hopeful for a much better 2011 for attorney hiring and the financials of law firms and corporations.  We wish all of the attorneys and paralegals reading this article  much success in their careers and practices.  We are available to help in any way that we can.

Susan Rubinovitz, Esq. is a former practicing litigation attorney and President of SMR Legal Search, a legal recruiting firm based in Philadelphia that focuses on placing attorneys and paralegals in permanent positions with law firms and corporations in the Northeast and Nationally.  SMR Legal Search provides complimentary resume writing assistance, business plan development and writing as well as interview skills training to the attorneys with whom they are actively working.  They also work with law firms and corporations on assessing and filling their hiring needs and helping to implement diversity and other hiring initiatives.

Matchmaker Matchmaker Find Me The Perfect Lateral Partner Match

July 12, 2010

Just as in dating where physical attraction and some mutual interests are a start, the same is with Law Partners and Law Firms, where the amount of portable business and practice areas are just a start.  There are so many other factors that contribute to whether a law partner and law firm are a good match.

Compensation Formula

Law firms vary greatly in their compensation formulas.  Some firms’ compensation formulas reward rainmakers; some reward hard workers; and some reward both.  Before making a move to another law firm, a partner must ascertain what type of compensation formula the firm has, and what type will be most beneficial to them.  If you are a real rainmaker, and a firm only rewards partners for the amount of hours that they bill and recover, then this might not be the best formula.  Likewise, if you are a very hard worker and bill and recover 2300 hours per year, then a compensation formula that rewards production rather than rainmaking would be better for you.  If you both bring in business and work very hard, then a mixed compensation formula that rewards both would work very well for you.

Cross Marketing Opportunities

Before making a lateral partner move, it is very important to assess whether the firm’s practice areas will be helpful to you in cross marketing.  Then, you must ascertain whether the attitudes of the firm’s partners allows for substantial cross marketing.  Some firms have partner who work together to help each other succeed, thus enabling everyone to do better and serve their clients better.  At other firms, there is more of an “every man for himself” attitude.  Often, you will not be able to find this information out on your own, and a legal recruiter who works with that firm and knows them well will be the best source for this informa6tion.

Personality, Attitude and Environment of the Firm

Typically, when we receive partner job orders from law firms, we go in to meet with the hiring partners and/ or manager of legal recruiting and find out as much as we can regarding the firm and what they are looking for in a new hire.  By actually visiting the firm and meeting with these individuals, we are best able to advise potential partner candidates on the personality, attitude and environment of the firm and find the right lateral partners for the firm.  For example, in many of our visits to law firms, the managers of legal recruiting or hiring partners have told us that they do not hire jerks.  However, they often use a stronger word than jerks.  They make it clear to us that the firm has a very congenial environment and do not allow attorneys to yell at others in the firm.  If we are dealing with an attorney who is a yeller, this is good for us to know.  In addition, we know and can advise our attorney candidates which firms are known for having partners who yell at each other and at associates and others in the firm.

Marketing Support

Some law firms put a great value on supporting their attorneys both financially and other ways in their marketing efforts.  Other firms do not put a premium on their attorneys marketing and bringing in business, and do not provide their attorneys with any marketing support.  It is important for you to decide if it is important to you to bring in clients and build a book of business.  If so, you will want to be at a law firm that allows their attorneys to have much client contact and provides financial support and other marketing support such as providing tickets to the Phillies and Eagles games for attorneys to use for potential or current clients, etc.

Financial Stability Of The Law Firm

Some law firms have no debt and fully funded retirement and others do not.  Some law firms made a nice profit last year and others not so nice.  We know the information about the firms that we work with and you should too.  Some recruiters will know this information and can provide you with it.  If not, you should be sure to ask these questions in your second interview, as it should be a very important factor in your decision.  I advise you to wait until your second interview too ask this question, as it may seem like too pushy and presumptuous a question to ask in your first interview.

These are just some of the necessary pieces of information that are needed to make a good lateral partner match.  We wish you the best of luck if you are seeking a lateral partner move, and are available to assist you with drafting your business plan and provide you with as much information as possible regarding the law firms in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware and what would be your perfect match.