Posts Tagged ‘partners’

Law Firm Office Romances: Inevitable Or A Really Bad Idea?

February 24, 2010

Are law firm office romances inevitable or a really bad idea?  The answer is both.  While it is never the best idea to get romantically involved with coworkers for a plethora of reasons, it is often inevitable.

Starting a romance with coworkers while not illegal has a number of risks associated with it.  The first thing to do if you are contemplating having a romantic relationship with someone at the office is to check to see if the firm has rules regarding this.  If your law firm has enunciated a specific rule against office romances, the answer is simple if you and your romantic interest both want to continue working there.  If one of you is willing to leave and work elsewhere, that is a way around this rule.

It can be particularly problematic if you have a relationship with someone who reports to you.  When things go well with your relationship, others may complain that the person working for you gets the best assignments or received the highest raise, etc.  As with the law, you must avoid even the appearance of impropriety.  If the relationship ends, your prior romantic interest may claim sexual harassment.

Before embarking on an office romance, you must also think ahead to how you would feel if your relationship with the other person ended and you had to watch other suitors come to meet her or him at the office at the end of the work day.  Conversely, you should think ahead to how your romantic interest would cope with seeing you date others if the relationship ends.

Even with all of the problems listed above associated with romantic relationships in the office, they are inevitable at law firms.  People who work at law firms tend to work very hard and generally work longer hours than those in many other careers.   This is true right on down the line from partners and associates to recruiting managers to paralegals and legal secretaries.  Working such long hours makes it very hard to meet the love of your life outside of the office.  In addition, the effect of fox hole camaraderie is very strong.  When attorneys, paralegals and secretaries are working on a large deal and must stay at the office until 2:00 a.m. together with the stress of having to get the documents for the deal completed before the next day, a certain closeness develops.

In conclusion, if you are considering embarking on a romance with one of your coworkers, check the office manual to ascertain whether there are any rules against this.  In addition, think about how you and the other person will handle it if the relationship ends.  If after you consider all of the above and still fall in love with someone at your firm, be discreet and do not engage in much public affection at the office, and I wish you a long and happy future together.

Lateral Moves Abound For Both Partners and Associates in 2010

January 18, 2010

With the arrival of 2010, there will be many more lateral attorney moves.  For partners, there are a number of reasons for that.  This month alone, we have been contacted my many partners who would like to explore a lateral move.  The most common reasons they give us for their desire to move are worry about the financial stability of their firm, dissatisfaction with the amount that they were given at the end of the year of their firm’s accounts receivables, and the feeling that they will be able to better serve their existing clients and cultivate new ones at a different law firm.

Likewise, more law firms than ever are contacting us asking that we find them more productive partners with portable business.  These firms are expressing worry that keeping unproductive partners will hurt their firm’s bottom line and stability.  The hottest practice areas that we are seeing a demand for partners in are taxation, life sciences, bankruptcy, intellectual property, healthcare, commercial litigation, white collar crime  litigation and labor and employment.   The geographical areas where we are seeing the most lateral movement are Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C. and California, especially the Silicon Valley.

Associates at law firms are also more interested in exploring other firms than they were in 2009.  In 2009, they were too worried about the first in first out rule if they switched to another law firm.  Instead, they stayed at their current law firms and held their breath hoping that they would not fall victim to the next layoffs.   Now associates are feeling a bit more confident in making lateral moves.

While attorney jobs are still more tenuous than in the past, confidentiality is more important than ever.  Finding a reputable legal recruiter who knows the legal market where you are seeking employment and has a good track record on confidentiality is key.   In addition, using a legal recruiter who is also an attorney is very helpful with regard to understanding the nuances of your practice area and the inner workings and politics of law firms.

The good news is that new lateral attorney openings are becoming available everyday in 2010, and it appears that it will be a much better climate for both partners and associates to find new positions.

Implementing a Rainmaking Plan for New Year

January 4, 2010

For partners and associates alike, the beginning of the New Year is a perfect time to set up a marketing plan for the year.   In these tough economic times, whether you practice in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California or Kalamazoo, you will not become or remain a partner unless you are a rainmaker.

All that is standing between you and successful client development is setting aside a time each week to engage in marketing and networking activities and really sticking to it.  Try reaching out to and meeting three new contacts per month.  At the end of the year, you will then have 36 new contacts!  Not bad.

Good ways to meet new contacts are to attend Chamber of Commerce events, meetings and events for attorneys in your practice area, and charitable/community service events.  Do not view other attorneys as competitors.  Frequently, other attorneys referring conflict work to you can be one of you best sources of client development.

Also, attending charitable events for causes that you care about will enable you to meet other likeminded people who also care about charitable and community service causes.

When networking, it is always best to first ask how you can help the other person.  People really appreciate this and are more likely to help you if they see in you a willingness to help them.   Providing help to your networking source can be as simple as telling them about the best dry cleaners or restaurants in the area.  It does not have to be something big.

Always be nice to everyone.  In addition to being the right thing to do, you never know who will be in a position to refer clients to you in the future.  In addition, let everyone know the details of your practice – this might jar their memory regarding a potential client who could use help in this practice area.

Finally, view client development not as a chore but as a way to meet new and interesting people.  Who knows?  In addition to gaining more clients, maybe you will make a new friend or two.

Recession sees many partners and practice groups making moves

November 16, 2009

While the recession has been very tough for associates, causing many layoffs, it has been at a time when opportunities abound for partners and practice groups.  As one can see from the many partner and practice group moves this year, partners are taking advantage of the many opportunities.

Partners at the largest law firms are realizing that their clients are no longer willing to pay astronomical hourly rates.    Therefore, to keep their clients and cultivate new ones, partners are making moves to mid size and even small law firms.  In  addition to more feasible hourly rates, mid size and small law firms are less regimented, and partners are finding that once they make the move, they are able to practice law and serve their clients the way that they want to.  Many state that once they make the move to a smaller law firm, they feel the highest satisfaction that they have ever felt in their legal career.

Likewise, mid size and small law firms are finding that in order to better serve their clients, they need to add partners and practice groups in various practice areas to have more of a full service law firm.    The clients love this trend, as they can now have the same high quality legal representation and full service that they have come to expect along with more affordable rates.  They have been all too happy to accompany their attorney to his or her smaller law firm.

It is often best for partners contemplating a move to engage an experienced legal recruiter who is extremely knowledgeable on the legal market where they practice.  Experienced local legal recruiters will undoubtedly be aware of partner and practice group needs of firms that are not publicized.  In addition, they have experience at keeping the queries of partners confidential and knowing just when to reveal extremely sensitive information.  Finally, they can help negotiate bringing some members of your practice group with you and assist any attorneys left behind to find other positions.