You're sitting in your office on a quiet random Tuesday afternoon when you receive a call from a partner in the Corporate Department. She says that they need two lateral associates - 'as soon as possible.' It goes without saying that the firm's usual Olympian standards must be adhered to. To determine what can be accomplished in a search you must ask a series of preliminary questions.
Caution - You must accept that high performing, spectacular, well-adjusted associates currently working for your leading competitors are highly unlikely to move to your firm. The best lawyers are content - and almost all lawyers are risk averse.
Absent some truly compelling circumstances, spectacular associates at comparable firms are unlikely to move across the street. Understand that the assessments of potential lateral associates may not match your views of your relative strength in the community. As a recruiting professional one of your most important jobs is to manage the expectations of your department leaders - who may have unrealistic notions about the volume / quality / deliverability of candidates. Sometimes partners who have worked in one firm for a long time have decidedly unrealistic notions of what can be accomplished in partner and associate lateral hiring. When that partner is also the one who lets you know at the last possible moment that "we need 3 corporate lawyers ASAP" - you must work with them on what is realistic in terms of delivering exceptional candidates.
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