You are a partner at a solid firm where you generate a respectable book of business on an annual basis. You feel your career at your current firm is heading toward a perpetual stagnation.
You are a partner at a solid firm where you generate a respectable book of business on an annual basis. You feel your career at your current firm is heading toward a perpetual stagnation. You feel that you lack the resources to build your practice, or you view the firm's overall commitment to client relations or service as inadequate. Worse yet, you believe the culture or prestige of the firm has suffered because of the actions of your partners. Perhaps you have great concern regarding the firm's profitability or compensation structure. Or you question the management in guiding the firm through the uncertain future. Whatever the reason, you are contemplating leaving your firm to improve your unfulfilled expectations.
But taking your practice to another firm is complicated and requires extensive effort on your part to make sure your future home satisfies those concerns that you deemed deficient at your current firm.
The first and most important aspect of conducting your search is maintaining confidentiality. If word gets out that you are thinking about leaving your firm, the consequences could be harsh both to your professional development and for your clients. The most secure way to maintain confidentiality is to use a competent attorney search firm. In addition to maintaining confidentiality, there are two significant tasks that the search firm would handle on your behalf.
Second, the search firm should first provide an honest assessment of your marketability to potential firms, highlighting your strong and weak attributes. One of the most important determinants of your success in the marketplace today is your total book of business. Other related matters include your billing rate and utilization.
Third, the search firm should provide you with an appraisal of the market and how your candidacy will fare in the marketplace. A good recruiter should have anecdotal information regarding potential firms that would be beneficial to your search. Perhaps the firm is in talks to acquire a practice group that would require someone with your expertise. Sometimes, unending merger talks are demoralizing and may encourage exodus of highly productive partners to others firms.
Finally, the recruiter should undertake an affirmative search on your behalf. It is important that the recruiter not disclose you while conducting an affirmative search. The recruiter should have a complete understanding of why you want to switch firms and must diligently examine potential firms in the marketplace to determine the best firms that exhibit traits that would be a good fit for you and your practice.
Relations of partners to a firm are similar to being in a marriage. It used to be taboo for a partner to quit a firm to join another firm, but just like marriage the unthinkable has become more common. The common argument to support this is that if you are unhappy, why stay?
However, departing without a thoughtful analysis of all the pros and cons could be a huge mistake. Here is a list of issues - which is not listed in order of importance - to consider when you contemplate jumping ship.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, thinking about these issues beforehand would make the process painless, interesting and, hopefully, rewarding at the end. At BCG, our recruiters stand ready to assist you in exploring opportunities in a new firm.
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