A senior associate or ''counsel'' with significant portable business is a sought after commodity. Many attorneys who reach this point in their career decide to ''take a look around'' before making a long-term commitment to their current firm. Often, these attorneys simply want reassurance that they have positioned themselves on the best platform for an upward career trajectory and general workplace satisfaction. However, a number of senior attorneys with business conclude that they must leave their old firm to reach partnership. Once the decision to move on is reached, they often want the time interval between leaving their old firm and ''consideration'' at their new firm to be as short as possible. From a recruiter's perspective, this ''hurry up'' strategy may not be the best approach to the ultimate goal of partnership.
Law firms are dynamic entities, and unexpected shifts in office management, politics, and economics are more the rule than the exception. Even stellar senior associates who have been at a firm since their first summer in law school can be unpleasantly surprised as they approach what they thought was a slam dunk partnership decision. The fall of 2008 has provided dramatic examples as major law firms dissolved and migrations of large practice groups occurred. Suddenly, the ''open slot'' in seniority that you thought had your name on it becomes filled by a new group of attorneys coming into your firm. Or, a sudden shift in legal market economics can postpone deals or settle cases. The work you had keeping three junior associates busy is suddenly barely enough to fill your own time. And then there is random bad luck, when the one person in the office whose personality grates against yours gets promoted to the management committee. Often law firm management lets you know it's not going to happen. You need to move, now what?