If you are a senior associate, Of Counsel, or partner, how important is portable business when making a move to another law firm? Most junior to mid-level associates are told to concentrate on developing their skill sets so they can become great attorneys. So, you put your head down, do good work, learn from the senior associates and partners, get good year-end reviews, and you feel you are learning and growing as an attorney. Before you know it, you're a senior associate, respected by your peers and performing well on all work given to you. From this point, there are three things that can happen if you want to stay in a law firm environment: (1) you leave your firm, (2) you are promoted to Of Counsel at your present firm, or (3) you become a partner at your present firm. We will analyze whether portable business is important in all three scenarios:
Depending on the region of the country and the size of the firm, a senior associate can range from 6-12 years of experience in a particular practice area. If you are a senior associate, you are probably trying to make partner at your present firm. If partnership is important to you and you believe down the road you're not going to make partner at your present firm, you should think about leaving your firm immediately. Depending on your practice area, you should still have some marketability and be able to move to another firm. For example, senior corporate M&A, commercial real estate, and finance associates are all in demand as of today. However, if you are a seventh-year litigation associate without business, it may be difficult for you to move firms depending on the region of the country. Most firms do not like taking older associates without business. Although you have more experience than your younger counterparts, there are a couple of reasons why the move may be a difficult one.