Making the decision whether to move, and if so to where, is one of the most crucial decisions a partner has to make during their career. I regularly receive questions from my partner candidates regarding the various stages of the law firm recruiting process. This article summarizes the primary stages in this critical process and explains how they work.
This summary is based on a typical recruiting process for a partner candidate assisted either by me or another one of BCG Attorney Search's recruiters who works frequently with partners. There are a number of very good reasons why a partner candidate should engage the services of a highly qualified and experienced recruiter, such as the ones at BCG. In a separate article, I describe twelve of these reasons. For purposes of this article, suffice it to say that it makes a good deal of sense for a partner to utilize the expert advice of recruiters regarding the highly complex recruiting process, just as the partner's clients retain the expert advice of attorneys to assist them with highly complex legal matters. Lastly, it should be noted that only the most major steps are broadly described, and many details are necessarily left out (or covered in other articles).You should confer with your expert recruiter for specific advice and information regarding your situation. For purposes of this summary, there are 10 primary steps.
The first step is the introduction and evaluation stage. After I have obtained all the necessary information from the partner and answered all of their initial questions, I use the information to prepare a list of recommended firms that fits their needs and interests. I call this document the "Firm List." This process is substantially more difficult for a partner than it is for an associate. With associates, I look in our database for associate positions sought by the law firms that "fit" the associates. With partners, there are not nearly as many positions available. Rather, nearly all partner opportunities are driven by portable business. The major law firms (which includes the AmLaw 200 and other highly regarded firms that are too small to make the AmLaw 200 list) typically seek between $1M to $5M+in portable business. This means that if a partner candidate has sufficient portable business, I can "create" a position opening in any appropriate firm. I look for firms that have the right "platform" to service the partner candidate's portable clients and to best assist them in developing additional business in the future. It is the need for a better "platform" that forms the primary reason for why partners seek to move to another firm.