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  • What are the six factors prestigious law firms care about when hiring laterals?
  • One of the factors is if you can be sold with confidence to the clients.
  • Another factor is if the law firm can manage you.
  • Keep reading to find out what the other four factors are.

Summary: Do you know what prestigious law firms are looking for in a lateral attorney? Learn about the six essential questions used by firms in the hiring process.

Find out the six factors prestigious law firms care about when hiring lateral attorneys.


There are certain attorneys who go into practically every interview and get a position. Conversely, there are others for which the opposite happens.

After a career spent trying to get attorneys into the most prestigious law firms, I have concluded that the entire hiring process of the best law firms (whether they realize it or not) is designed to explore only six issues. That’s it. These are the six essential questions that law firms will be asking about you to determine if they will hire you or not:
 
  1. Can we sell you to our clients?
  2. Can you do the job the way we want it done?
  3. Do you want the job?
  4. Will you fit in?
  5. Can we manage you?
  6. Will you stay at the job long term?

See also: How to Answer the “Tell Me about Yourself” Interview Question
 
  1. Can We Sell You to Our Clients?

This is a basic question, but an important one. Any attorney whom a law firm hires needs to be someone clients will be willing to pay for, and the most prestigious law firms charge a lot of money. Law firms are in the business of “renting” labor and they need the people who are doing the firm’s work to be marketable to their clients. The more prestigious the law firm and the higher its billing rates, the more important it is going to be that you look good to the firm’s clients.
 
  • The more top law schools, order of the coifs, federal clerkships, valedictorians, law reviews, and so forth the law firm has within its ranks of lawyers—the better the law firm looks to its clients.
  • The better the experience of the firm’s lawyers—leadership roles, government appointments, law review articles, presentations, trials, and so forth—the better the law firm looks to its clients.

The better the law firms looks to its clients, the more money the firm can charge, and the more confidence the market will have in the firm and its attorneys.
 
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

Most major law firms work for in-house counsel, and these in-house clients are acutely aware of the quality of the attorneys working on their matters. When law firms are “pitching” clients to work on new matters, the firms will often include the biographies of the people who will be staffed on the matters. Because law firms compete with other law firms to get the work from clients, the quality of the staffing makes a big difference in winning new business.