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An attorney practicing in-house with a major Corporation in New York City contacted me wanting to relocate to a market in one of the mountain states. The attorney had excellent experience in corporate-related transactional work; however, the majority of the attorney's experience was in securities-related work. Unfortunately, the particular area of the country the attorney was interested in was not exactly a hub of securities-related activity. Nevertheless, the attorney had an excellent background and had experience with a top law firm before going in-house five years previously. Also, the attorney had excellent educational qualifications in all respects.
The attorney was relocating to a Mountain State because their significant other was relocating there for work. Unfortunately, neither of them had significant contacts in the area, and they were moving to an area of the country that was somewhat parochial (meaning, most of the attorneys practicing in the market had grown up in the market).
Despite these drawbacks, the attorney was flexible regarding their salary and also open to looking at a variety of firms and opportunities. Because the attorney's experience was so specialized, I did not see the need to reach out to a lot of law firms because there were very few law firms that did this sort of work the attorney had experience in. My first instinct was to only concentrate on law firms that did the security experience the attorney had and to ignore law firms that simply did general corporate transactional work (or white mergers and acquisitions related work, for example).
I spent a few days researching the market, reviewing our past openings, and understanding the firms that were most likely to have an interest in a candidate with my candidate’s background. Once I finished that, I reported back to my candidate that I did not think it made sense for us to initially investigate more than seven or eight firms in the market. An excellent thing about the market was that there were also a few national law firms that could feed my attorney work from their other offices if they did not have work in their existing office.
After a few weeks, I was able to interest a national law firm in speaking with my candidate about working in their office in this mountain state. There was a quick connection, and the interview and hire went very quickly. My candidate was able to get a job at a very good salary, get hired by a law firm that enabled them to do work as sophisticated as they were used to doing, and continue their career with a good firm.
Placing attorneys that have gone in-house can often be challenging because law firms believe that the attorney will not stay in a law firm and will leave again to go in-house the first opportunity they get. Senior attorneys that have gone in-house face challenges related to the fact that they often will not have a portable business and are in a position of competing for partnership level work with associates that have spent their career in law firms. In this case, this was a very successful placement because the candidate was able to further their career and get back on the law firm track as well as successfully get a position in a small market that is traditionally somewhat hostile to outsiders.