Time for a Change? Lessons for Avoiding Lateral Mistakes

Source: Law.com

By MP McQueen

How often do law firm partners end up with buyer's remorse after jumping to a new firm?

As the number of moves continues to climb–reaching a post-financial crisis high of nearly 2,900 moves last year—the regrets seem to be piling up faster too. Recruiters and consultants say lawyers change their minds in about 1 in 20 lateral moves. That doesn’t include partners who arrive at a new firm only to second-guess their decision, and either suffer the consequences or plan yet another move.

“Money is typically fifth or sixth in consideration,” said Jeffrey Lowe, global practice leader of the law firm practice group at Major, Lindsey & Africa in Washington, D.C.

A 2014 survey by Major Lindsey showed that surprisingly few lateral partner candidates look closely before they leap to another firm: Only 36.6 percent of lateral partner candidates reviewed their new firm’s financial statements, and just 40 percent met with the new firm’s chief financial officer.

Financial due diligence “remains shockingly inadequate,” the report concluded, making it more likely that potential conflicts go undiscovered until too late.

Lowe urged lateral candidates to really study the financials, talk with the new firm’s CEO and speak to others who recently moved to the new firm to find out if their promises were kept before agreeing to anything, and to be “as zealous an advocate for themselves as they are for the client.”

Read more of this feature at Law.com.

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