According to reports published by various legal news resources, the legal job market is still below its pre-recession numbers nationwide. But on the upside, we are seeing an enormous increase in lateral hires in Atlanta and other major cities along the east coast. The number of lateral placements for partners and associates has led to the best quarter we have seen in years. Atlanta, second and third quarters are usually its strongest for active lateral moves.
The number of partner jobs opening up has been fairly strong in comparison to associate hires, especially after the recession. This has been the case for Atlanta and other cities, but partner positions are usually immune to bouts of recession effects.
In the future, if you are a prospect for a lateral move, this article will outline some of the industry trends revolving around lateral hires, and help prepare you for a potential interview.
The Rise in Lateral Hires
Many are predicting that 201S will be a strong year for the legal market due to the high number of lateral hires within the first few months. Since the recession, there has been a lack of corporate and real estate associates. Now that the economy is getting badc on its feet, more businesses are growing and revenues are increasing, but there is a limited number of experienced, mid-level corporate attorneys available to do the work. The real estate industry is booming and directly cor- relates with the need for new hires. To make up for the low numbers, hiring laterally is the easiest way for firms to fill the positions they need with experienced, mid-level attorneys.
“Many are predicting that 2015 will be a strong year for the legal market.”
Diving into the Hiring Process
Lateral hiring is a bit more complex compared to hiring a new law school graduate. In general, the interviews are planned and executed with more in-depth questions about your legal experience and skills. Because of this, lateral hiring interviews are normally longer; they can range from a couple hours to a .1 day, depending on the firm. If you are interviewing for a lateral move, it is essential to prepare for it knowing your skill set and experience very well in order to keep the interview running smoothly. Law firms are having their partners and associates cease billing and take time out of their day to meet with you, so taking the time to pre- pare before the interview is essential It is vital to know who is interviewing you and their background, in order to properly prepare for interview questions. You should also prepare your own questions to ask in the interview.
Here are some examples:
- How does this office integrate and communi- cate with the other satellite offices?
- What does your partnership track look like?
- What types of community involvement and/or pro bono work does this firm participate in?
At times, a law firm may screen their candidates with a phone interview first before inviting them in for a face-to-face interview. If you are working with a legal recruiter, expect for them to communicate with you and prepare you fora formal inter- view. Partners and other members of the practice group that you will potentially be joining usually conduct in-person interviews. h’s common for a lateral candidate to attend lunches and a second, or third, round of interviews. Each law firm has their own requirements and processes they use in order to find the right attorneys for their firm. It is always good to prepare for the unexpected, and gain as much knowledge as you can about the law firm in order to lessen the chance of being caught off guard raid-interview.
As the economy continues to recover, we are likely to see the number of Big Law jobs continue to increase. The more the economy grows, the more demand there will be for attorneys to service businesses, assist with mergers, and aid in the growing real estate market With a lower number of senior associates in the legal market, they will more than likely become partner instead of counsel to make up for a firms needs. Despite the legal world taking a hard hit during the recession, you are now equipped with the knowledge to successfully navigate your lateral move.