Someone asked me recently, why should a lateral partner or associate use a recruiter? It’s a good question. I can answer by sharing a story with you and simply say that I have only placed lawyers in firms I know well from having coached lawyers and interacted with the firm leaders.

When I was at the top of my game, two large international firms heavily recruited me. Both firms offered me substantially more money than I had made the year before.

Business people in a seminar

I didn’t have a recruiter helping me so I had to learn as much as I could about each of the firms. It took hours, and days and a couple of months for me to get beyond the substantial increase in my compensation that both firms offered and learn what it would be like being a partner in each firm.

One of the two firms was considered one of the fastest growing firms in the world. They had previously started a Dallas office, but it wasn’t much (and still isn’t much.) They offered me big time money, but over the time they recruited me I learned that they were ditching as many partners as they were hiring. I might have been the flavor of the month when they hired me, but if I didn’t; meet their unstated expectations, I would be gone as quickly as I had been hired.

The second firm had a substantial Dallas office. Their managing partner described the firm as being like a large air craft carrier that turns very slowly in the water. The firm seemed less entrepreneurial than the first firm, and my then current firm. They seemed more focused on building teams. Some of that appealed to me. But, then I discovered there were several older partners who had retired on the job and were still being compensated as if they were top producers.

Even though my initial compensation with either firm would have been substantially greater than what I was earning, neither firm was the right firm for me. I urge you to learn more about any potential firm you might join before you make a move. A top notch recruiter can discern whether the potential firm is the right one for you.