Have you ever received an offer you thought was just too good to be true? If you have there’s probably a good chance it is.

Now that I am putting together lawyers who want to change firms with firms I know and trust, I am reminded of the time when I was the leader of a group of lawyers ready to leave Jenkens & Gilchrist at the end of 2003. I won’t bore you with the history other than to tell you the firm closed its doors March 31, 2007.

Our group was heavily recruited by two mega international law firms seeking to create a greater presence in Dallas. (Now it seems every big firm wants a Dallas office.) I was offered $250,000 more than I was making by one of the firms and I was offered $150,000 more than I was making by the other firm. These offers were too good to be true…

I can’t remember if I thought the offers were based on my legal talent and the clients I would bring with me. Looking back now, I realize the offers took into account that neither firm would have to pay a consultant or recruiter for putting together the deal. I was the recruiter/consultant and my value to either firm was that I was bringing with me so many rainmakers.

If you ever receive an offer that seems really great, before accepting it figure out what’s behind the offer. Oh, also make sure to find out how long you will receive that compensation before any “adjustments.”