If you plan to evaluate the market as broadly as possible (versus exploring a single, targeted search), the following questions should help you gain more clarity.
- Do you want a deep bench strength in your current practice area or is the opportunity to build appealing?
- Is the presence of other practice areas essential to supporting and growing your clients/practice?
- What is your ideal range?
- How much flexibility do you need?
- How versed is the new firm with fixed-fee arrangements?
- Do your clients have stringent approved outside counsel lists?
- Are there any non-starter conflicts from a purely legal/ethical perspective?
- Are there any non-starter conflicts from a business perspective (i.e., Coke vs. Pepsi)?
- How important is the reputation of the firm generally (it’s overall brand strength)?
Compensation & Finances
- Compensation structure (open vs. closed)?
- More compressed compensation structure (ratio of lowest to highest paid partner is 1:3 or 1:5) versus a much wider structure (ratio of lowest to highest paid partner is 1:20)
- Credit for originating vs. servicing new business?
- Firm’s Profits-Per-Partner and Revenue Per Lawyer?
- Firm’s profit margin?
- Amount of capital contribution?
- Are there certain geographic locations for offices that are important to you/your clients?
- Do you *not* want firms with expansive geographic footprints?
- Do you prefer a one or two-tier partnership?
- If you are non-equity, how important is the path to equity?
- Are there leadership opportunities?
- Do you want to be a big fish in smaller pond, or vice-versa?