Here’s the general information to prepare that a majority of law firms, ideally, want to know about a lateral partner’s practice towards the earlier stages of the process. A few disclaimers:
- Each firm is different, so this is a general sketch based on the majority.
- If a law firm’s need is very strategic and is meant to fill an immediate gap, the focus on portable business may be less pronounced and the metrics are less important.
- Whether you are working with a legal recruiter can impact how much information firms expect to receive and when.
Towards the Outset
- Reason for considering a move (see also “Questionable Reasons to Move”).
- Practice breakdown (summary of your practice, ideally broken out by percentages).
- Industry focus of clients (if any).
- Billing rate (standard and effective).
- Top 3-5 portable clients that are most important to your practice (for purposes of initial non-starter/showstopper conflict checking).
- Projected portable business over the next 12 months (low, medium, high).
- How many clients are likely to move with you (related: do you have one or a few large clients or a higher number of smaller clients).
- Are there opportunities for potential business development that you have been unable to pursue at your current firm?
A Bit Farther Into the Process
- Billable hours for each of the past two or three years, and YTD for the current year.
- Whether you will need to bring people from your current firm to service your business.
- Your current compensation and/or expectations. Assuming you are in a jurisdiction that allows this question to partner candidates, firms will ask for this during the process so it should not be hidden. If you are working with a recruiter, firms will vet — at the outset — whether your compensation expectations are appropriate in light of your potential revenue generation.
- Note: the lateral partner questionnaire (LPQ) addresses the above and much more, but it’s helpful to gather this information well before the LPQ process begins in earnest.