10 Factors Used by Legal Recruiters to Analyze Partner Candidates

Here’s a direct peek into the 10 factors legal recruiters use when analyzing when determining whether a partner is likely to be in demand in the lateral partner market: 

Practice Area: How in demand is your practice area.

Client Base: Types of clients.

Stability of Client Relationships: Are your clients stable, diverse and on a stable or upward trajectory? 

Attractiveness of ClientDo you have clients who are likely to create conflicts?  Are your clients likely to result in cross-selling opportunities at a new firm?  Are your clients — even if high-profile — known to squeeze law firms on pricing?   

Book of Business:  How much portable business (or potential business) will likely move or be developed at the new firm within the next twelve months.  Note: the range of desired portable business varies depending upon geographic market, profitability of the firm, and practice area but typically ranges from $500K at the lower end to upwards of $2.5-3M in larger markets.   There are a few notable exceptions where the necessity or amount of portability business is mitigated:  (1) When a firm identifies a specific skillset that is currently lacks and is losing business because of that gap; (2) Attorneys coming out of titled government or in-house positions where that attorney’s credentials and relationships can be marketed to clients; and (3) Counsel or senior associate who practices in an in-demand area and has a demonstrated ability or clear potential to develop business.   

Compensation: How does your compensation align with your portable business?  Also, how likely is it that a new firm will match or exceed your current compensation?   

Track Record of Credit Over Past 1-3 Years:  What has your credit been over each of the past three years (including the current YTD)?  This includes billable hours, origination credit, working attorney credit, etc.  

Billing Rates: Standard rate and effective rate. 

Personality: How well will you interview and/or are you coachable.   

Reason for Considering a Move and History of Prior Moves: If you have had another move or moves in the recent past, can it/they be explained?   


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Picture of Author: Dan Binstock

Author: Dan Binstock

Dan co-owns Garrison & Sisson, where he focuses on lateral partner and practice group placements. He has consistently been recognized as one of the Top 100 Global Legal Strategists and Consultants by LawDragon, and authored "The Attorney's Guide to Using (or Not Using) Legal Recruiters." Dan is the Immediate Past President of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), where he also served as Chair of the Ethics Committee. Visit here to learn more about Dan, or contact him confidentially with any questions at (202) 559-0492 or dbinstock@g-s.com.

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