Resume or Biography for Lateral Partners?

In short, it’s less common for partners to have a resume unless they are coming from the government.  Here’s why. 

Law Firm Partners:  If you are coming from a firm, there’s nothing inherently wrong with presenting a resume, but it has a tendency to send the message that you are “on the market.”  If you are working with a recruiter, have the recruiter present your law firm biography along with details on your practice, why you are considering a move, etc.  You can supplement additional information later.   

  • Note on confidentiality:  If you are providing your law firm biography, make sure it is a PDF document and not a link to your website biography.  Why?  If you or your recruiter sends a link to your website biography, it can raise suspicions with your current firm’s IT department if they notice that suddenly your biography is being viewed multiple times from a single IP address in a short period of time.  You would be surprised how many firms track this data.     

Government Attorneys: Resumes and business plans are usually expected and necessary for attorneys coming from the government, unless they are returning to their previous firm.  You don’t necessarily need to send your business plan in the first instance, but you should have a working version so it can be presented at the appropriate time, which is usually earlier in the process.   

  • Exception:  There are certain high-level positions where the government title — itself — is enough to garner significant interest (sometimes multiple offers that can range in the seven figures).  These positions are usually in the highest level of management where the title is immediately marketable to firm clients.  In these circumstances, firms will be interested in you based on, among other things, your name recognition, reputation, and high-level government experience and the importance of “selling yourself” is significantly decreased. That said, even if you are coming from a top government position, there are still a number of things to be aware of, which can make a difference in compensation and/or the number of offers you receive. 

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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

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