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Observing your competition in the marketplace can help you devise a smart hiring strategy as you plan for the future of your law firm. What are the current movements in the market? What are talented candidates looking for? What are areas of growth for the firm? Answering some of these questions can help you attract and retain the best talent.

What motivates a partner to look for a new firm?

A Challenge

Most partners would agree that a primary reason for a leaving a firm is for a bigger challenge. In addition, many are looking for bigger and better clients. Partners tend to be highly competitive; many have already done their time at a big law firm and they’re ready for a new challenge. It’s possible that their current platform is too small and is holding them back so they want to move to a larger platform. Partners on the move will look to other firms and see what makes them unique and see how they might be a mutual fit. Maybe your firm has just the right challenge for a great lawyer looking to move firms.

Legal Conflicts

Another major reason that partners leave their firm is due to legal conflicts. This is an area where firms can be proactive in their hiring strategy. You can use potential legal conflicts that are arising in the market to find someone you know who wants to work with a particular company, practice or industry. You can also look for opportunities in your hiring strategy for how to avoid potential legal conflicts. Be proactive, and look for opportunities.

Compensation Structure

Law firms fall into one of two compensation structures: the formulaic model or the subjective model. The straightforward formulaic model pays attorneys when they accomplish the work. The subjective model takes into account other factors such as quality of work and how your work benefits the firm as a whole. And within those structures there are open and closed plans which could also influence a firm’s attractiveness to candidates. Depending on the compensation structure of your firm, you may find candidates who are more interested due to that structure. Figure that out early because that is often a deal breaker in the end. What are your competitors’ compensation structures? Are attorneys enticed by your compensation structure?

Succession Planning

Rank and succession are also common reasons for partners to leave a firm. Junior partners sometimes find themselves blocked by more senior partners who are not retiring. If there is no plan in place for senior partners to transfer some of that work to junior partners, some of those attorneys may choose to leave. Senior partners often leave because there are no junior partners to help them wind down their practice. Does your firm have a succession plan in place? Watch your competition – do they have this problem? If so, there could be a great junior partner on the move; or maybe a large book of business from a senior partner.

Once you have some great potential partners to interview, be sure to:

  • Lay out who you are in the interview process – this is who we are, this is what we do, and here’s what you can expect from us.
  • Modestly, try to scare candidates away in the interview process and good candidates will ask follow-up questions about the issues that you are trying to scare them on.
  • Ask how they can you solve your problems or improve your situation.
  • Use good communication – do you do what you say you’re going to do, and if problems arise don’t blow them out of proportion.

Keeping an eye on movements in the market and what’s going on with your competitors can help you fine-tune your hiring strategy. You can also learn from your competitors’ mistakes and retain talent for the long term once you have them. Use what you learn to maximize your chances of landing a talented new partner.

Are you looking for talented legal professionals?

At Quaero Group we have made it our mission to find exceptional legal talent for our clients. Contact us today so we can find the legal experts your organization needs in this highly competitive market.


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