If you’re a partner considering a new opportunity at a law firm, it’s a good time to consider what law firms are looking for in a partner. Law firms are looking for attorneys with a particular set of skills and experience. Before you make a move, consider some of these desirable traits to see if you might be a good fit for what many law firms are looking for.

Portable Business

It should come as no surprise that firms are looking for a partner who has a large, portable book of business. When looking for firms, consider their rate and level of cross-marketing opportunities to determine how much you can expand your book by joining them. Here are some questions for prospective partners to consider when looking at a new firm:

  • Does the firm have the right rate structure suitable for your clients?
  • Can the firm support your current and potential clients with their practice areas?
  • Do they offer complementary services?

If you don’t have a large book of business to bring with you, think strategically about how you can add the most value to a firm. In some instances, a firm may invest in someone with a smaller book of business if they can see opportunities for that candidate to grow their practice, preferably in a complementary way with a new firm’s practice areas.


Most law firms bringing on lateral partners are looking for mid-career attorneys with 15 to 25 years of experience. Senior attorneys with more than 25 years of experience command the most value when they bring a book of business but their career runway is shorter. However, if you are a more junior partner, consider what you can bring to the table. The value in a junior partner is your ability to hustle and for a firm to invest in your potential. Firms are looking for:

  • Experienced attorneys who are hitting their professional stride.
  • Attorneys who have made many of their own contacts and are now able to leverage those.
  • Those attorneys who have an established reputation as strong attorneys in their respective practice areas.

However, it can even be difficult for attorneys who are already in their professional stride to change law firms when certain practice areas are experiencing a downturn. An effective self-marketing strategy in this situation can be to show the law firm that it’s a good idea to invest in you while demand is low because it will always be on the upswing again.

Lateral Group Placements

Another situation that law firms sometimes want is a large group of attorneys who are already working together in a complimentary way. Most law firms actually prefer hiring groups of attorneys rather than individuals because they already have a sense of cohesiveness, they can support one another in work, and the revenue a group brings in is naturally larger than plugging in individuals. Some additional benefits of established attorney groups include:

  • The ability to cross-market and cross-sell services.
  • The ability to take the entire book of business with them to a new firm (that is normally not portable)

If you’re not already a part of a group, you may consider creating one to make yourself more marketable.

  • Consider building a group of attorneys from a practice area that is in demand.
  • Consider who else is essential to your practice; take the best attorney from each practice area and create a group.

Law firms are looking to hire partners who have particular traits and experiences. Regardless of your experience, there are still ways to separate yourself from the competition based upon your practice area and skill set. Reach out to us and we’ll be your career advisor by giving our opinions how you would be of most interest to various law firms.

Are you looking for a new opportunity?

We assist attorneys in building their brand, building their practice, and finding fulfilling, lucrative work. We partner with some of the best law firms in the country and have great success stories of the attorneys we have placed. If you are considering a change, contact us to talk about your options and discover more about how we can help you to maximize your professional opportunities.

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