What is the lateral interviewing process like?

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Anonymous User
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Re: What is the lateral interviewing process like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:12 pm

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:A common misconception among law students is that it will be easy to land a lateral job once you have biglaw. This is usually not the case. Some people actively look for a lateral position for 2-3 years without finding anything. They often end up settling for much lower paying jobs at small law firms or sometimes even leave law altogether.


In my experience, that's relatively uncommon unless the seeker is just expecting a recruiter to do all the work or is wed to a small market or rare sub specialty. I wouldn't say it's easy to lateral- requires a lot of legwork, but I think the vast majority of biglaw associates could lateral within a year if that's what they wanted and they were willing to put in the hard work to do it. It took me 8 months, but I ended up with several options in the end. I was moving to a different city, which complicated the process considerably. I did probably 5 3-day weekends during that period and had one day that involved getting on a plane at 5AM, flying to the new city, interviewing at 8AM and one place, interviewing at 1PM at another, and doing an informational interview at 4PM at a third.

As for the process: I would echo others who say it's all over the map. Most firms do a round-robin callback style interview with a meal for serious lateral candidates, but there may also be initial or followup meetings on top of it. Timelines can be really weird. I got an offer almost 6 months after a callback (well after I had accepted another position). A lot of this is because the lateral hiring process tends to be driven by practice group leaders instead of recruiting folks. The practice group leaders have a lot of other stuff on their plate, so lateral hiring may get put on the back burner if they get busy or feel the hiring need isn't too intense. Also, a firm may feel they have a need and things could change. They may decide not to hire at all, or wait a year and see if they really need someone (this happened to me at one firm).



I'm currently trying to position myself to lateral to a different market and I have only just started at my firm in the fall. I know its a long process, so I figure I might as well start now.

I have been in touch with a recruiter, but what else should I do? Reach out to alums at firms in the region I am targeting? Send resumes out to recruiters cold?


Make a list of firms that have your practice area. Talk to everyone you know at any of those firms- then find out if they have any friends who would be willing to talk to you. Alumni you may have overlapped with in school can work in a pinch, but it's best to have a personal connection. Find out who has a need, who they recommend working for, etc. Avoid cold contact unless you are 100% sure you don't know anyone at all and have exhausted attempt to find friends of friends at the firm. Don't officially apply until you have spoken to someone. Recruiters were a waste of my time, but it's worth at least talking to them. Be very careful about giving them resumes because some will shop it all over town and torpedo your efforts from networking. All things being equal, a firm would prefer not to get you from a recruiter because they don't want to pay the fee.


Would you recommend not using lateral.ly then? I believe you are required to upload a resume to get access to the site, which is then presumably shopped around?

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nealric
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Re: What is the lateral interviewing process like?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:A common misconception among law students is that it will be easy to land a lateral job once you have biglaw. This is usually not the case. Some people actively look for a lateral position for 2-3 years without finding anything. They often end up settling for much lower paying jobs at small law firms or sometimes even leave law altogether.


In my experience, that's relatively uncommon unless the seeker is just expecting a recruiter to do all the work or is wed to a small market or rare sub specialty. I wouldn't say it's easy to lateral- requires a lot of legwork, but I think the vast majority of biglaw associates could lateral within a year if that's what they wanted and they were willing to put in the hard work to do it. It took me 8 months, but I ended up with several options in the end. I was moving to a different city, which complicated the process considerably. I did probably 5 3-day weekends during that period and had one day that involved getting on a plane at 5AM, flying to the new city, interviewing at 8AM and one place, interviewing at 1PM at another, and doing an informational interview at 4PM at a third.

As for the process: I would echo others who say it's all over the map. Most firms do a round-robin callback style interview with a meal for serious lateral candidates, but there may also be initial or followup meetings on top of it. Timelines can be really weird. I got an offer almost 6 months after a callback (well after I had accepted another position). A lot of this is because the lateral hiring process tends to be driven by practice group leaders instead of recruiting folks. The practice group leaders have a lot of other stuff on their plate, so lateral hiring may get put on the back burner if they get busy or feel the hiring need isn't too intense. Also, a firm may feel they have a need and things could change. They may decide not to hire at all, or wait a year and see if they really need someone (this happened to me at one firm).



I'm currently trying to position myself to lateral to a different market and I have only just started at my firm in the fall. I know its a long process, so I figure I might as well start now.

I have been in touch with a recruiter, but what else should I do? Reach out to alums at firms in the region I am targeting? Send resumes out to recruiters cold?


Make a list of firms that have your practice area. Talk to everyone you know at any of those firms- then find out if they have any friends who would be willing to talk to you. Alumni you may have overlapped with in school can work in a pinch, but it's best to have a personal connection. Find out who has a need, who they recommend working for, etc. Avoid cold contact unless you are 100% sure you don't know anyone at all and have exhausted attempt to find friends of friends at the firm. Don't officially apply until you have spoken to someone. Recruiters were a waste of my time, but it's worth at least talking to them. Be very careful about giving them resumes because some will shop it all over town and torpedo your efforts from networking. All things being equal, a firm would prefer not to get you from a recruiter because they don't want to pay the fee.


Would you recommend not using lateral.ly then? I believe you are required to upload a resume to get access to the site, which is then presumably shopped around?


Not very familiar with lateral.ly. They didn't exist when I lateralled. I did submit to lateral link which has a fairly similar business model, but with human recruiters in the mix as well. They weren't particularly helpful. You could instruct them to submit to a particular employer - this one seems similar.

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Re: What is the lateral interviewing process like?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:49 pm

Are firms usually prompt about replying to initial applications? Did you ever hear back weeks later?

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nealric
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Re: What is the lateral interviewing process like?

Postby nealric » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are firms usually prompt about replying to initial applications? Did you ever hear back weeks later?


There is no usual. If you just applied and don't have a recruiter or other contact in the firm to follow up with, you can usually assume it just went in the pile never to be seen again.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: What is the lateral interviewing process like?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:15 pm

I lateraled about two years ago from gov. The interview process started with a partner I was working with telling me he was impressed, etc., and if I was interested to send him my resume.

I sent it over that night and the next morning he called to tell me there was interest. I scheduled an interview then and there.

The initial interview was with all five practice group partners in a panel type interview. The main concerns were over if I had enough experience. The position was to be the only associate in a niche regulatory group but would also involve related litigation and transactional work.

At the end of the interview they said I would be contacted within a week.

At the time they were only interviewing one other candidate for the job - a slightly more senior co-worker and friend of mine. My original contact told me a few times after the interview that they were leaning towards him. A big debate over which to pick developed, with my current boss advocating for the other guy.

About a month after the initial interview I got a call from the practice group head asking me to come in to speak with him. I thought it was going to be a very gentle let down due to the fact that they would still have to deal with me in my government position. In fact, the group's partners voted for me and I was offered the job at the second interview. I was expected to accept the offer on the spot.

The partner that wanted the other guy is now my mentor and is grooming me for partnership.

I expect that my experience is highly unusual.




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