Lateral Questions

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Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:56 pm

I'm about to go in for a 3rd round interview for a lateral position, but this time I'm actually visiting the firm headquarters (not the office for which I am interviewing) to meet with (i) the chairman of the practice I would be joining, and (ii) the director of legal recruiting. I'm trying to figure out why I would be meeting with their recruiting head if no offer is yet on the table.

Also, assuming I get an offer, what is the typical notice time period you give to your firm before leaving? Your standard two weeks? And how common is it to take a bit of time off (maybe a week or 2) before starting new job, just to clear my head, start looking into new housing arrangements, etc.? Not sure what is the standard time period for deciding a starting date with new firm if/when offer is in hand.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:28 pm

Anyone?

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Avian
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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Avian » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:46 pm

This may or may not be helpful, but during one of my callbacks for a 2L SA (so this may not be applicable), I had a scheduled meeting with their legal recruiting department in addition to interviews with partners and associates. The legal recruiting person just asked if I had any questions, especially about administrative details. This was obviously before they extended an offer. If I had to guess, it might be a meeting of this nature, or they could be interviewing you as well.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:59 pm

Avian wrote:This may or may not be helpful, but during one of my callbacks for a 2L SA (so this may not be applicable), I had a scheduled meeting with their legal recruiting department in addition to interviews with partners and associates. The legal recruiting person just asked if I had any questions, especially about administrative details. This was obviously before they extended an offer. If I had to guess, it might be a meeting of this nature, or they could be interviewing you as well.


Thanks for the input. Yes, when I was interviewing for SA positions, I would typically meet with recruiting at the beginning/end of a callback, but thats because everything is condensed into one extended meeting. For me, I've done a "screener" with the top guy in the office I'd be joining, and a "callback" with associates at all levels. Now the top guy from my office wanted me to meet with the top guy firm-wide in the department. I have to think its somewhat of a formality at this point (since one office isn't likely to cut off another at the knees if it really wants to hire someone). So I wonder if the meeting with the HR head is simply just a "do you have any questions" kind of thing.

charliekelly33
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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby charliekelly33 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:13 pm

Not to derail the thread, but I have been interested in all the talk about the hot lateral market right now. What's your motivation for lateraling? Considering the need for midlevels, have you been able to leverage your experience into a decent comp package? Or is it more of lifestyle choice, where you have put your time in and now are looking for more reasonable hours?

I would just be interested in hearing about your motivations and how the process is going.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:20 pm

charliekelly33 wrote:Not to derail the thread, but I have been interested in all the talk about the hot lateral market right now. What's your motivation for lateraling? Considering the need for midlevels, have you been able to leverage your experience into a decent comp package? Or is it more of lifestyle choice, where you have put your time in and now are looking for more reasonable hours?

I would just be interested in hearing about your motivations and how the process is going.


My situation is too atypical for it to be applicable. I'm still a junior. Wanted to get into a particular niche group, and current firm gave me somewhat false hopes that, if I came there, I could practice in that area. Didn't happen. So its a move best made sooner rather than later (before the substantive gap builds up). Comp isn't really an issue, nor is lifestyle. I just want to break into my desired area of practice.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm about to go in for a 3rd round interview for a lateral position, but this time I'm actually visiting the firm headquarters (not the office for which I am interviewing) to meet with (i) the chairman of the practice I would be joining, and (ii) the director of legal recruiting. I'm trying to figure out why I would be meeting with their recruiting head if no offer is yet on the table.


I lateraled as a midlevel. I'm not sure why you would need to meet with the legal recruiting director, since I was never asked to do that at any stage of the lateral interview process at any firm.

Also, assuming I get an offer, what is the typical notice time period you give to your firm before leaving? Your standard two weeks?


Gauge this based on what's on your plate. If you can wrap up and transition your matters neatly in two weeks, that is fine. If this is going to put a disproportionate burden on any colleagues, or you've got major projects 3-4 weeks out that you're responsible for, you'll leave much more cleanly if you give a bit more notice and finish out these matters.

And how common is it to take a bit of time off (maybe a week or 2) before starting new job, just to clear my head, start looking into new housing arrangements, etc.? Not sure what is the standard time period for deciding a starting date with new firm if/when offer is in hand.


I requested to start six weeks out from the date I cleared conflicts. This was to give the old employer three weeks notice and myself three weeks off. My recruiter told me at the time that six weeks was about the maximum you could request without raising eyebrows, although I've since encountered laterals who requested even more time. I think the important thing here is to gauge how urgently the firm needs you to start. If they are hiring for a rush need, they may appreciate your flexibility in being able to start sooner. But I'm sure they'd be understanding if the issue is you just want a week to move and handle logistics.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:48 pm

^^^

Thanks. Yeah, I can't figure out exactly why they want me to meet with the head HR person even though I don't yet have an offer.

As for time in between, I was hoping to get 4 weeks (2 weeks notice at my firm, and then two weeks to start looking into new living arrangements). I can see why 6 weeks is def a max figure, and I don't think I would need that much. Especially since I won't actually be moving yet (plan, if I get the job, is to do the slightly extended commute from where I currently live for a few months until my lease is up, and then take a week off a few months in to move).

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:03 pm

Is conflict check done before you get your offer? Or do you get your offer, and it becomes contingent on passing the conflict check (meaning that you don't give current employer notice until you clear the conflict check)?

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:51 am

The firms I've been at have done the latter - offer has several contingencies, including conflicts, background check, and reference check. Typically, you don't give your employer notice until you clear all contingencies, and if the offer is contingent on a reference from your current employer, you can request the firm to hold off on making that call until you have cleared all other contingencies.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:07 am

^^^

That makes sense. For references, do they require that it be a partner? I've worked with pretty much one partner the whole time I've been with my firm (though I've worked with others, but nowhere close to the same frequency). And he is gonna be pissed I'm leaving, and I'm afraid that he will refuse to be a reference.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:24 pm

This will depend on the new firm. Ideally there reference would at least be a senior attorney - if you've done a lot of work with an of counsel, retired partner, etc., those should be good options. If you're very junior, it *might* be okay to use a senior associate but could raise eyebrows from the new firm. Since you say you've worked with other partners, just not as much as you've worked with Pissed-Off Partner, I'd recommend asking one of those other partners if possible.

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:07 am

^^^

I mean, I don't know whether my main partner will get pissed. I just have a feeling he might be. Though on the other hand, he is generally very supportive and thinks of me like a mentee. So I'm on the fence about it. The guy I work the most with by far is the senior associate on my main case (more of a mid-level since he is a 5th year, but he has played the role of a senior associate throughout). He is the guy I would ideally like to ask, but I can understand them wanting input from a partner. Is it possible that a lateral firm not ask for references at all? Or is that unheard of?

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Re: Lateral Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:01 am

IME, you can sometimes get out ahead of the reference question by submitting a couple of unsolicited LORs when applying. If they're strong enough and from notable enough folks, it will sometimes cause the new employer to feel they do not need to check additional references.

Unless you're in a position to do this, here's one approach to consider:

When you get the offer, offer 2-3 references from places other than your current firm. Explain that you don't want to tip off your current firm until all contingencies are lifted from your offer. (My recruiter told me when I was lateraling that approx. 50 percent of the time, the firm will be satisfied with these prior references and won't even ask to speak to a reference from your current employer.)

If the new employer insists that they need a reference from your current employer, tell them you will provide one after all other contingencies are lifted. At this point, I think you might as well go ahead and tell the partner. From what you said in your most recent post, he actually might be supportive if you pitch it to him correctly, in a conversation that makes clear how much you value his mentorship and why it's important for you to take this step in your career. Ask if he'd be willing to be a reference, and if it seems safe to do so, provide his name. If not...eh, to be honest, I'm a bit leery of providing a fifth year as the sole reference at your firm. Maybe it'd be possible to offer both the fifth year AND one of those partners for whom you've done a bit less work but who would give you a solid reference?




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