Best time to lateral?

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integralx2
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Best time to lateral?

Postby integralx2 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:16 pm

Looking to lateral. I am considering other big law firms or small boutique firms (niche practices). What is the best time to lateral? I was told now is the best time since most attorneys try to lateral in February. Can anyone shine some light on this topic?

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:37 pm

I'm also interested to see what people think. I'm thinking of lateralling next summer, during my second year

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LaLiLuLeLo
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm also interested to see what people think. I'm thinking of lateralling next summer, during my second year


Summer is pretty dead, but not as bad as September-November. Hiring is hot January-March due to people leaving once bonuses are paid. Towards the end of the year, hiring is slow due to people hanging on for their bonus. If you're a junior it will also be slow due to first years starting.

I'd start looking now and see what comes up in the next couple months.

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:10 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm also interested to see what people think. I'm thinking of lateralling next summer, during my second year


Summer is pretty dead, but not as bad as September-November. Hiring is hot January-March due to people leaving once bonuses are paid. Towards the end of the year, hiring is slow due to people hanging on for their bonus. If you're a junior it will also be slow due to first years starting.

I'd start looking now and see what comes up in the next couple months.


So it’s not ideal to lateral in January-March since of the bonus-pay our timing it sounds like.

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LaLiLuLeLo
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm also interested to see what people think. I'm thinking of lateralling next summer, during my second year


Summer is pretty dead, but not as bad as September-November. Hiring is hot January-March due to people leaving once bonuses are paid. Towards the end of the year, hiring is slow due to people hanging on for their bonus. If you're a junior it will also be slow due to first years starting.

I'd start looking now and see what comes up in the next couple months.


So it’s not ideal to lateral in January-March since of the bonus-pay our timing it sounds like.


That's like...the opposite of what I said.

AndroidLawyer
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby AndroidLawyer » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:54 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm also interested to see what people think. I'm thinking of lateralling next summer, during my second year


Summer is pretty dead, but not as bad as September-November. Hiring is hot January-March due to people leaving once bonuses are paid. Towards the end of the year, hiring is slow due to people hanging on for their bonus. If you're a junior it will also be slow due to first years starting.

I'd start looking now and see what comes up in the next couple months.


It seems like what you're saying here is that the supply is high because there's a lot of people looking during these times. But does supply correlate with demand? So as the market is flooding with people, will there be the same demand to hire?

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LaLiLuLeLo
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:30 pm

AndroidLawyer wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm also interested to see what people think. I'm thinking of lateralling next summer, during my second year


Summer is pretty dead, but not as bad as September-November. Hiring is hot January-March due to people leaving once bonuses are paid. Towards the end of the year, hiring is slow due to people hanging on for their bonus. If you're a junior it will also be slow due to first years starting.

I'd start looking now and see what comes up in the next couple months.


It seems like what you're saying here is that the supply is high because there's a lot of people looking during these times. But does supply correlate with demand? So as the market is flooding with people, will there be the same demand to hire?


Yes. People leave for other positions, opening up the positions they occupied. A couple months into the new year and firms will have an idea if they have an increased need, as well.

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nealric
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby nealric » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:54 pm

integralx2 wrote:Looking to lateral. I am considering other big law firms or small boutique firms (niche practices). What is the best time to lateral? I was told now is the best time since most attorneys try to lateral in February. Can anyone shine some light on this topic?


Give yourself time if possible. It can take a while to find the right opportunity.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:29 pm

I generally agree with LaDiDaDiwhatever about lateralling to optimize not getting screwed on bonus for two years.

Ultimately the best time to lateral is when you get the best opportunity. Presumably you're getting (or will be getting) lit up by recruiters. I really haven't noticed any seasonal trend in open positions; I always get 10-15 emails or phone calls a week throughout the year. Some firms are understanding of the bonus/hours issue and will let you post-pone starting until you've been paid out. But ultimately just start putting out feelers and responding to recruiters.

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:35 pm

To follow along with the January-February post-bonus thing, I've heard a hiring partner describe lateraling as a big industry-wide game of musical chairs that starts when people get their bonuses, and then sort of slows to a trickle at some point.

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:37 am

If you can time it right, November is the best (but now is close enough). It will take a good 45-60 days for conflicts to clear, so you should have your bonus by then. Plus, you’ll still be in the running for the ’18 bonus (for firms with a set billable criterion). If your bonus isn’t until March you might find making your ’18 bonus a bit challenging….especially if you have to take time off for your new state’s bar).

lolwat
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby lolwat » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:14 am

Re: small boutique firms (not biglaw) which the OP also asked about -- IME, they generally hire when they believe they will need another person, and that can be whenever because it depends on the work the firm has. Much less of a standard thing than biglaw.

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SplitMyPants
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby SplitMyPants » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:If you can time it right, November is the best (but now is close enough). It will take a good 45-60 days for conflicts to clear, so you should have your bonus by then. Plus, you’ll still be in the running for the ’18 bonus (for firms with a set billable criterion). If your bonus isn’t until March you might find making your ’18 bonus a bit challenging….especially if you have to take time off for your new state’s bar).


do firms not pro-rate the billables requirement if you lateral in mid-year?

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:54 am

Totally anecdata, but personally know two people at my current firm lateralling to other firms who are having their new firms pick up their bonus if they’ll start ASAP. Seems like the markets on fire, at least for c/o13-15

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:Totally anecdata, but personally know two people at my current firm lateralling to other firms who are having their new firms pick up their bonus if they’ll start ASAP. Seems like the markets on fire, at least for c/o13-15


Yup. This isn’t uncommon.

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:05 pm

how difficult is it to lateral early in your first year if you have compelling reasons (e.g., switching practice groups)?

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:how difficult is it to lateral early in your first year if you have compelling reasons (e.g., switching practice groups)?


Difficult but not impossible. Depends how flexible you are. I wasn't able to, but I had somewhat specific preferences. There often isn't a ton of need, but there will be positions.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:how difficult is it to lateral early in your first year if you have compelling reasons (e.g., switching practice groups)?


Difficult but not impossible. Depends how flexible you are. I wasn't able to, but I had somewhat specific preferences. There often isn't a ton of need, but there will be positions.


Correct. Even if a firm needs a first year, since first years are so fungible and since firms often over-hire due to how irrational the firm hiring process is (i.e. projecting two years out), it's often easy for the firm to take first years from one group and slot them into a different group.

Best bet is going to be to start looking at firm hiring pages on a weekly if not daily basis. I created a spreadsheet with basically every major firm I wanted to lateral to and had a link to their open positions page. I checked it on the reg to see when things open. I've never seen a recruiter searching for first years (not saying they dont, I've just never seen it) so I think you're going to have to be more proactive than normal.

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:52 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sparty99
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby sparty99 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:54 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:how difficult is it to lateral early in your first year if you have compelling reasons (e.g., switching practice groups)?


Difficult but not impossible. Depends how flexible you are. I wasn't able to, but I had somewhat specific preferences. There often isn't a ton of need, but there will be positions.


Correct. Even if a firm needs a first year, since first years are so fungible and since firms often over-hire due to how irrational the firm hiring process is (i.e. projecting two years out), it's often easy for the firm to take first years from one group and slot them into a different group.

Best bet is going to be to start looking at firm hiring pages on a weekly if not daily basis. I created a spreadsheet with basically every major firm I wanted to lateral to and had a link to their open positions page. I checked it on the reg to see when things open. I've never seen a recruiter searching for first years (not saying they dont, I've just never seen it) so I think you're going to have to be more proactive than normal.


How do I get a copy of that spreadsheet with the links?

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:09 pm

sparty99 wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:how difficult is it to lateral early in your first year if you have compelling reasons (e.g., switching practice groups)?


Difficult but not impossible. Depends how flexible you are. I wasn't able to, but I had somewhat specific preferences. There often isn't a ton of need, but there will be positions.


Correct. Even if a firm needs a first year, since first years are so fungible and since firms often over-hire due to how irrational the firm hiring process is (i.e. projecting two years out), it's often easy for the firm to take first years from one group and slot them into a different group.

Best bet is going to be to start looking at firm hiring pages on a weekly if not daily basis. I created a spreadsheet with basically every major firm I wanted to lateral to and had a link to their open positions page. I checked it on the reg to see when things open. I've never seen a recruiter searching for first years (not saying they dont, I've just never seen it) so I think you're going to have to be more proactive than normal.


How do I get a copy of that spreadsheet with the links?


It's super outdated and the links are going to be broken. It'll take you 15 minutes to do. Pull up the vault list or the amlaw list or whatever your gauge is going to be, open up a spread sheet or google doc, and just start visiting, copying, and pasting.

Anonymous User
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you can time it right, November is the best (but now is close enough). It will take a good 45-60 days for conflicts to clear, so you should have your bonus by then. Plus, you’ll still be in the running for the ’18 bonus (for firms with a set billable criterion). If your bonus isn’t until March you might find making your ’18 bonus a bit challenging….especially if you have to take time off for your new state’s bar).


What? No. I was a corporate paralegal with a NINE page conflicts list and I've lateraled multiple times. Conflicts take a week or two, max. 45-60 days is straight nuts.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Best time to lateral?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you can time it right, November is the best (but now is close enough). It will take a good 45-60 days for conflicts to clear, so you should have your bonus by then. Plus, you’ll still be in the running for the ’18 bonus (for firms with a set billable criterion). If your bonus isn’t until March you might find making your ’18 bonus a bit challenging….especially if you have to take time off for your new state’s bar).


What? No. I was a corporate paralegal with a NINE page conflicts list and I've lateraled multiple times. Conflicts take a week or two, max. 45-60 days is straight nuts.


That's not true. It can take longer and depends on a variety of factors including (i) how big the conflicts department at the firm you are going to (ii) how busy the conflicts department is (lateral conflicts checks are always back burnered for new client conflicts checks) (iii) the nature of the conflicts (iv) how quickly partners who you may have been conflicted can review conflicts (v) barometric pressure.

I lateraled after a few years and had about 100 names that had to be reviewed. I lateraled to a top tier NYC firm's LA office and conflicts review took close to four weeks.




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