Departing Partners Forum

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Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:32 am

Anyone know what the general rule for partners moving firms is with respect to poaching associates? We had someone leave my group a few weeks ago and I expect they’ll want to take a few associates along at some point.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:57 am

A fairly senior partner left my firm a few years ago and poached very aggressively, at all levels and across practice groups, even got former associates who had already gone in-house. Don’t think it’s the “typical” practice, thankfully. Have also seen other partners leave without really taking anyone.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:39 pm

Are there rules about how soon they can poach?

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:43 pm

I'm pretty sure they can't poach before they leave - that would be in conflict with their duties (or whatever you want to call it) to the partnership. Afterwards though I don't think there are any ethical rules in play, right?

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:44 pm

In my (limited) experience, it will depend on the partner's agreements with the firm that he is leaving. In the one case I was familiar with, he wasn't allowed to poach from the old firm for X months.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:44 pm
In my (limited) experience, it will depend on the partner's agreements with the firm that he is leaving. In the one case I was familiar with, he wasn't allowed to poach from the old firm for X months.
Any chance those violate model rule 5.6?

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:02 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:44 pm
In my (limited) experience, it will depend on the partner's agreements with the firm that he is leaving. In the one case I was familiar with, he wasn't allowed to poach from the old firm for X months.
Any chance those violate model rule 5.6?
Why would it? Right to hire ≠ right to practice. This is more similar to agreements on which clients go.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 5:10 pm

I've always been curious. Why do these departing partners poach associates? They have associates at their new firm. And, I assume they are poaching associates they have had good working relationships with.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 5:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 5:10 pm
I've always been curious. Why do these departing partners poach associates? They have associates at their new firm. And, I assume they are poaching associates they have had good working relationships with.
Think you just answered your own question.

Also, the new firm expects the partner to be more than just a service partner billing hours. Firm citizenship means helping recruit and this is a good way to demonstrate that.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 6:32 pm

What is in it for the associate if they leave with a departing partner?

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by existentialcrisis » Sun Aug 07, 2022 6:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 6:32 pm
What is in it for the associate if they leave with a departing partner?
Getting to continue working with a partner who you have a good relationship with and who may or may not have been your primary source of work at the first firm.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 8:13 pm

existentialcrisis wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 6:57 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 6:32 pm
What is in it for the associate if they leave with a departing partner?
Getting to continue working with a partner who you have a good relationship with and who may or may not have been your primary source of work at the first firm.
That and sometimes a big partner laterals to help build a new group at a different firm. In that case, if the partner wants you to jump with them and that partner gets some leeway to set that group up, you may have a better shot at partner. That of course assumes that the new group will be successful and generate sufficient business to start making new partners.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 8:21 pm

Do most associates when given this opportunity make this jump?

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 8:21 pm
Do most associates when given this opportunity make this jump?
I don't know how anyone would ever quantify this. Anecdotally I've said no twice (once to a defection to Latham, another to a defection to a well regarded boutique). I didn't leave because I have a good reputation at my firm (hence why they wanted me to come with them), and didn't want to risk having to build that again elsewhere.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:16 pm

No way to quantify this type of thing but anecdotally the associates that came in this way seem to do very well for themselves.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:24 pm

How so?

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:24 pm
How so?
One made partner, another is widely rumored to as soon as eligible. And generally these associates have a "rabbi" and seem to be well regarded. I think it's better than lateraling as an unknown. Have no way of knowing if it was better for them than staying in previous firms.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:16 pm
No way to quantify this type of thing but anecdotally the associates that came in this way seem to do very well for themselves.
as another data point, my s/o's firm had associates come over with a few lateral-in partners -- moving 'up' in firm pecking order/reputation -- and transition has been a bit rocky for some of them

probably still the right move for them to come over, but integration to new firm isn't always easy=

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:40 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:16 pm
No way to quantify this type of thing but anecdotally the associates that came in this way seem to do very well for themselves.
as another data point, my s/o's firm had associates come over with a few lateral-in partners -- moving 'up' in firm pecking order/reputation -- and transition has been a bit rocky for some of them

probably still the right move for them to come over, but integration to new firm isn't always easy=
Interesting. I'm the anon who said it's been a positive, appreciate the additional perspective.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2022 10:40 pm

How do I become one of the associates that get taken and not get left behind? I assume be a really good associate for departing partner

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2022 7:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 10:40 pm
How do I become one of the associates that get taken and not get left behind? I assume be a really good associate for departing partner
That's definitely one factor - the lateral partner has to like your work. But I think it can require more than that. I'm the anon that said no twice, and I had good personal relationships with both of those who asked. We weren't best friends, but there was trust that went beyond just knowing I did good work. That means that they genuinely wanted to continue working with me separate from my work produce, and they also thought it would be a good opportunity for me just as it was for them. It was a real bummer for me because these were two of the people I enjoyed working with the most.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Lesion of Doom » Mon Aug 08, 2022 11:51 am

I would consider it strongly if given the opportunity.

By being a trusted associate, it reduces the number of partners you work with and thus you might have slightly better work life balance. That’s the advantage of eating off of a single plate.

Also, moving to a nascent group that’s expanding gives those associates atypical say in hiring, staffing, delegating, establishing group culture, etc. I’ve known two midlevels who left and now operate as seniors in terms of influence even though they are only 4-5th years. Which again, can help a little with work life balance.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2022 12:51 pm

Wow..so this is an opportunity

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:17 pm

Another anecdote to add to the anecdata. I echo the comment above that the associates who go over with a partner seem to have good trajectories / career paths. In a lot of ways it makes sense: You're coming over with a partner who the new firm desired enough to successfully recruit; there's a perception that you're part of that desirable story and so you get to ride off the momentum it's generating both reputationally and business-wise. It's like doubling down on a winning strategy.

Another thing to consider is that, for most associates most of the time, especially as you get more senior, there's some murkiness to what your reputation really is (at least at my V10)--you have the 5% who know they're about to get fired, the 5% who know they're the "Chosen One" and are destined for the brass ring, and then there's the fat middle rest of us who I think have this general perception that things are going decently well but it's a little opaque and there are probably both some successes and a few bumps in the road when you look back over your years. Going over to a new firm in the context of getting recruited alongside a hot shot partner gives an opportunity to reset that reputation and to start off on a confirmed very positive foot.

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Re: Departing Partners

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:30 pm

also know of a senior who lateraled with a partner and made partner

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