Making a Lateral Move

(Deciding to leave, same firm different office, Reference requests)
Anonymous User
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Making a Lateral Move

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:39 pm

I currently work in the M&A group at a NYC-based firm that has a decent M&A practice, but not highly regarded in the market generally speaking; other corporate practices at my firm are definitely more well-known. Ultimately down the road, I would like to move either in-house to a PE firm doing M&A work or go in house at a large public company working on M&A matters. Recruiters I've spoken to have encouraged me to consider a lateral move for an "upgrade" to make me more competitive for those positions. So a few questions:

1. Which V10 M&A firms are most likely to consider M&A laterals from V30 firms? I know some, like Cravath, Wachtell, etc. very rarely (if ever) make lateral hires, so I'd be curious to know which firms actually make these lateral hires. Which firms would be best for stepping into each type of in-house role (PE and public company M&A)?

2. How much more competitive would the "upgrade" actually make me? I really enjoy working at my current firm and have been routinely told that the partners in my group think of me as a good associate, so leaving to go to another firm and having to build up that reputation again would be a bigger thing for me than I think it is for others who aren't as satisfied at their current firm?

3. Probably a question that has been answered somewhere else on this forum, but when you use a legal recruiter to find a new firm, am I responsible for paying the recruiter any fees when I accept any offer or does the recruiter get paid from the firm that I move to?

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Yugihoe

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Re: Making a Lateral Move

Post by Yugihoe » Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I currently work in the M&A group at a NYC-based firm that has a decent M&A practice, but not highly regarded in the market generally speaking; other corporate practices at my firm are definitely more well-known. Ultimately down the road, I would like to move either in-house to a PE firm doing M&A work or go in house at a large public company working on M&A matters. Recruiters I've spoken to have encouraged me to consider a lateral move for an "upgrade" to make me more competitive for those positions. So a few questions:

1. Which V10 M&A firms are most likely to consider M&A laterals from V30 firms? I know some, like Cravath, Wachtell, etc. very rarely (if ever) make lateral hires, so I'd be curious to know which firms actually make these lateral hires. Which firms would be best for stepping into each type of in-house role (PE and public company M&A)?

2. How much more competitive would the "upgrade" actually make me? I really enjoy working at my current firm and have been routinely told that the partners in my group think of me as a good associate, so leaving to go to another firm and having to build up that reputation again would be a bigger thing for me than I think it is for others who aren't as satisfied at their current firm?

3. Probably a question that has been answered somewhere else on this forum, but when you use a legal recruiter to find a new firm, am I responsible for paying the recruiter any fees when I accept any offer or does the recruiter get paid from the firm that I move to?

1. Not sure about M&A so will let others chime in.

2. I think you really need to consider your good standing and the fact that you enjoy your current firm. Lateraling is going to mean having to build new relationships, working with new partners who you might not click with, proving your self, potentially competing for work with homegrown associates, etc. Honestly, it's not very common that biglaw associates self describe as "really enjoying" their firm and work, so I personally would stick it through as long as you can at your current firm. You can always lateral later. What class year are you? Also, now is not the best time to lateral in my opinion with an impending recession and work drying up, it will make all of the above much harder for someone new and not already well liked.

3. Recruiters get paid by the firm so nothing out of your pocket.

Anonymous User
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Re: Making a Lateral Move

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:13 pm

Thanks - I'm a class of 2017 associate. Also, I agree on your point about not lateralling right now give the market uncertainty. I'd most likely look to move in January once (1) the coronavirus situation (hopefully) is resolved and things are somewhat back to normal and (2) I can collect the full end-of-year bonus (if any this year...) from my firm.

CanadianWolf

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Re: Making a Lateral Move

Post by CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:44 pm

Stay where you are since you enjoy the work, your coworkers and your reputation--all of which could change if you make a lateral move.

pobyrne

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Re: Making a Lateral Move

Post by pobyrne » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:18 am

You are very lucky to have found a firm where you enjoy the people with whom you work and the work that you are doing. As others have indicated, that is not something you should take for granted. That being said, as a recruiter, I tell candidates in your situation that it is at least worth your while to explore a few other firms. I don't think you should necessarily go to any of these firms, but it is important to always actively manage your career and keep an open mind. You may interview at these firms and realize that you underestimated just how much you like your current situation. Or, you may find a firm that does more PE and public M&A with great people, and the "pain" of starting again is a worthwhile trade-off. This was advice a recruiter gave to me when I was an M&A associate at BigLaw. It was great advice. I did go on a few interviews at lateral firms, and each of those interviews re-affirmed my desire to stay at my original firm until I found the in-house position I wanted. I would absolutely recommend waiting until post-bonus and there is more stability around Covid. And yes, fees are paid by the firms. Good luck!

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

Re: Making a Lateral Move

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:39 pm
I currently work in the M&A group at a NYC-based firm that has a decent M&A practice, but not highly regarded in the market generally speaking; other corporate practices at my firm are definitely more well-known. Ultimately down the road, I would like to move either in-house to a PE firm doing M&A work or go in house at a large public company working on M&A matters. Recruiters I've spoken to have encouraged me to consider a lateral move for an "upgrade" to make me more competitive for those positions. So a few questions:

1. Which V10 M&A firms are most likely to consider M&A laterals from V30 firms? I know some, like Cravath, Wachtell, etc. very rarely (if ever) make lateral hires, so I'd be curious to know which firms actually make these lateral hires. Which firms would be best for stepping into each type of in-house role (PE and public company M&A)?

2. How much more competitive would the "upgrade" actually make me? I really enjoy working at my current firm and have been routinely told that the partners in my group think of me as a good associate, so leaving to go to another firm and having to build up that reputation again would be a bigger thing for me than I think it is for others who aren't as satisfied at their current firm?

3. Probably a question that has been answered somewhere else on this forum, but when you use a legal recruiter to find a new firm, am I responsible for paying the recruiter any fees when I accept any offer or does the recruiter get paid from the firm that I move to?
PM me, OP.

barkmittman

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Re: Making a Lateral Move

Post by barkmittman » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:48 pm

I’m the previous poster - inadvertently anonymous.

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