In the world of law firms, lateral hiring has become a key strategy for growth. Even for firms not specifically expanding, the occasional need for lateral hires remains crucial to uphold exceptional client service. It’s safe to say that most law firms will be considering lateral hiring in the coming months and years. With that in mind, it is imperative for firms to equip themselves with effective strategies to navigate the lateral hiring process successfully. Here are three pivotal tips that will guide law firms towards achieving triumphant lateral hiring outcomes:
1. Sell the Firm
When recruiting lateral candidates, law firms must recognize that they are not merely evaluators, but also sellers in this transaction. Sure, the firm needs to find the right fit and ensure the candidate meets their requirements, but it’s a two-way street. Lateral candidates usually have options. That’s where the firm needs to step in and make its case. Why should the candidate consider this firm? What advantages can the firm bring to her career? How can joining the firm enhance her practice and benefit her clients? Making a strong case for these factors can sway lateral candidates in the firm’s direction.
2. Keep the Momentum
The lateral hiring process involves several steps, and each one matters. With busy lawyers on both sides – the hiring firm and the lateral candidate – delays are somewhat inevitable. While some delays are okay, it’s the unexplained ones that can harm a law firm’s hiring efforts. Not communicating with candidates during these periods can give the impression that the candidate isn’t a priority. Imagine a situation where a law firm has met with a promising lateral candidate, and the meeting went well for both parties. The law firm should communicate with the candidate within a few days of that meeting to provide general feedback, at a minimum. If weeks go by without any updates, it sends a signal of disinterest. This can lead the candidate to lose interest and step back from the process. Effective lateral hiring requires maintaining communication and reducing avoidable delays.
3. Have Firm Leadership Involved
Successful law firms that excel in lateral hiring often have their top leadership actively participating in the process. When lateral candidates get a chance to interact with Managing Partners and Practice Group Leaders, it sends a message that they are a priority to the firm. This is very impactful to prospective laterals. Even if firm leadership only spends a few minutes with a prospective lateral, those few minutes can make all of the difference in whether the candidate decides to join the firm. This level of involvement communicates commitment and respect, which are crucial factors in a successful hiring process.
By emphasizing the firm’s unique value, maintaining the hiring process’s momentum, and involving firm leadership, law firms can significantly improve their chances of securing the best lateral candidates. In a competitive field where top talent is a prized possession, mastering these strategies can elevate law firms to new heights of success.
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