Craigslist, Lawyer Advertising, Partner Issues, Solo Practitioners

Partners for Sale on Craigslist

It’s no secret that the legal market is still in the tank. Unemployed associates have grown accustomed to scrounging the Internet for any and all job openings that might materialize – even sketchy postings offering $35,000 salaries to sharp dressers.

Just how bad has the economy gotten? Bad enough that Craigslist isn’t just for associates anymore. That’s right, now even partners are lowering themselves to the point of hawking their wares on this oh-so-prestigious platform. In the last week, we’ve seen not one, but two ads on Craigslist aimed at the upper echelon of law firm life.

One poster is an aspiring partner seeking the right law firm to take on his or her amazing legal talent. The other is a solo lawyer seeking a partner to start a law practice.

Are these two a match made in Craigslist heaven? Keep reading to see if either of our contestants has the goods to succeed in the partner matchmaking game.

Our first contestant comes out swinging with the eye-catching subject line of “Litigator Seeks Affiliation.” Here’s what this ambitious attorney has to offer:

AV rated commercial litigator with almost 25 years experience and large law firm background seeks affililation as Partner or Of Counsel to midsized or larger firm. Solid background in litigation and ADR of matters involving construction, insurance, entertainment, real estate and “business divorce”. $350K+ portable annual billings. Seeking NYC firm but will consider multi-office firms with Philadelphia/Boston offices too (past member of PA Bar and attended law school and clerked in MA). Email firm name and contact info. for prompt response.

Hopefully whomever this person ends up making an “affililation” with has a proofreader on staff.

But typos aside, let’s break down the offer. After all, our poster thought long and hard before crafting a targeted search, narrowing the ideal job market down to only midsized or larger firms in the discrete New York/Philadelphia/Boston area. So, now on to contestant #1’s credentials:

1) AV rated commercial litigator

For those not familiar with Martindale’s rating system:

AV® Preeminent™ (4.5-5.0) – An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.

So, we can say that our poster is liked by other lawyers, which is actually a quality that might differentiate him or her from a lot other partners out there. It also means that there is a strong possibility that previous law firms ate this nice person for breakfast, hence the need to advertise on Craigslist.

2) With almost 25 years experience and large law firm background

Note that our poster doesn’t actually claim to have been a partner before. Nor is the post claiming 25 years of experience at a large law firm. If either of these things were true, I would assume that the ad would brag about it (or contestant #1 needs some serious lessons in how to sell one’s strengths). But with the willingness to settle for either a Partner or Of Counsel position, I’m guessing we’re not dealing with a current partner.

3) And $350K+ in portable annual billings

Given that profits per partner at top New York law firms are in the $2-4 million range, I’m going to say that this book of business isn’t going make large New York or multi-office firms jump out of their seats. Perhaps contestant #1’s sights should be set a little lower.

4) Past member of PA Bar and attended law school and clerked in MA

Talk about vague credentials. Again, if there were rankings or prestige to brag about, I assume the post would have done so. It’s also pretty clear that the law school in Massachusetts isn’t Harvard since our poster doesn’t do that pretentiously vague “university in Cambridge” thing that Harvard people always do.

Still, if any midsized/large New York/Philadelphia/Boston firms out there are interested, contestant #1 is waiting for your call.

While I think that’s unlikely, there might be hope yet. Our second contestant in the Craigslist potential partnership match game is “Seeking Partner to Start a Law Practice (NYC or greater NYC area).” The details are thin, but here’s what our poster is putting on the table:

I’m looking for a partner to start a law practice focusing on transactional work and plaintiff side representation in civil matters.

This would be a completely collaborative venture. If interested, please send your resume.

Thank you and I’d be happy to answer any questions.

The best part of contestant #2’s post, hands down, is the realistic view of how lucrative the future partnership may be:

Compensation: What we make

Again, the dearth of information provided, combined with the fact that this is an attempt to form a law firm on Craigslist, makes it unlikely that this post will succeed in helping contestant #2 form the dream law firm.

Now, if only the stars would align to bring our two contestants together, perhaps they could form a sweet, sweet affililation with each other.

If not, there are still some fun consolation prizes to be had. After all, $350,000 should go pretty far in the casual encounters arena.

(hidden for your protection)

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