Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.

We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.

General Description:
Exciting and collaborative Technology Transactions group seeking attorney to work on cross-border licensing transactions. This attorney will be responsible for drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a variety of English agreements. Work scope includes game, mobile content, video content, development, marketing, and distribution agreements. This attorney will work closely with internal business teams on matters including privacy, product policies, and open source. Will also conduct legal research and manage outside counsel.

Of course these are just the very basics mentioned above and we are happy to go into all the exciting details about this company and the position with anyone who is interested and qualified. If you are interested, please feel free to reach out to us at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com and Evan Jowers, Robert Kinney or Yuliya Vinokurova will be happy to set up a phone call with you.

We have other in-house openings and numerous law firm openings in HK / China, Singapore and Tokyo at present. While its certainly not a boom hiring market, there are a number of openings at top firms. It remains a very selective market, but the very well qualified US associate looking to lateral to or within Asia today, especially HK / China, will have choices in M&A, cap markets, project finance, acquisition finance, FCPA / white collar litigation and arbitration. If you are interested in such a move or just would like to discuss the market and what might exist for you for a potential move in the medium term or long term future, or if you would like to discuss what a transfer to Asia would likely be like at your firm, please feel free to reach out to us at any time at asia@kinneyrecruiting.com. We do make a lot of placements of US associates in Asia, but we don’t need to eventually place or even represent all of the great US associates that reach out to us for advice and / or to discuss the Asia markets. We have never tried to convince anyone to start a job search, apply for an opening or accept an offer, but we push for everyone we work with or simply advise to make the most informed decisions that they possibly can when faced with such exciting career options. Its an information and relationship business that we are running here, rather than a typical recruiting practice.

When you talk to a prospective lateral about your firm during their first meeting, the conversation can go deep, sideways, and in circles. There is so much to share and discuss. What path of a dialogue can you follow to get better odds of a favorable conclusion?

Consider this template as a model you can use to discuss your firm’s opportunity. This simplifies the conversation and gives you a mental framework so the discussion is meaningful, relevant and moves things forward.

The Four P’s
In my transition from retained corporate executive search to legal search, I saw that there were many levels of complexity in the move of a partner transitioning from firm A to firm B. In placing an executive in a corporation, it was simple because of the linear nature of relationships in corporations. In a law firm, because of the multi-layered aspect of the interdependent relationships that each partner must manage with others, the dialogue is much more involved.

I distilled this information and systemized it into a simple model of talking points.

When I engage partners in conversations about their openness to move, I use this pattern to keep things simple but on track and relevant, keenly mindful that my goal is to open up the mind of my star prospect to the idea of considering a move. When I bring on a new client and begin advising them on effective growth and recruitingstrategies, I encourage them to use this format as a mental checklist of talking points about their firm’s opportunity during that first meeting. (NOTE: Call them meetings, not interviews. People who are ‘looking’ go on interviews. Partners who are happy but open will ‘take a meeting’ with another firm).

1. Platform
2. Practice
3. People
4. Potential

Platform: Discuss the brand equity of your firm, the geographic footprint, the unique value proposition, and other aspects of your firm as it relates to the big picture. What are you known for? The history of your firm is important, but what holds more relevance is the future strategy and how all the moving parts and people working together can accomplish a collective goal.

This is when you should share your firm’s values, vision and mission. If you are not sure what to say when you discuss this, then get with your firm’s leadership to clarify these talking points. This is a frequently neglected but necessary building block to an organization that can get glossed over because a firm may already have achieved success over multiple generations. But to communicate the true nature of your firm, it needs to be clarified. People want to join a team following a leader who is going places, and this is a leadership issue.

Leadership skills drive growth. Every law firm has partners with good legal skills, but finding law firm leaders with good leadership skills is rare. I know this because I spend my day listening to partners gripe about it. Use that to your advantage in your recruiting strategy. Differentiate yourself from every other vanilla law firm that looks the same as all the others. Spend time learning how to develop your leadership skills because this is attractive to prospective laterals who already have achieved success. Those rock star partners you really want to hire will be motivated by these things. At the core of its being, a law firm is a collective of peers held together by conditional promises. It’s even more critical for a law firm than a company to clarify its values, vision and mission, because nothing else exists to hold the attorneys together except ideals and values, such as loyalty.

Based on my personal observations, the majority of those who are running law firm offices or practice groups have spent most of their careers doing exceptionally well at practicing law and serving clients on legal matters. They have not mastered the core competency of leading large teams effectively. They have not been proactive in their leadership development and are relying on well-intentioned instinct and charisma, which only goes so far. Leadership is a simple concept and is something that must be continuously studied and discussed. For a client, would you try to solve a legal matter that is unfamiliar to you without studying up on it first? That’s the same priority you need to give to your own effectiveness in leadership.

Start by reading books by authors such as John Kotter, Ram Charan, and law firm management consultants like Ed Wesemann. Consider a daily reading habit. Or shorten your commute by listening to leadership books on audio, or even podcasts on leadership and law firm management. Leadership is developed over time and you can always learn more about how to lead because of the complex nature of human dynamics, especially within law firms. If you do this, it will come out in your dialogue with that fresh prospect, and you will tell the story of your firm on a strategic level and weave in meaningful discourse on your firm’s values, vision and mission.

To Be Continued in the next article

Copyright © 2013 Scott Love
Scott Love grows law firms and accelerates attorney careers by facilitating law firm mergers and conducting partner-level recruiting for law firms. He has been a career ‘headhunter’ since 1995 and is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy.

Scott lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and a toothless rescue dog named Smoky. He can be reached at 202-737-5555. To learn more, please visit www.attorneysearchgroup.com.


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Trade In Your Challenges

When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problems of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.

Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.

“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”

With success and expansion came a name change: RPCK Rastegar Panchal. Now, servicing clients across the globe and in many different areas of practice is a reality for Chintan, and the high quality problems have become opportunities.

Maybe it’s time for you to think about trading in your BigLaw career challenges for the high quality challenges of a small firm founder. Contact NexFirm today at 212-292-1000 or at careers@nexfirm.com; we’ll help you get started.

The 2013 ATL Holiday Gift Guide

Content removed. This post uses the Override URL to link to the original Gift Guide post at: http://abovethelaw.com/2013/11/the-2013-atl-holiday-gift-guide/

If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.

1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.

2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.

3. Is there a partner in charge of your office’s partner-level hiring? It’s fine to have staff manage the associate process, but partners want to deal with peers. This can be an office managing partner, a practice group leader, a hiring partner, or even a firm-wide dedicated partner-level lateral hiring coordinator. Thisis the ‘quarterback’ of the search that will carry the ball across the field and coordinate with other partners so that the lateral prospect doesn’t wonder who is doing what. There should always be a connection to the firm that is on a peer level. This is helpful in getting colleagues to work together to meet with the prospect and it also sends a congruent signal that the prospective lateral is very important to the firm.

4. Is there an internal ‘sponsor’ that can develop a meaningful connection with the lateral prospect? In addition to the quarterback, I believe this is extremely helpful for the lateral prospect to find someone (outside of leadership) with whom to connect. This is especially effective if the prospect already knows someone in the firm. Once the conversations have started between the leadership and the prospective lateral, then it’s always a good idea to let this relationship build on its own between the prospect and the ‘sponsor.’ This is usually best when there is good chemistry between the two, knowing that a prior friendship can serve as a catalyst to keep the magic alive with the candidate.

5. Momentum: Does your firm always know the next steps for each part of the process? After each meeting or each action step, the immediate goal should be to determine who is doing what, and when. For example, once the initial meeting takes place, you should already start thinking about other partners the candidate should meet with, and move quickly to set up those meetings internally. The process of moving a candidate from initial conversation to start date is a series of small forward-moving steps. Each step adds momentum and positive energy to the process. Any delay may deflate the candidate’s interest.

6. Execution: Does your firm come together when it’s time to sell the opportunity? Do your partners have the ability to drop everything and take action and spend valuable time meeting with this prospective lateral? If not, then you might need to remind them that lateral partner hiring (assuming the partner has a solid book) is the most effective form of new client development. Everyone is busy. Everyone has competing time issues and demanding clients, but those firms that make lateral hiring a priority are able to capture talent that other firms loose. I have seen deals fizzle out because too much time has passed between meetings, and the candidate’s interest wanes over several weeks with no action.

How many “yes” answers did you get?

1-2: You need to get the support of the firm’s leadership as it relates to lateral recruiting. Talk to your chairman or the firm’s managing partner and ask for your office to get top-level attention in this area. Have the top leadership speak with the partnership about the importance and priority of lateral hiring. If everyone is not on board, then you will not be successful in your hiring endeavors. This is not a one-person job, it’s a team effort from all of the partners.

3-4: You are doing great, but need some improvement. What are the two or three areas that are most challenging for you? Write down ten action steps that you can take to ameliorate these deficits. Next to each action step, prioritize them, and give yourself a deadline date for each task. Ask for help from other partners who have indicated an interest in eventually getting involved in firm leadership. You can’t do everything yourself, but you need to get help from a partner. Even if you need an assistant quarterback on deals, ask for help.

5-6: Well done! You have a clear idea of the importance of partner-level lateral hiring. By taking care to follow these recommendations, you are giving yourself an advantage in the lateral game and will insulate your firm from the risk of deals falling apart over these issues.

Copyright © 2013 Scott Love
Scott Love grows law firms and accelerates attorney careers by facilitating law firm mergers and conducting partner-level recruiting for law firms. He has been a career ‘headhunter’ since 1995 and is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. Scott lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and a toothless rescue dog named Smoky. He can be reached at 202-737-5555. To learn more, please visit www.attorneysearchgroup.com.

Need End of Year CLE?


If you are looking to fulfill CLE requirements by the end of 2013, look no further! Practical Law is offering webinars on a variety of important topics, available free of charge:

What Commercial Litigators and their Clients Need to Know about Bankruptcy
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Current Trends in Tender Offers: Exploring the Issues and Impact of New DGCL Section 251(h)
December 10 @ 1 pm EST – A review of trends and highlights from tender offers launched since the August 1 effective date of DGCL section 251(h). 1* CLE credit. Register now.

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December 11 @ 1pm EST – A discussion and demonstration on how to use legal project management to make legal service delivery more effective, resulting in increased client satisfaction. 1* CLE credit. Register now.

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BYOD is so great for so many reasons (For individuals: fewer things to carry around, everything in one place, no device confusion, you can use your shiny new phone more often. For corporations: less expensive, less need for support/IT, fewer whiny employees asking why they can’t use their iPhone/Nexus 5/Surface instead of the boring old Blackberry) that it’s easy to ignore pitfalls. But the mingling of personal and corporate data on a single device does create a lot of headache, and when you think about it, the privacy implications of BYOD are kind of obvious and something both corporates and users should be aware of.

Most disquieting to employee users of BYOD may be that when it comes to litigation, the fact that the phone is yours means nothing. If the phone or data on it are requested as part of a warrant or relevant civil e-discovery request, it must be turned over – with all of your personal photos, texts, banking information and Words with Friends high scores along with it. This can come as somewhat of a shock, not only because you are turning over private data that may potentially be searched by co-workers and third parties, but because you’ll be without your device as long as it is part of an investigation or discovery process. It’s enough to make you think twice about the ‘burdens’ of carrying two devices!

However, this is not to say that employees are entirely disadvantaged. Federal law does afford some protections, including statutes barring unauthorized, intentional access to employee-owned devices. A recent federal case, Lazette v. Kulmatycki, in the Northern District of Ohio upheld the idea that a company’s search of private employee data on a mobile device violated the Stored Communications Act because such a search was ‘unauthorized’ –even though in this case the device was owned by the company. It can be logically surmised that a similar search on an employee-owned device could create a similar outcome if also unauthorized.

Actually, this idea of ‘authorization’ is one of the strongest takeaways from statutes and case law in this area. And by ‘authorization’ I mean the informed consent of an employee for the employer to search all data on the device. It is absolutely essential that a corporation make the notion of informed consent a central part of any BYOD policy. But we may be getting ahead of ourselves, especially considering that according to a recent survey, 60% of corporations using BYOD lack a policy surrounding it.

Another takeaway is that when investigating surrendered devices, organizations should train staff to understand exactly which data to target and how to avoid data that is private and off-limits or just plain unnecessary to the matter. Technology and written process can help to narrow search and collection to specific date ranges, subjects and data types on a phone or tablet – allowing users to avoid those things that irrelevant and/or in a grey area when it comes to privacy concerns.

Providing an example of what not to do, the investigator/supervisor in the Lazette case accessed over 48,000 of an employee’s personal emails (from an account she thought she had deleted from the device) over an 18 month period as part of his investigation of her surrendered Blackberry. He then shared details of the personal emails with third parties. This is the type of practice companies want to train investigators to avoid. Unless the employee’s personal email is somehow relevant to the case, it shouldn’t be reviewed and definitely not discussed with parties outside of the litigation.

These two strategies are good for both parties because the statistics are showing that BYOD is here to stay and only getting bigger. This year, a Gartner survey of CIOs showed that 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to employees altogether by 2016. And another survey shows that a majority of younger workers are willing to actually contravene a corporate anti-BYOD policy in order to use their own devices on the job. Clearly corporations and their employees are rushing headlong into the BYOD future together. The good news is that with a bit of forethought, some education and the right tools the privacy implications for such a future do not necessarily need to be grim.

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