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The holiday season is upon us, and we hope that we’ll be the first ones on your list when you schedule your party destination plans. Just in case the giant ad bar at the top of the site wasn’t a good enough reminder about the Above the Law holiday party, I’m here to give you all of the details again.

This year, our sponsors are almost as prestigious and superior as our readers: Prestige Legal Search and Superior Discovery. Here are all of the details that you need to know:

Thursday, December 5, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Dewey’s Flatiron in New York, New York
OPEN BAR FOR ALL THREE HOURS

You’ll get to meet all of the Above the Law editors, some of our finest columnists, and sample each of our specialty drinks. Alcohol is a great social lubricant, and we know that all of our guests will be especially well-lubed (which is almost definitely what she said).

Dewey think you’re going to have a blast at our holiday party? Totally! You know you want to come. RSVP below to join in all the fun:

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts on lateral partner moves from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Today’s post is written by Michael Allen, the Managing Principal of Lateral Link, who focuses exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

Lateral matchmaking is hardly ever “love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.” It is a rigorous process that requires a multifaceted approach to satisfy a multitude of criteria. If you are questioning the degree of your lateral attractiveness, allow me to explicate this below.

Each firm has a unique culture and looks for different traits in lateral partners. Nonetheless, most firms have a baseline, a minimum threshold a lawyer must meet in order to seem attractive, at least at first glance. There are always exceptions to these rules, but in general this threshold is encompassed by the following: profitability (e.g., portable business, bill rates, hours, and leverage); pedigree (e.g., law school); vintage; and for some firms, even GPA.

The first criteria is profitability. I will walk you through a quick example to explain the difference between two partners, then share with you a game that will let you assess your value as a lateral in today’s market….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Calculating Your Value As A Lateral Partner”

We’d like to take a moment to thank to our wonderful advertisers here at Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, please download our media kits or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts on lateral partner moves from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Today’s post is written by Michael Allen, the Managing Principal of Lateral Link, who focuses exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

“Do not go gentle into that good night, rage rage against the dying of the light.”

Dylan Thomas prophesied in his 1951 villanelle a prescient observation of aging leadership along with the corresponding succession planning hurdles a majority of laws firms face with their baby booming (or boomed) vintages.

Of the roughly 35,000 partners in Biglaw, roughly 4,700, (13%) of them are within a few years of or have surpassed (and then some) the mandatory retirement age. Lawyers 55 or older make up nearly 1/3 of practicing partners in the Am Law 200, a figure that will likely hold steady as the tail end of the baby boomer generation ages. Am Law 200 law firms have on average about 23.5 chairs, executive members, and senior partners whose 40-plus years of experience, client relationships, and leadership must be transferred to a new generation of rising stars. The process is hardly ever smooth and often involuntary.

Most partners in senior vintages begrudge the practice of mandatory retirement; some bemoan that it is an overcautious safeguard or the epitome of ageism. Some claim the practice is supported by scientific studies that link cognitive decline with advancing age — especially after 65, which is about the average for mandatory retirement. So how many law firms are prepared to deal with the void left by these partners?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Your Law Firm Needs A Partner Succession Plan”

It’s been an amazing year here at Above the Law. We have more readers than ever before. We have more straight white males writing for us than ever before. We’ve received more direct death threats from law deans and law professors than ever before (maybe that’s just me). And it’s all thanks to you, our loyal readers who are looking at this post on Facebook and thinking “I don’t want to “like” this and let my friends know I actually read this website.”

Let’s have a party. We’ve got money, non-denominational yuletide cheer, and an open bar. We got sponsors: Prestige Legal Search and Superior Discovery, which means we’re literally having a PRESTIGE holiday party that will be SUPERIOR to all others.

Here are the pertinent details:

Thursday, Dec 5th
7:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. at Dewey’s Flatiron in New York, NY
OPEN BAR for ALL THREE HOURS

Do I really have to sell this more? We’ve got the entire mezzanine section of Dewey’s Flatiron. We’ll be doing specialty drinks again for each editor. And everybody’s invited… except you. You know who you are. Don’t you dare come.

We’d like to take a moment to thank to our wonderful advertisers here at Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, please download our media kits or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

Ed. note: The Aspiring Lateral, a new series from Levenfeld Pearlstein, will analyze a variety of issues surrounding lateral moves, drawing on the firm’s experience in the lateral market as well as the individual experiences of LP attorneys. Today’s post is written by Brian Kozminski, a partner in LP’s Real Estate practice.

For those thinking about switching firms, one of the most important things to consider about any prospective new firm is the way in which it is managed. Preferably efficiently, transparently, and in a business-like manner. But because you are in the legal profession, that is likely not the case. Sound harsh? Let me explain.

In order to understand how fully stacked the decks are against good management in law firms, it’s instructive to step back and compare how management choices are made in law firms with other industries.

If you owned a restaurant, for instance, you probably would not assume that your best chef would also make the best restaurant manager. If you owned a movie studio, you probably would not assume that your best director would also make the best CFO. If you owned a basketball team, you probably would not assume that a great point guard would also make a great coach and president of your team. (Or you would, then regret it later.)

The restaurant, movie studio, and basketball team owners (with the exception of the Knicks) understand that the skills of their top producers — however impressive — are not necessarily transferable to executive positions. Law firms are only learning this lesson now. Following a historic practice that continues to this day, many firms are run by the lawyers with the biggest books of business.

It does not go too far to call this practice absurd. Certainly, yes, at any law firm it makes sense to place lawyers in the leadership positions of, for instance, managing partner and chairman. And there may be some overlap between the qualities needed to succeed in those positions — charisma being one — and those helpful in becoming a rainmaker. But to ask those lawyers to also make the trains run on time — to administer the business operations of the firm — is courting disaster, for any number of reasons…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Aspiring Lateral: The Business Side”

Ed. note: This post is sponsored by NexFirm.

So you’ve decided to make the jump. Persuaded by the 10 reasons to leave Biglaw, and aware of the 10 common mistakes made by lawyers who launch their own firms, you have decided to hang your shingle.

What can you expect in your first few years running your own law firm? Here are 10 things that might surprise you….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “7 Things That Might Surprise You About Having Your Own Law Firm”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts on lateral partner moves from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Today’s post is written by Michael Allen, the Managing Principal of Lateral Link, who focuses exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

Merger season has arrived, yielding a fruitful harvest of potentially enormous mergers between Patton Boggs and Locke Lord and between Pillsbury and Orrick. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these mergers is the potentially “super” practice groups these mergers will make.

Patton Boggs has recently undergone a period of mild strife, as we detailed several months ago. Though they lost a significant number of energy and environmental attorneys after the fallout of the Chevron litigation, this merger with Locke Lord could be effective not only as a stopgap, but could also vastly strengthen each firm’s energy department….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Recently Announced Law Firm Mergers Could Create Cascade of Lateral Moves”

We’d like to take a moment to thank to our wonderful advertisers here at Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, please download our media kits or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

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