Lateral Link

Ed. note: This is the first installment in a new series of posts on partner issues from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Today, Larry Latourette, Executive Director – Partner Practice, brings us his insights on what it’s like to practice law in the era of mandatory retirement, and how older partners can make a lateral transitions to new firms.

When I first met “Mark” for lunch this summer, he appeared to be in his mid-fifties, in excellent health, and talked about his competitive tennis game, needing to put his teenage kids through college, and his thriving legal practice that he couldn’t imagine giving up in the next ten years. In reality, Mark was 64, faced forced retirement from his firm in nine months, and wanted to know what his options were for moving laterally to another firm.

As a legal recruiter, I have met a growing number of lawyers like Mark who are bumping up against their firms’ mandatory retirement age. This trend will, in fact, accelerate over the next five years, for several reasons. Like other sectors of the economy, the Baby Boomers have had a dramatic effect on lawyer demographics. About 60 percent of law partners are now 55 or older, and by some estimates, a quarter of all practicing attorneys will be 65 or older by next year. At the same time the population is graying, however, it is also living longer. Especially with the increasing number of women in the legal profession, the life expectancy of lawyers who are 65 is now almost 20 years higher, with most of that time spent in good physical and mental health. Finally, the recent downturn in the economy has also caused some lawyers to postpone retirement as their nest eggs have dwindled.

Objectively, there is no question that most older lawyers are up to the challenge of practicing law….

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Looking to rock your law school exams without even trying? Good luck with that. Unless you are a part of the small minority that can take an exam with little preparation and a couple shots of tequila, you will have to do some work to do well throughout your law school career. While reading all your assignments, briefing all relevant cases, and kissing up to all your law professors may help your grades a little, there is still no guarantee that all that extra work will earn you the top grades you are gunning for.

There is a strategy to doing well in law school. Most importantly, know that there is no one strategy that works for everybody. You know how you like to study, and you know what works best for you. That being said, the recruiting professionals at Lateral Link have compiled a list of tips below that worked for them and the attorneys they have placed at top firms around the world….

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As we pointed out in Part 1 and Part 2 on looking for another job, three of the biggest suggestions for conducting a job search without getting caught include keeping the job search entirely out office, knowing where your resume is going, and networking on the down-low.

In this last post, we offer our last tip on conducting a stealth job search…

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As we pointed out in last week’s post on looking for another job, job seekers should be cautious about the job-search process, even if they only want to test the waters.

While many attorneys fear getting caught by their employer for searching for a new job, there are things one can do to keep the risk of being caught as minimal as possible. Keep in mind, there is no foolproof plan, but you might be able to leave your job without burning any bridges along the way by sticking to some of our tips. Aside from the previously mentioned suggestions of keeping your job search out of office and knowing where your resume is going, we offer you this tips on conducting a stealth job search…

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There will be a point in your legal career when you decide to look for another job — and for the majority of lawyers, there will be many of those points. Whether you are ready to leave your current job, or just want to test the waters, job seekers should be cautious about the search process. Unfortunately, many attorneys would rather remain unhappy in their current jobs than search for a new job for fear of getting caught by their employer.

Even though there is no foolproof plan, and there is always a risk of getting caught before securing a new position, below are some tips on how you can conduct an effective job search while keeping the search under wraps from your current employer. In this Career Center post, the first of three, Lateral Link offers tips on how you can conduct a stealth job search….

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You’ve heard the comments time and time again — a judicial clerkship is a great opportunity you should pursue if given the chance. Besides the prestige of the position, clerkships offer law school graduates a rare glimpse inside the chambers of the country’s brilliant and respected jurists.

While the writing and researching experience is invaluable, there are additional opportunities law clerks should look into before their clerkship ends. Now on to the tips….

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As the market continues to grow with applicants across various practice areas, qualified or not, it’s more important than ever for your résumé to stand out, especially from the competition.

This week, Lateral Link Director Amy Savage gives her tips on developing a convincing résumé, because the look of your résumé can be one factor in getting interviews at firms or companies you’re passionate to work for….

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If your job is wearing you out, or you just plain hate it, have you ever considered that you may be contributing to the problem? Lateral Link has come up with four bad office practices that are detrimental to your career.

Find out if you’re guilty of any of these bad work habits, and how you can break them….

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You detest your boss. You can’t stand your coworkers. You want to die if you have to work another 100-hour week. If that sounds familiar, then you’re in good company with many other attorneys who hate their job. Unfortunately, you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe you’ve only been at your job for a year or less, or you have no other job prospects at the moment.

When you’re stuck at a job you loathe, what can you do to not only survive, but even thrive in it? Try these tips, provided to you by the experienced recruiters at Lateral Link….

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Networking isn’t just for job seekers. And it isn’t even just for the rainmakers who bring in business. It’s what every attorney (and attorney-to-be) should be doing right now — whether you’re a first-year associate at a Biglaw firm or a senior attorney at a small regional firm. Too often, attorneys wait until they need something before they start networking. But by then, it’s too late to build an effective network from scratch. If you really want to make a go of having any kind of a long and successful legal career, learning how to network early on and effectively is key.

If you already have a network in place, don’t assume you are done because you keep in touch with a few friends from law school and attend MCLE seminars once every three years. Today’s tips, brought to you by the experienced recruiters at Lateral Link, will give you ways to improve your network….

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