Whether you’re a firm contemplating hiring a new partner or you’re an attorney looking for a new home, the process is fraught with uncertainty.  Making the wrong choice can cost you a lot of money and a lot of time. Aside from the costs of a failed partnership, you shouldn’t discount the value of the time you spend recruiting and hiring. If you don’t move carefully, you could also lose clients or loyal employees and partners.

Right now, the demand for hiring lateral partners and associates is down. With the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s no surprise. But when hiring picks up, that doesn’t mean that you have to move quickly. So, is “dating before you marry” a good option for law firms and lawyers? Should you try out small collaborations before creating a long-term structured relationship? Why not?

Collaborate Before You Hire

If you think back to some of the best hires you’ve made, how did you get to know the lawyer and their work? Were you co-counsel for clients with mutual interests? Have you faced them in court or at the negotiating table?

The chances are that you or someone in your firm worked with that hire in some close capacity. You had the opportunity to evaluate their work product, relationships with clients, and their general approach to the practice of law. So, before bringing in any new lawyer, why not consider doing the same thing. Collaborate on a project. Bring them on as co-counsel or consult them in their area of expertise.

While working with a potential recruit, consider the following:

  • Is this a good culture fit?  You work long hours with your partners, so having someone who fits well is important. But “fit” doesn’t mean that you all have to be besties or the same color or gender. Rather, consider your firm values and whether this person will fit? Does this person bring diversity to your firm in terms of ideas, culture, and practice? Will you feel comfortable relying on this attorney in a crunch?
  • What are your goals and expectations?  Consider your expectations for a new hire and your dreams for your firm? What are the firm’s long-term goals, and how will this new hire help meet them? Keep in mind that having attorneys with varying amounts of experience can be helpful for a firm. Veteran attorneys teach newer attorneys, and newer attorneys often help implement new technologies and ideas in the firm.
  • Do you have complementary areas of expertise?  Often, it’s a good idea to diversify the areas of expertise attorneys bring to your firm. If all of the partners are transactional attorneys, will you compete for the same work? Consider bringing in attorneys that will complement your current practice areas, expand your client base, and diversify the services you offer to clients.

At AEGIS Law, we’ve built a better way to practice law. We’ve become one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country by disrupting the traditional law firm model. If you’d like to learn more about us and how we work, let us know. Send us a message or call us at (314) 454-9100.  For an overview of our firm, please AEGIS Law – Recruitment Guide.