The three contacts you need after making a lateral move

January 17, 2018

As part of our full cycle legal recruiting services, we make it a habit to keep in touch with placed candidates on a regular basis after they’ve started with their new employer.  Beyond the regular on-boarding process each employer takes their newly arrived lawyers through, my experience is the most successful lateral candidates will seek out three key contacts to aid with a smooth transition to the new environment, as follows:

  • Advisor within the practice group or department. This may include the head of the group, but more often it is someone else who has a good understanding of the nuances of the practice group or department, who can help navigate the day-to-day issues. Quickly understanding the personalities within your new group, along with any cultural shorthand that might inform day-to-day operations are critical to the successful integration of any lateral talent.
  • Advisor outside the group, but within the law firm (or company). Having a contact outside your group can help you understand how your team is perceived within the broader organization, while also assisting in understanding what the broader culture of the organization may be. Where is the culture strong (and consistent) across all departments? What are the nuances unique to each of the groups within the organization? Understanding these questions can help you integrate and succeed more quickly in a new environment.
  • Advisor outside the firm or company (not from previous employer). Finally, having an advisor outside your organization can provide a useful sounding board on questions you may have of your new employer, particularly where you aren’t yet certain of the internal politics. The key is to seek someone out who is not part of your immediate past employer, as they may have a conflict of interest in the advice they provide (they may be a competitor, or perhaps they may be hoping you will come back to the team, for example).  The key is to find someone whose sole interest is to see you succeed in the new environment, free from conflicts with either your current or past employers.

Taking the time to proactively seek out these resources can pay huge dividends in your career as you transition to a new environment. Likewise, for employers who are onboarding new talent, ensuring they have access to these informal resources can allow new talent to more quickly and effectively onboard within the organization.

The Counsel Network is a specialist legal recruitment firm operating across Canada. If you are considering making a move, our legal recruitment consultant team would be happy to have a confidential discussion with you.

Warren Smith, Managing Partner