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  • Writer's pictureIan Delaney

Looking to Time the Lateral Market?

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

"When is the best time to start exploring the market?"

This is a common question I get when attorneys call me to discuss their situation. The first thing I tell people is, “before you need to.” The second is, “the last quarter of the year.”

It’s important to remember that starting a search is not the same thing as finishing one. The process often takes 3-6 months to land an offer. So why now?

Fewer Attorneys are Searching:

With so many holidays, both religious and cultural, many people don’t want to deal with the perceived hassle of a job search right now. This takes a lot of competition out of the market. The reality is, yes, finding a new firm does require participation, but by bringing on a well-qualified recruiter onto your team, much of the work is handled by them.

Firms’ Needs are Immediate:

Partners equally are more focused on holidays and would rather spend that time with their families instead of in interviews, so when firms have needs right now, those needs are real and immediate. They are looking to make offers and not drag the process out longer than it needs to be.

But My Bonus!

Notice I say “offers” and not “hire”. Firms know that you don’t want to miss out on your bonus, so they will often defer start dates until after the new year. The process also takes time, if you submit to a firm today, it’s likely going to be a month or more before a firm is able to extend an offer. Even then, you’ll still need to go through conflicts and give proper notice to your current firm.

It boils down to being a unique combination of motivated supply from the firms and decreased demand by attorneys who wait until after the new year, which provides a fantastic opportunity for those who are willing to take a look and explore what additional opportunities may be out there now.

If you are at all curious about how your goals could be better fulfilled as we head into 2024, talk with a trusted recruiter who will take the time to listen to your needs, wants, and goals and create a tailored approach to helping you take advantage of this time of year.


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