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  • Writer's pictureIan Delaney

Realigning Value With and Without a Lateral Move

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

During stressful times, some people like to watch reality shows to escape the real world. The other weekend, my wife was watching a show which rhymes with “Manderpump Mules,” and after I got sucked into the mesmeric whirlpool of dysfunctional relationships, I began to hear a refrain of, “I’m such a good friend, why does [insert drama of the week here] keep happening to me?!”

Another way of viewing this is:

“I attribute +X value to myself, why is my value not being recognized, and why am I getting -Y as a result?”

This is a feeling we all have from time to time, and, of course, I immediately thought of parallels in the lateral market and how we’ve addressed the value gap for attorneys in the past.

To me, it comes down to one of three scenarios.

1. The attorney and firm both value the work the attorney does (the way it’s done, the way they interact with clients, etc.), yet the attorney isn’t getting the bonuses or advancement they feel is commensurate with that value.

2. The attorney puts forth effort, which should be seen as valuable, but doesn’t hold value for the firm (i.e. writing articles, giving presentations, sometimes even building business).

3. The attorney overvalues what they offer to the market as a whole (i.e. expecting above-market compensation or bonuses at a mid-size, regional firm).

One and two are a matter of realignment, either to which firm you’re providing value or the specific value you provide. Three requires a bit more of a paradigm shift in understanding market forces and what reasonable expectations may be.

No matter the situation, it’s solvable and improvable. Though sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see what we can’t always see for ourselves.

May all your drama be “reality” and not real.


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