KEYS TO SUCCESS
Please note that the following steps are not listed by order of importance. They are all equally vital to the success of lateral hiring. Therefore, these are not “a la carte” suggestions from which you can pick and choose, but prototype of which all must be implemented to achieve success without unnecessary risk with your new hires.
I. Someone must clearly “own the process” of managing the lateral attorney’s entry into the firm and integration for several months thereafter.
§ This should be an authoritative attorney and not a member of the firm’s HR or attorney recruitment staff.
Ø There should be one partner who is fully empowered with the backing of the firm’s management committee to guide the process.
Ø This person may be a practice group chair relevant to the new lateral.
Ø There must be no question of this person’s authority to drive the process.
§ Those who are also involved in the process must receive concrete, appreciable recognition and compensation for this involvement. The firm should:
Ø Clearly outline the mission via well-publicized firm policy, identify the leadership involved in the process and reward the effort.
Ø Institute a system of accountability so there is a high level of familiarity as to what exactly needs to be done.
Ø Reward attorneys when it comes to compensation who help other attorneys develop business or who engage other attorneys to develop prospective business.
Ø Track, as an element of the compensation decision, the efforts of attorneys who work with other attorneys in cross-marketing, internal marketing, business development between practice groups, introductions of existing clients to others in the firm, etc.
II. Develop a Joint Business Plan Between the Firm and the Lateral.
§ Maximize the mutual benefit of the lateral move.
§ Designed to integrate the lateral and his business base.
§ To deal with client introductions.
§ Introduce the lateral to other practice groups in the firm.
§ To develop a marketing plan to expand the lateral’s business by exploiting the platform offered by the firm.
III. Focus on Improvement and Growth.
§ Focus on improvement of the lateral’s practice.
§ Focus on clients, firm’s existing clients and new business development.
§ Develop a plan for personal introductions and cross-selling.
IV. Develop an Awareness of the Lateral.
§ Have a champion within the firm, backed by management.
§ Arrange meetings with practice groups.
§ Introduction of the lateral of himself and his practice and clients.
§ Introductions of the lateral to business development meetings.
§ Identify those attorneys who best fit with the lateral, either for development of the lateral’s practice or the development of his clients.
§ Identify new opportunities and add them to the lateral’s business plan so the firm can help accomplish the growth and assist in the follow through.
V. Periodic Briefings.
§ Practice leaders should meet monthly with the lateral during his first 6 months with the firm to monitor the above practices and to avoid missed opportunities.
§ Review progress of the lateral’s integration with practice groups.
§ Review development of the new cross-marketing opportunities.
§ Use this as a time to interact and make sure there’s continued chemistry.
§ Identify a course of action which will help the lateral further integrate, which will help him feel he is an important member of the team.
VI. Technical and Human Support.
§ Make the lateral aware of the firm’s full array of resources.
§ From the very beginning, make sure the lateral has full access to associate and staff support.
§ Placement of the lateral’s office near active, dynamic attorneys and other synergistic practice groups.
§ Make sure others seek out the lateral for lunches or casual meet-and-greets.
§ Whenever possible, place the lateral on meaningful firm committees or in management positions.
Ability to expand and get support for the lateral’s practice is the single most important factor.
The next critical element is being integrated.
Having a well-defined and managed lateral integration plan and the commitment to the actual implementation should be at the forefront of everyone’s consciousness.