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Women Making the Lateral Partner Move

Making a lateral move is a big decision, it’s important for anyone making the career more does it for the right reasons.

Men still dominate lateral equity partners within law firms. There is plenty of room for women to use their leadership and marketing skills.

If you are overlooked for partner, you may think about taking your portfolio of business down the street to another firm.

Change is scary for everyone. Not making a decision is still a decision. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. You made the decision, now prepare. Dig deep inside yourself, tell me what you want.

  • What practice areas do you provide to your clients?
  • Do you need offices in other locations?
  • Do you need to work virtual?
  • Do you need marketing support?
  • And most importantly, what do you bring to the table?

“That’s the basis of the strategic search, from here we can put you back in control of your career.” — Shari Davidson, President, On Balance Search Consultants.

Lateral Partner Process

  • If you are a partner at current firm. Read your agreement now.
  • Align yourself with a reputable recruiter.
  • Have a clear idea what the next career move will be and why.

For example:
Your next firm must have a robust marketing group to support you and have offices throughout the United States to serve your clients. The firm must have a culture that allows you to be home for your children.

Research firms that are a good fit for your lifestyle and what your want. It is critical that your specialized skill-set must align with the firms strategic goals.

Make sure you have . . .

  • A current CV, Business plan and Representative Matters available.
  • Accurate billing information for the past (3) three years (originations, billings, hourly rates, hours billed, realization rates, etc.).
  • Work with a recruiter.

A recruiter should be able to help you manage the process by:

  • Carefully have your recruiter query the interest level without releasing prospective lateral name or firm.
  • If there is mutual interest. Set up meetings and keep the conversations going.
  • Prep and debrief before and after each meeting.
  • Streamlining any materials, such as LPQ, compensation discussion and offer, prepping for resignation and most importantly be a sounding board for all concerns.

Virtual law firms may be the way to go. Working virtual is very doable, the support is there from cross selling to attorney collaboration.

Thankfully there are some great law firms for women to work for.

Know the early warning signs, if your firm starts laying staff off or there is an increase in attrition, it may be time to start looking. Making a lateral move will have impact your career, resist the initial temptation to make a move based solely on compensation.

Consider all the factors, then don’t be shy, make it happen.

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About: On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516-731-3400 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Ms. Davidson, a highly skilled human resources executive with over 20 years’ experience that specializes in finding top talent in the legal community. Shari has placed lateral partner attorneys, as well as group acquisitions & law firm mergers and has assisted several prominent clients in recruiting lateral associates, paralegals and internal professional administrative positions.