In the mid-1990s, great former New York Jets recipient Keyshawn Johnson was frustrated with his lack of touch, knowing full well that he was the star of the team. One day he broke into the media and said, "Just give me the damn ball." He knew that his lack of touch was the bottleneck in the entire operation. If they could just get him the ball and let him do the rest, the team would dominate.
When recruiting lateral partners, I see the LPQ – the questionnaire for lateral partners – like this. It is the proverbial ball that partner candidates have to fill because we cannot win without it.
We all know the scenario: you interview multiple companies and have narrowed it down to a few, or you've already decided on one. After months of dancing, you know who can pay and who was just window shopping. You know whose billing rates will never be low enough for your customers and which companies are grinding their partners into mulch. You know which corporate practices are lawful to help you cross-sell and which ones are grimmer than Trump's tax returns. You are excited and about to receive an offer from your dream company. You feel a great number coming. But wait … they want you to fill out an LPQ ?!
For the uninitiated: what is an LPQ? After preliminary discussions to determine if you are a real fit for the target firm, both culturally and commercially, most law firms will ask you to fill out a Lateral Partner Questionnaire (LPQ) to simplify this process. Due diligence is an essential part of the decision about hiring a lateral partner. Law firms need to review your ledger, avoid customer conflicts, and manage risk as much as possible. Factors taken into account include your reputation, sales, origins, customer relationships, and business portability. The data included is biographical and economic – a three to five year history of origins, collections, billing, customer data, realization rates and predictions for your future, etc. Yes, we admit this is a bit annoying.
So your inner voice takes over: “Why? We got on so well! Do you actually need to verify that my company is what I'm saying? Isn't my word good enough to get you into a potentially seven-digit lawyer contract? Isn't it shocking? Oh god just forget it. Just forget the whole thing. It's too much work. "Stand back and ask yourself: Is that me?
Look, we get it. Maybe some of you are just Lookie Loos, and that's fine. Now is the time to bow / ghost gracefully. But many of you have expressed a deep misfortune and a strong desire to move to a better platform and we believe you want to do something about it. So ask yourself: does it really make sense to create such a stench through the LPQ?
Is It Really Too Much To Ask? Too much work? Too much work to fill out a form that takes up an hour of your time compared to the last 10 or 20,000 hours you've burned at a company you're not happy with. You already have all the information. All you have to do is literally type it into a short document. Kind of like what you do every day. Except that you get paid a lot less for it. Literally entering your information into an LPQ is possibly the most valuable time ever spent in your career. That one hour that you keep pushing is an hour that another partner has spent drinking your milkshake and taking that dream job off your hands. I've seen it so many times, but during the pandemic, it's especially outrageous to imagine that you just don't have time.
No more BS. You have the time. S ** t or get out of the pot. We recruiters work hard to empower our partner candidates to improve their prospects. We can't do that if you adamantly refuse to do the most important part. So I beg you, on behalf of all the recruiters, and on behalf of all the companies that you really hire and want to welcome you to a better life: In the words of the great Keyshan Johnson, "Just do your damn LPQ."
Or if your football references are all from Jerry Maguire then just let me scream, "Help me help you!"
Ed. Note: This is the latest in a series of contributions from the Lateral Link team of experts. This post is from Matt Ritter, a California-based principal who focuses on bringing partners and employees to prominent positions at elite firms and corporations in the United States, with a focus on the California and New York markets. Matt has a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and was a corporate associate at Kirkland & Ellis and Mayer Brown in NYC.
Matt has also toured as a comedian and has written and produced a couple of successful TV shows … now he's trying to help lawyers find their dream jobs! So you could say he's not your typical recruiter.
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