How long does it take to make a lateral move?

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What is going on with law firm hiring these days? Several of my friends have made lateral moves in the past couple of years and had multiple offers. My credentials and experience are as good or better. I have not been laid off, and I am a strong candidate. But I am not getting many interviews, and one firm I did meet with over a month ago says I am ''under consideration'' but has not made a decision. It has been weeks since I interviewed. What am I supposed to think? - Jim


A majority of candidates have experienced the same phenomenon this year at some point in their process. To answer your question, it's a lot of things. Since the beginning of the year, the response rate of our law firm clients has slowed markedly.

Law firm hiring isn't a quick process in general. A relatively smooth search can take several months. Once a candidate has interviewed with an employer and there is mutual interest, it can often be four to six weeks before an offer is formally extended. That is only if the planets align and the firm has an efficient hiring process.

There are conflicts to clear and references to check. Depending on the size of the firm, an independent hiring committee may need to meet and approve the offer. Usually meetings are called when there are several candidates for various openings that are being recommended for offers. If you happen to be the first candidate that is put before the recruiting committee, sometimes the decision on your candidacy can get held up temporarily.

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