How firms handle lateral recruiting

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The lateral recruiting process in law firms is more complex and takes more time than the law student recruiting process. Most lateral candidates don't realize how long finding a job often takes. Allow up to 90 days just for the interview process. If your goal is to change jobs in January, I'd start looking at least in June of the previous year. To be on the safe side, allow a good nine months for the process, from start to finish.

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Many attorneys don't give themselves enough time simply because they don't know how the interview process works in law firms. Well, I'm going to tell you how it basically works so that when you plan your job search, it should be a little easier.


Lateral candidates are often treated to the same luxuries as law students during the interview process. But often, the process is more complex, more planned and executed, and more in-depth than with law student candidates. Therefore, lateral interviews are sometimes more difficult to schedule and take more time.

Screening Candidates

Some firms thoroughly screen lateral candidates over the telephone prior to bringing them in for interviews, and others, if using a headhunter, expect the headhunter to prequalify the candidate. If your entree into a firm was through your networking skills, anticipate that the firm will check you out at some point, perhaps even before bringing you in.

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