Last week, we shared insights from legal recruiters on how the lateral market has changed, what practice areas remain in demand, and what lateral candidates can do to set themselves apart. In this second installment of our lateral hiring Q&A, these recruiting experts weigh in on the lateral attorney job search in light of COVID-19—including whether candidates should pursue opportunities in this climate and how they should navigate video interviews—as well as steps their own search firms are taking to adapt to this new normal.
Are there any instances in which you recommend a lateral candidate wait to pursue a new job? Are there any instances in which you recommend they jump on new opportunities now?
Sean Burke and Becca Blank: For most associates with general experience or those in capital markets/private equity practices, stay put. But for BigLaw junior associates who have done only a bit of litigation or bank finance and want to stay busy and get more hands-on challenging work, consider shifting to bankruptcy.
There are a lot of overlaps with litigation and M&A, depending on whether the practice is focused on debtor or creditor representation. The skills will be transferable. They’re great practices willing to retool driven juniors.
Alternatively, if you find yourself getting pulled into bankruptcy or litigation and that’s not the trajectory you want for your career, you should keep your eyes open. If a job does open up, you might want to be proactive and at least take the meeting.
Since most interviews at this point will be virtual, do you have any advice on best practices for video interviewing?
Sean and Becca: Double check how your outfit looks on your computer camera! We can’t tell you how many times we’ve done a video call with someone and the stripes on their shirt are super distracting and wiggly because the computer camera doesn’t pick them up correctly. Otherwise, we highly recommend still wearing what you would wear to an in-person interview. It’s nice to still show you’re putting in the effort, even if from home. Each video interview platform is different (Skype, Zoom, etc.), so we definitely recommend downloading whichever one the firm will be using in advance and testing it out. The last thing you want is to be fumbling around at the beginning of your interview.
Do everything you can to get as much video interview practice as possible—you want to come across confident and comfortable.
You can start by doing video meetings (virtual happy hour!) with friends if you’re not doing them already. We also do video prep meetings with our candidates!
These are stressful times, so no judgment if you are drinking a glass of wine at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, but maybe don’t leave the bottle in the background. And definitely put any pets in the bedroom. Their cuteness won’t get you the job.
What is your firm doing to adapt to potential recruiting changes due to COVID-19?
Sean and Becca: We’re following market trends very closely. We’re fortunate to have some of the most knowledgeable folks in the legal hiring game on our team (shout out to Dan Mummery, former Gibson Dunn hiring partner!), many of whom were around for the 2008 hiring dip. We’re studying those trends as well as following what’s currently going on. Also, Zoom meetings! It’s the next best thing to meeting candidates and clients in person.
Corporate Counsel (M&A) @ Better.com
Counsel, Legal & Business Affairs @ Global Entertainment Agency
The Fashion Crowd
In House M&A Counsel @ Top Private Equity Fund
In House Without the Pay Cut
Associate General Counsel, Product and Regulatory @ Intersection of FinTech and PropTech
Associate General Counsel @ Late-stage Industry Disruptor
Product Counsel @ Blockchain Platform
Commercial Counsel @ Healthcare Data Startup
Fight Diseases with Data
Director, Legal & Business Affairs @ Digital Entertainment Leader
Corporate Counsel @ Alternative Investment Platform
Deputy General Counsel - Corporate Development & Governance @ Heavy-hitting Unicorn
Commercial AGC @ Iconic Fine Jewelry Brand
Put a Ring On It
Sr. Corporate Counsel @ OwnBackup, high-growth data techco
SaaS in Hypergrowth Mode
1st Legal Hire @ Alpaca - Series B FinTech
M&A Counsel @ Tech-y Venture Capital Fund (Portuguese Speaker)
VC is Heating Up
AGC, Payments Product Counsel @ FinTech "Unicorn"
Parlez vous MTL, KYC, & AML?
M&A Counsel @ Tech-y Venture Capital Fund
Private Funds Counsel @ Private Equity & Venture Capital Group
Break into VC
M&A Transactions Counsel @ Private Equity & Venture Capital Group
The Mathletes of PE
Commercial Counsel @ Video Gaming Unicorn
Ready Player One?
Litigation Counsel @ International Gaming Company
Rarer than Rare
Corporate Counsel, Tech & SaaS @ Social App
Put Yourself Out There
Corporate M&A Counsel @ E-Commerce Unicorn
Data & Product Counsel @ Zocdoc
First Name in Health-Tech
Legal Counsel @ The Hut Group (Beauty & Wellbeing E-Commerce)
Bevy of Beauty
Life Sciences Associate @ Top Startups Firm
The Antidote to Big Pharma
Associate Attorney @ Leading Investment Firm
For the Apex Preditors
Corporate Counsel @ Pharmaceutical Heavy-Weight
Hard Sciences Background not Required
General Counsel @ FinTech SaaS Startup
VP of Legal @ E-Commerce Consumer Lending Platform
Add to Cart
CFIUS Compliance @ Elite Tech Client
More Glamorous than Government
Emerging Companies Associate @ Elite Startup-Focused Firm
Keep EC/VC Weird
Futures Trading Compliance @ Crypto Trading Platform
The Brand Name in Crypto
Switch to FinTech from Finance @ AmLaw 100 Law Firm
Emerging Companies Capital Markets Associate @ Startups Focused Firm
Pivot to Cooler Clients
Senior In-House Counsel @ Digital Health Leader
Not Your Grandma's Healthcare
In-House Commercial Transactions Attorney @ Digital Health Leader
Healthcare Meets Tech
In-House Life Science Corporate Counsel @ Pharmaceutical Company
Future of Pharma
Exclusive: ECVC Associate at Elite Firm's LA Office
Best Partner Opportunity in SoCal
Program Lawyer / Event Content Director @ TechGC
By GCs, For GCs
In-House Corporate Counsel at Venture Fund
VC Meets FinTech
Startup & Media Associate @ Arts & Entertainment-Focused Boutique
Director of Business & Legal @ Media Streaming Company
Privacy Counsel @ International Gaming Company
The Next Big Thing in Gaming
IP & Tech Litigation opp at a Silicon Valley tech Firm
The Move Before You Go In House
Privacy Partner @ Bay Area AmLaw 50 Firm
Plug and Play
Biotech Late Stage/Cap Markets Partner
Use Your Expertise
In-House FinTech Bankruptcy Counsel
Can bankruptcy lawyers go in-house? YES!
Senior In-house Counsel @ Edgy FinTech Shop
The Right Bankruptcy & Reorganization Practice For You
Restructuring Your Own Career
Partner Recruiting Coordinator @ Whistler Partners
The Good Life
New York or Los Angeles