Beware of springboard lawyers

Springboard lawyerHiring new lawyers is an essential part of a growing legal practice. If a legal practice is growing, and new clients are coming, your law practice may likely need new lawyers to handle the growth.

Growth is mostly a good thing for a law firm, although it comes with its own set of headaches. After all, if your law firm is not growing, you have to be careful that it is not shrinking.

A growing law office comes typically when the law firm is providing competent, communicative and diligent representation. It also happens when a law firm has a thorough, smart and effective marketing plan — which most law firms do not have.

At the same, if you are hiring new lawyers for your legal practice, you have to be aware of springboard lawyers. Springboard lawyers can see that your law practice is growing. Springboard lawyers can see that clients are coming in waves due to your reputation and marketing.

If you hire a springboard lawyer, the problem is that they are likely not staying long. Many springboard lawyers, at their worst, are looking in bad faith to work for you a short while, get as many cases as they can from your law firm through your firm’s reputation and marketing dollars, and then leave when you least expect it with those clients. At their best, springboard lawyers will depart for some other destination that is more appealing to them once one offers them what they deem to be a more appealing job.

Clients have the choice of legal counsel. Thus, if a client wants to leave with a springboard lawyer, that is their right. At the same time, law firms can and should improve your recruiting and hiring process to vet out springboard lawyers from the hiring process who have no intention of staying long-term.

The first step is to start looking for these springboard lawyers. These springboard lawyers may talk about a desire to have their own firm at some point. When you look at their job history, you might see a lot of jumping around. When you look at references, you might not be given references from managers or bosses at previous jobs, but from other coworkers.

Other signs of springboard lawyers are those who talk about themselves and their accomplishments incessantly. They might reference their lofty goals and aspirations while talking very little about how they can help your firm and your firm’s clients.

Springboard lawyers can also show very little humility. They might even say bad things about their prior employers, including law firms where they worked in the past.

When you ask about their long-term goals, succeeding at your law firm usually is not the answer. The answer usually revolves around some other destination or job.

Further, it is vital to find out why a lawyer wants to work at your law firm. If they are not interested in the areas of law in which your law firm practices, while they might leave and attempt to take cases, these lawyers can springboard to another legal practice in an area of the law that is more appealing to them.

In the end, hiring a lawyer for your law firm is an important task. You likely want a lawyer who is going to stay a long while. You probably do not want somebody who is merely looking at your law firm as a springboard to their own law firm or other career choice.

But to get here, you have to start looking for springboard lawyers in your hiring process. It is also vital to hone your interviewing skills and acumen to weed out springboard lawyers.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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