Filling a Specific Partner Level Need


The head of the transactional tax section of an Am Law 200 firm was retiring. The partner who was best suited to replace him internally had recently been elected as managing partner of the firm. The firm needed to find a transactional tax partner who not only had the tax experience for the role, but also needed to have management skills to lead a section. The firm had to fill this role quickly in order to ensure a smooth transition.


The firm realized very quickly that they had to engage an executive search firm that they could hold accountable for completing the search. The firm retained us to conduct a thorough search of the market for the ideal candidate.

Needs Analysis Profile – We worked closely with the Lateral Hiring Partner and firm leadership to create a detailed needs analysis profile including a list of quantifiable qualifications. This document helps guide our research into the marketplace allowing us to identify almost every candidate in the marketplace and helps set the foundation of our market mastery approach.

Search Plan – We used the needs analysis profile to create a search plan of 158 prospective candidates in the local market. We presented the search plan to the firm for review. They proceeded to eliminate 18 prospective candidates for a variety of reasons such as conflicts, previous history, existing relationship, etc. The firm was also able to provide us with information about certain candidates that their attorneys may have had prior relationships with.  This information would help us build rapport when we made the initial call.

Messaging – Using the needs analysis profile, the search plan and information gathered from key stake holders at the firm we were able to create a message that communicated information about the firm, the position and the reasons why a search was being conducted. This was the message that was communicated to every candidate on the search plan and it incorporated a positive public relations message about the firm that would help bolster its reputation in the market and lead to more referrals. In addition to the message, we crafted a unique recruiting pitch deck document that highlighted key information about the firm, its leadership, its accomplishments and information about the local office. This supportive document was sent to every candidate that we spoke with on the search plan and helped to further promulgate a positive message about the firm.

The Search – Armed with the needs analysis profile, search plan and thoughtful messaging, we proceeded to reach out to 140 potential candidates over the course of approximately ten weeks. Every two weeks we would send a report to the firm with a list of who we had spoken to and brief notes from each conversation. The firm would use this list to recalibrate their search and messaging.  The conversations we had with the prospective candidates resulted in a short list of three candidates who interviewed with the firm multiple times. Included in this process was having the candidates complete detailed lateral hire and conflict questionnaires.


After an exhaustive search including candidates in private practice, consulting and in house, the firm hired a candidate who at the time was Chief Tax Officer for a large publicly traded multinational company, was formerly a partner in a “Big Four″ accounting firm, and was formerly a partner in a nationally prominent law firm. The candidate had the right mix of legal experience, management experience and business development experience. The candidate started with the firm less than five months after we were first retained.