Ten years ago, I had the idea to start a legal recruiting firm. We quickly grew from a four-person shop to an international firm with over fifty employees. Now we are proud to announce we are celebrating our tenth anniversary this month, and in honor of this anniversary, we’ve decided to share ten important things we’ve learned over the last ten years.
- Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day (and neither was Lateral Link):Strong business growth must be earned, and that cannot be rushed. We have learned that discipline and execution are more important than ideas and dreams. In 2006, I came up with a decent idea to start Lateral Link as a company that broke from the traditional recruiting mold, but the idea would never have come to fruition without our team’s discipline in executing our business plan over the past decade.
- Lies Have Speed, The Truth Has Endurance: Integrity and hard work will win out in the end, especially in the recruiting field, where there are relatively low barriers to entry. New recruiting shops spring up every year because they think recruiting is easy money. It’s not. It is a profession, not a hobby, where integrity and hard work pay off to build and maintain your reputation. There are no shortcuts.
- Some Amount Of Failure Is Unavoidable: We all fail to meet our goals at some point. Those times are learning lessons. We have learned from our missteps, such as trying to grow too quickly and compromising our hiring decisions at certain times. From those lessons, we have built the tremendous team of recruiters we have today.
- Culture Is Key: A healthy and collaborative culture is very important for the success of a business, especially one in professional services. One or two bad seeds can taint the well. We are accountable for our culture and make sure not to compromise it. For example, we award bonuses in part based on upward reviews and collective contribution without personal gain. (Speaking of bonuses, our top level exceeds those paid out by Cravath.)
- Competitors Can Be Colleagues: We see other recruiters in the field as “colleagues.” The market is big enough for us all to survive. That doesn’t mean every recruiting firm warrants recognition, but rather we treat our competitors with respect as colleagues in our industry. This congenial competition fosters growth for the industry as a whole—as well as for each individual firm.
- Relationships Matter: Relationships are one of the most important assets contributing to success. They open the doors for opportunities and establish the credibility necessary to build and maintain our brand. We strive to give back more than we take. We see relationships as meaningful long-term connections and we strive to return as much, or more, value than we receive.
- Fool’s Gold: If someone is trying to sell you “gold” there is a reason they are selling. Honest business practices win out in the end; we don’t push positions on candidates for a quick fee. We also don’t take retainers with firm opportunities that we don’t feel are good options for candidates. Clients are quick to note who is peddling fool’s gold, and all it takes is one “nugget” to destroy your reputation.
- Never Take Anything For Granted: The market is perpetually changing, from capital requirements to associate bonuses to your firm’s profitability. For firms, the absence of non-competes means their attorneys can walk out the door at anytime. It is a competitive market and you cannot take for granted your position at the top when you are at the top. At Lateral Link we don’t take for granted our position. We strive to earn it every day and to continuously build on top of that platform we’ve built. It takes a conscious effort to avoid complacency.
- Give Back: When you have achieved success from the help of others, don’t forget that you did not inherit it. It’s important for us at Lateral Link to give back. We are proud of the Lateral Link Scholarship Fund we started at Harvard Law School, and we are happy to give back to an institution that has been so meaningful and involved in our success—Lateral Link was, in fact, started by Harvard Law alumni.
- Celebrate Success: When you have times for celebration, do just that. Today – Friday, March 4 – we are hosting our 10-Year Anniversary Party at the California Club in Los Angeles. We are celebrating with our close colleagues, clients, and business contacts from the community. We are fortunate to have so many great friends and guests who are joining us to celebrate our anniversary. Photos to follow!
Thank you to all our clients, candidates, friends, colleagues and readers who have been instrumental in our success over the last ten years.