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Obviously where you are moving to a firm with lower charge out rates (for example from a City firm to one based outside London) the rate differential tends to work in your favour by solidifying your following.(ii) Age discrimination Another factor which seems to work either way is age profile: whilst I’m sure it is counter to the Equality Act, in my experience all law firms tend to accept much lower followings from younger partners who they believe will have time to develop their practices to greater potential over a number of years.
Whilst this potential drop off in work can often be more than compensated by your being able to gain other matters higher up the food chain (sometimes even from the same client), it is an important variable which you should not underestimate, particularly as the issue applies equally to work undertaken by your assistants.
Nevertheless, if the fit is right, most firms will allow for mutually agreeable transitional arrangements.
That being said, firms are generally more comfortable with the bulk of your following being in your own practice area.
(Although in part this is because your hiring sponsor is often the departmental head and, however obliquely, will tend to need the results from your hire to show up on their bottom line.) A simplistic rule of thumb traditionally used to calculate the economics behind hiring you is that your portable following should be at least three times your proposed level of compensation.
It therefore helps when you are writing your business plan that you consider your audience, many of whom may not be familiar with your practice area at all.
Unless you are interviewing for a core area in the firm you are intending to join, in most instances it will help if you provide some background and economic context to the developments in your field and where you think the market is going.
Although not essential, it will help if you can demonstrate potential with an upwards trajectory in billings.
Nearly as important as your potential following is how you present this.
In the UK, traditional corporate support practice areas such as non-contentious financial services, pensions, and corporate tax rarely require ratios of 3:1.
Moreover, the level of certainty required in some practice areas, such as commercial litigation, tends to be far less than that of mainstream corporate thanks to the non-repeat nature of this work.