Featured Recruiter – Rich Janney

Featured Recruiter: Rich Janney

Rich, thank you for your excellent article about making the decision for a partner to start looking at lateraling options. Can you give us some insight as to why this issue is particularly interesting to you as well as timely?

Well, I feel like most of the articles I've seen on the topic are more centered on data--profits per partner, compensation formulas, etc.--but no one ever seems to talk about the "soft" factors that go into making a decision to leave a partnership.  Yet I frequently hear my candidates describe issues that are totally outside of the data-driven decision process; that they don't really feel like their partners are truly "partners", and are constantly looking over their shoulders. For example, I sometimes hear that inviting other attorneys into a client pitch is fraught with disputes over who should get a cut of the originations, should that client be successfully landed. Or, that they sometimes feel like the newly arrived partners were cut a better deal than people who have been at the firm for years.  So, I decided to create something that speaks to those intangible emotions that can (and should) go into making a decision like this.

Second, we love the fantastic illustrations that you created to accompany the article. Clearly this is a talent and passion of yours. 

That's very kind of you to say--thanks!  I've been drawing or painting for most of my life.  Before I went to law school, I was an illustrator and one of my jobs was with the art department of a publishing company here in Chicago.  Now that I'm away from that world professionally, I'm always happy when I can find a way to incorporate artwork into projects that I work on in the present.  For this particular project, I didn't set out to create an article with illustrations, but shortly after I started writing it, I thought, "Wouldn't this be a funny picture to accompany that thought?"  And that's when I sketched out a mouse being eyed by three hungry snakes.  That made me laugh.

You have been a Managing Director at McCormack Schreiber for just under 10 years.  What brought you to a career in legal recruiting - and to joining McCormack Schreiber?

Serendipity, really.  I was in private practice for the first seven years of my career, but in 2007 I had the opportunity to join the leadership of a small corporation.  It was an amazing job and I worked with some fantastic people.  However, the 2008 financial crisis really hurt the company (as it did with just about every company) and in 2010, we had to shut down our Chicago operations.  I had worked with McCormack Schreiber back when I was an attorney and I really trusted the people I had worked with.  I talked to you and Amy about the job market here in Chicago, and while there weren't many openings for attorneys, McCormack Schreiber was looking for a recruiter to join their ranks.  I hadn't really given any consideration to recruiting prior to talking to either of you, but I got such a good feeling from our meetings that I seriously considered it.  And that was in 2010 and I haven't looked back. It's been wonderful being part of this team and I am looking forward to another ten.  So don't fire me.

You have really lovely skin. What's your secret?

Cocoa butter.

Finally, Rich, do you have some words of advice for law firm partners who are considering a lateral move to a different law firm and platform?

I think that if anyone out there is getting a bad feeling about their partnership, it's healthy to have a conversation with someone about it at the very minimum.  Having that conversation will force you to articulate the things that are bothering you, which will help you decide if more active steps should be taken in the search for a new firm.  Find somebody you trust who has their pulse on the market and get the conversation rolling.