Entry-Level To Senior-Level: Are Your Needs From A Firm Being Fulfilled?

How do you choose a firm? First, you needs to know what your current needs from a firm are in order to find the right fit.

It is a broad question to ask, “How do you choose your next firm?” In order to answer, we need to focus on what is important for you when making that next move. More specifically, we need to look at who you are and where you are with your career path. The answer to the question really depends on those factors. For instance, a senior banker or a senior attorney will have different needs than a junior banker or new associate. These needs are what I want to look at closely in this blog. Let me be clear by saying that there are no bad firms or investment banks in the marketplace.  They may not be an exact fit for your needs from a firm, but they will fit someone’s needs.  The matching of a candidate’s desires and the client’s needs is what makes a perfect hire.

The Ladder: 

What A New Employee Needs From A Firm

Let’s start with the fresh out of college, new employees and work our way up rather quickly. For the new employee (whether it is on the banking side or legal side), the most important needs from a firm that they should be looking for is a firm that is going to give them a formal training program. Coming out of business school or law school you may know the academics, but you do not know the practical side of what you have been learning. Any firm or bank that will present either an informal or formal training program is what a new employee should be looking at, not necessarily what the total compensation package is. You need that first step!

What 2-5 Years Experience Needs From A Firm: The People

As we continue up the ladder to the employee that has got anywhere between two to five years under their belt, the needs from a firm they should be looking for is that person or persons that can truly mentor them. They have already gotten their basic training as mentioned above. However, if they are not satisfied and are looking elsewhere, they should be focusing on the people who will mentor them rather than the firm. A junior banker or a second-year associate should be looking for that special person who is going to take them under their wing, teach them, work with them, and introduce them to clients. That should be the most important factor a junior banker/associate attorney should be looking for. The name of the firm should not be as important as the people that you will be working with.

What 5-7 Years Experience Needs From A Firm: Your Discipline & Business Development

Should a junior individual decide that they have not gotten what they wanted or fulfilled their needs from a firm after spending a minimum of five to seven years with a firm, they should be looking for a company where they can really grow and prove who they are. At this stage in your career, you should be starting the rainmaking process and not just doing transactional and analytical support. This is the stage where you should be looking for the ability to start specializing in a particular discipline and developing clients of your own. Looking at your current situation, you need to determine if you will be able to do that at your firm. Are there too many people that you are currently competing with, which may force you to look outside of your current firm? This is the stage that you want to be conscious of. Are you being held back in your career? If you are feeling this, it is now the time to make a move. This is the time that a firm is going to try to tie you down and paint a glossy picture of the future.   If you are not buying into that mosaic, then now is the time to not only look for the right mentor, but also the right firm. Why? Because at this stage, your firm’s name will definitely start to mean something.  You need a firm or bank that you can sell!

What A Senior Level Employee Needs From A Firm: A Settled Work Home

For the senior banker or attorney, the most important needs from a firm that you should be looking for is a home where you can get your deals done. For public finance bankers, the important things to ask are, “Can the desk perform? Are they providing the resources that I need to go out market and build my reputation and get deals done?” Questions for the senior bond counsel are, “Can I bring over my existing clients and not be conflicted out? Are they providing me with the resources and paralegal support that I need to go out to generate new business?” At this level, it all comes down to the amount of business that you can bring over and/or generate. Choose wisely as you look at your options in 2021. We are here to assist you.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs so you never miss one. 

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.