One of the lead stories in this week’s Wall Street Journal was a piece by Jennifer Smith on law firm growth through lateral hiring. While this is more bad news for entry-level attorneys, it shows that there is still tremendous opportunity for experienced attorneys to find different (and arguably better) platforms from which to market their practice.
While the article focused on the obvious – that grabbing partners from other firms is a speedy path to growth, it failed to recognize that the move is often extremely beneficial to the lawyer and his/her clients. A larger or smaller platform, more horsepower or depth in related practice areas, or geographic reasons are just a few reasons why an established partner would make a move.
So if you are looking for a new position, just know that 91% of the firms in the study said that they planned to pursue lateral partners in 2012. Even if you aren’t looking to make a move, keep it in the back of your mind that having your own book of business will always allow you to have an exit strategy, as firms create positions for those who are able to sell their services.
Which firms hired the most lateral attorneys? DLA Piper led the pack with 97 lateral partner hires in 2011. Jones Day took second place with 59 hires.
Ms. Smith’s article can be found here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203920204577195332342898806.html