I recently read an article in Law.com about the transformation of the lateral recruiting industry. The following is my take from the article.

It stated, “Some law firm partners, once thought to be impossible to budge, now take new jobs every few years. Meanwhile, databases that recruiters purchase or compile themselves offer quick access to facts about firms’ financials, practices, offices and people ….”

As legal recruiters, we employ ever more sophisticated tools to evaluate the marketplace. This is necessary to help our clients to pick and choose among the many options available to advance their careers. Partners with books of business can use information from recruiters to learn about the work environments of other law firms. Perhaps these work environments create more benefits for both the partner and the clients.

Partners are Moving

It also stated that “Last year, more than 3,100 lateral partners moved between Am Law 200 firms, representing billions of dollars’ worth of business…. Some 80% of partner candidates considered by law firms come from outside recruiters, according to people at two Am Law 100 firms.”

The amount of movement between firms by lateral partners has been growing by leaps and bounds. And “outside recruiters” (those not employed by any individual law firms but who operate from an independent, third-party perspective), are uniquely positioned to compare how a partner’s practice would fit in at a variety of firms. Recruiters can provide deep knowledge of the marketplace. They know geographic areas, specific practice areas, and of the cultures at a variety of firms. For partners who have been busy developing their practices, recruiters offer a shortcut to learning helpful information about other firms. Recruiters can also offer firms introductions to new partners, whom they might not otherwise have a chance to meet.

The article also noted that “The industry has evolved, and law firms are relying as much as ever on the lateral market to find skilled, diverse attorneys and grow their client bases.”

By expanding via lateral recruiting, firms have the opportunity to adjust their partnerships by:

  • Reflecting the changing needs of their clients
  • Cross-marketing new practice areas with their existing partners
  • Growing their ranks in new ways

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