The American Lawyer’s Lateral Report Finds Surge in Corporate Partner Hiring

NEW YORK – Feb. 3, 2014 – Partners continued to move briskly among the Am Law 200 – the nation's largest law firms – in the 12 months ended September 30, 2013, but the market for corporate lawyers was particularly hot, accounting for 17 percent of last year’s total, compared to just 8 percent in 2012. Overall lateral hires numbered 2,522, slightly below the prior year’s 2,691, according to The American Lawyer’s annual Lateral Report, published in the February issue and online at americanlawyer.com.

Baker & McKenzie was the biggest hirer, taking on 68 lateral partners, followed by Jones Day with 65, Husch Blackwell with 52, K&L Gates with 48 and Reed Smith with 40. Hogan Lovells lost the most partners in the period at 43, followed by K&L Gates at 39, DLA Piper at 37, Dentons at 36 and Norton Rose Fulbright at 35.

Besides comprehensive statistics on recent moves, The American Lawyer published an article on the strategy and effectiveness of lateral hiring, based on the data it has collected over 13 years, by William Henderson and Christopher Zorn, academics who study law firm management.

The analysis concludes that big firms’ emphasis in recent years on growth through lateral hiring has often been misguided. According to the report, “Law firms love to grow. For most partners, it is a familiar and cherished state of affairs. But to grow revenues through a lateral acquisition strategy that dilutes rather than grows the profit pool is to mate on the basis of the peacock’s large, colorful tail.”

The issue includes reports on 13 of last year’s highest-profile partner moves and a feature story on Latham & Watkins’ lateral strategy in Houston and its impact on that once insular legal market.

Full firm-by-firm laterals data and analyses are available for purchase in Excel format from ALM Legal Intelligence at http://almlegalintel.com/Surveys/LateralPartners.

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