Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and Tools for Success

Emerging from the shadow of the Great Recession, law firms are returning to the familiar strategy of lateral partner hiring to generate growth. Faced with the challenges of a slow economy and an increasingly competitive market, firms see the acquisition of a book of business and the reputation of a partner at another firm as a method of gaining and defending market share. Unfortunately for managing partners, converting lateral partner hiring into revenue growth is anything but straightforward.

Firms on the leading edge of lateral hiring program development have looked to introduce a holistic and processoriented approach – one that stresses accountability, objectivity, and repeatability. Most importantly, leading firms are ensuring they are well positioned for the long run by anchoring their lateral hiring processes on clearly established strategic objectives.

This report details each phase of the lateral hiring lifecycle from needs assessment to post-hire integration. While highlighting opportunities and challenges, it also reviews the range of hiring practices active in large and midsize law firms. The report also includes a series of tools to help law firms assess the portability of a candidate’s book of business, help onboard new hires, and assess the effectiveness of the firm’s lateral hiring program as a whole. The central aim of this work is to forward the discussion on this important topic and recognize practices which have been shown to support increased success.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • About the Authors
  • Research Methodology
  • Overview
  • Needs Assessment
  • Candidate Sourcing
  • Due diligence and Interviewing
  • Structuring the Offer
  • Post-hire Integration and Performance Management
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix