Law Practice Management

Nearly All Surveyed BigLaw Leaders Plan More Lateral Hires


Despite some concerns that ambitious lateral hiring may have contributed to the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf, BigLaw isn’t giving up on the idea.

Ninety-six percent of surveyed law firm leaders said they intend to expand their firms over the next two years by hiring laterals, according to a report by LexisNexis and ALM Legal Intelligence. And nearly three out of four planned lateral hiring over the next five years. The Am Law Daily and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog have stories.

Not as many lawyers were pleased with past lateral hiring. Only 28 percent of the surveyed lawyers said their firm’s lateral efforts were “very effective” over the past five years, and 10 percent said they were neutral or negative.

Russ Haskin, director of consulting and services at LexisNexis, cautioned against excessive devotion to lateral hiring in an interview with the Am Law Daily. “The number one priority is to generate revenue, and the quickest way to generate short-term revenue is to bring in a lateral partner with a good book of business,” Haskin said. “But it doesn’t always work. Look at Dewey.”

The report, “Thinking Like Your Client: Strategic Planning in Law Firms,” was based on a survey of 79 leaders in larger firms.

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