Business of Law

Majority of lateral lawyer hires don't meet revenue expectations, survey says

  • Print.


Law firms expect results with lateral hires, but expectations for revenue growth often miss the mark, according to a recent survey.

The survey by ALM Intelligence found that 30 percent of lawyers who are lateral hires deliver less than half their expected book of business in the first year, (sub. req.) reports. And 21 percent of lateral hires deliver between half and three-quarters of their expected book of business.

Report author Steve Kovalan told that law firm hiring partners sometimes fail at lateral hiring because they trust their gut instinct rather than doing due diligence. Yet he stresses the importance of cultural fit, calling it the most important decision a hiring firm will make.

“A hire that fails to meet this standard can be doomed regardless of the candidate’s legal skills or business acumen,” Kovalan tells

His report recommends law firms begin by developing a candidate profile, collecting candidate data, and using a scorecard to keep track.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.