Law firms rely on lateral hiring

Law firms are expected to continue to use lateral hiring as a means to grow despite its questionable effectiveness, according to a new report by LexisNexis and ALM Legal Intelligence.

In fact, 96 percent of respondents say they intend to hire laterally throughout the next two years, and three out of four respondents say their firms are anticipating more lateral hiring in the next five years. Many law firms believe lateral hiring is typically the quickest way for attorneys to generate business, says Russ Haskin, the director of consulting and services at LexisNexis; however, Haskin does not agree with this approach and refers to it as a “knee-jerk” reaction.

While revenue growth remains the top considerations, law firms are falling short when it comes to supervising client satisfaction and client loyalty, the report finds.

Lateral hiring is particularly strong in the intellectual property and litigation practice areas, according to legal recruitment firm BCG Attorney Search’s State of the Market Report that was released this fall. Silicon Valley has an especially high demand for intellectual property attorneys, says BCG Attorney Search’s Managing Partner Evan P. Anderson.

“For patent litigators, firms like to see candidates who have Markman hearing experience as well as ITC experience.” says Anderson, who handles the firm’s San Francisco office.

Anderson adds that having a strong technical background makes for an ideal job prospect while an attorney in a bio field should usually have a Ph.D. or master's degree.

According to BCG Attorney Search CEO Harrison Barnes, this report supports the idea that laterals with a good book of business are remain in demand. 


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