Why Lateral Hiring Is So Inefficient

At the same time they're wooing expensive lateral talent, many firms are also shedding dozens of lawyers at home every year—their associates. More careful training and management of associates and junior partners would likely help firms avoid the need for so many lateral recruits in the first place.

, The American Lawyer

   |2 Comments

At the same time they're wooing expensive lateral talent, many firms are also shedding dozens of lawyers at home every year—their associates. More careful training and management of associates and junior partners would likely help firms avoid the need for so many lateral recruits in the first place.

This article has been archived, and is no longer available on this website.

View this content exclusively through LexisNexis® Here

Not a LexisNexis® Subscriber?

Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via lexis.com® and Nexis®. This includes content from The National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at customercare@alm.com

What's being said

  • LAB

    Laterals are fine to a small degree, but having watched the firm where I have worked for 25 years grow from one that took in summer associates and asked them to join on as associates upon graduation to one that has grown substantially by far more lateral hires than new graduates, I am concerned for the young lawyer who needs to mentored and nurtured to become that experienced person sought as a lateral. Law firms seem not to want to train, mentor and nuture the young lawyer any more. From a staff standpoint, laterals come with their baggage and a lot of nonconformity; they also come with either a paralegal or secretary who expects to work only for the attorney who brought him/her and does not want to conform to the new firm's requirements with seniority, vacations, administrative duties, etc. Law firms are like every other industry out there--they want people ready to hit the floor running, even if they run amok, because there is always someone there who will fix what went wrong, until the protests raise too high.

  • Random Guy

    I disagree with this premise. Hiring people out of law school, while necessary, is a bit of a shot in the dark. You have to ask them relatively silly and pointless questions ("what's your favorite law school class?") and then evaluate them mostly based on grades. And just as you can't get to know the candidates, the candidates can't get to know you: they have very little sense of what firms are like, or how they would fit in (if they even have an idea of what kind of practice they're interested in). By contrast, when you bring in a lateral, you're bringing in a colleague with a body of work, and an understanding of law practice and where they want to go. You can get a much better grasp of who they are in the interview process, and this tends to make much better fits. Yes, there are people who go from the summer program all the way to partnership, but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule. For my part, I spent my first two years at a place where I didn't really fit and wasn't happy; I've done much better in the 14 years since then at another firm, the last eight as a partner. I suspect this is the much more common path, and it's that way for a reason.

Comments are not moderated. To report offensive comments, click here.

Preparing comment abuse report for Article# 1202585323890

Thank you!

This article's comments will be reviewed.