"That person's responsibility is to be their primary integrating lawyer, if you will," Solomon says.
At 450-lawyer Bracewell & Giuliani, lateral partners immediately are encouraged to participate in partner meetings, firm committees and recruiting; they're also invited to travel to various firm offices to meet other lawyers, says Greg Bopp, a member of the firm's management committee and head of the firm's lateral hiring.
The firm's marketing staff gives the lateral partner whatever information the partner needs to educate clients about the firm, he says. The practice group leader is responsible for integrating the new partner, but other partners also help by including the new partner in client-development activities, bringing the new partner in on existing projects as a member of the firm's client service team and helping the partner transition existing clients to the firm, he says.
"It's a process that, in some sense, never ends," Bopp says. "In order to be successful with lateral hiring, [integration is] something you have to do over a long period of time, so they can become a seamless part of the institution."
BY THE NUMBERS
Lateral hiring in the Texas offices of 18 of the 25 largest firms in Texas was up 10.2 percent in 2012 compared to the lateral hires made by the same firms in 2011, according to data collected in Texas Lawyer's annual Lateral Moves Survey. The 25 firms include Texas-based firms and out-of-state firms with large Texas operations, ranked according to Texas attorney counts on Texas Lawyer's "The Texas 100" list published April 30, 2012.
In 2011, the 18 reporting firms hired a total of 275 lateral attorneys in their Texas offices; in 2012 the same firms hired 303 laterals in Texas.
Eight of the large firms responding to the survey hired more laterals in 2012 than they did in 2011; eight of the firms made fewer lateral hires in 2012 when compared with the previous year; and two of the firms hired the same number of 2012 laterals as they did in 2011.