Right alongside the billable hour, lateral hiring has over the past decade become one of the most derided and yet most enduring aspects of the Big Law business model.

Lateral activity remained robust last year even as it slipped from the highs of 2016. ALM Intelligence, which tracks lateral moves, counted 2,895 partner moves among firms in The Am Law 200 from Sept. 30, 2016, to Oct. 1, 2017. That marked a drop of about 2.25 percent from the same months in the 2015-2016 timeframe, concluding three straight years of growth.

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