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GROWTH WITHOUT EXPANSION - The Big Law lateral market has been red hot all year. But, as Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, lawyer head count still has not spiked dramatically. To the contrary, it’s remained flat, and even decreased in some segments, as the end of Q3 nears. What’s happening? Counterintuitive as that may seem, it’s important to remember that lateral hiring is not a zero-sum game. “If we go and hire 10 partners, it’s very likely we will have lost a similar amount of partners,” said recruiter Scott Yaccarino of Empire Search Partners. “And the winner of the game is going to be the people who add better talent than they’re losing, right? If we’re trying to increase profitability and grow the business, we want to add people who do that going forward, and we’re going to be OK losing people who drag that down.” So while it’s true that Big Law leaders said they wanted to double down on lateral additions in 2021, Yaccarino pointed out that “[w]hat the firms probably never said, or most of them never said, was ‘our goal is to increase head count.’”
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