To understand how leaders in the largest law firms in the U.S. are currently approaching the competitive market for legal talent, Thine, a technology company that develops and deploys pre-hiring and integration assessments, engaged Ari Kaplan Advisors to interview a cross section of professionals making decisions about hiring, development, and promotion in AmLaw 100 firms. For this research, I had the privilege of interviewing 30 chief talent officers along with directors and managers of recruiting between Sept. 3, 2021 and Nov. 24, 2021.

The results reveal the impact of the pandemic on entry-level and lateral hiring, the appetite for leveraging technology to address the rapid acceleration in on-campus interviewing and lateral recruitment, and the increased focus on innovation to fuel law firm success. The temporary pause in lateral recruitment in the spring of 2020, and the unprecedented change in summer associate recruiting from the summer 2020 to the winter of 2021, impacted hiring in a meaningful way, but a rapid acceleration in the need for lateral associates increased the volume of new hires significantly. When asked to describe their firm’s lateral hiring in 2021, one respondent characterized it as “The highest number in our history.” Another said: “The market has been insane.”

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