Scouting lateral talent in the legal industry is not so different from making trades and free agent acquisitions in pro sports. An organization assesses a need/want and then examines the available options to fulfill it. Within that process, there are two tacks organizations often take: the old school approach of assessing prospects based on gut feeling alone and the new school number-crunching approach that relies on data-driven decision making.

But, just like assessing potential pickups in sports, the best path in law firm lateral hiring involves some balance of both analytical and anecdotal approaches.