Although the rate of lateral moves contracted by double-digits over the last two months compared with the same time last year, legal industry observers say it’s important to see these figures in context: that 2021 saw record levels of corporate transactions, driving the level of demand for legal talent to equally unprecedented heights.

As a result, October and November’s 14% contraction in partner-level lateral movement and 25% contraction in associate lateral movement look stark because they represent a downturn from a period of lateral movement in 2021 that firms had, quite literally, never seen before. Indeed, the rate of lateral activity this year has fallen in line with, and even exceeded, historical norms leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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