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One thing that’s become readily apparent about the business of practicing law is that growth is essential to long-term success. And if law firm leaders, especially C-level executives, have learned anything in the past 10 years, it’s that lateral hiring is essential to growth. According to the most recent Lateral Report in The American Lawyer (February), there have been an average of 2,336 lateral partner moves for the last three reporting periods. The Lateral Report tracks partner arrivals and departures during a 12-month period ending Sept. 30 of each year. This is a powerful number that reflects an industrywide practice, and not a popular fad. But lateral partners are both costly and risky. And if a lateral partner has moved once, there is every possibility he or she will move again. As a C-level executive, can you calculate the true economic cost of lateral partners to your firm? What can you do to minimize their financial impact? And can you eliminate the risks they bring with them? WHY AND HOW Strategic Justification. All law firm leaders have their firm’s best long-term interests in mind when they go into the lateral market. And lateral partners can have a significant impact by, for example:

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