Lateral hiring has become increasingly important to law firms’ strategies and business models. The evidence for this statement is seemingly everywhere. In a recent survey conducted by ALM Intelligence and sponsored by competitive intelligence firm Decipher, 85 percent of Am Law 200 firms reported that hiring laterals was one of their two most important revenue growth strategies for the coming year. Conversations with managing partners support these findings. In interviews, they report that they are spending more time wooing laterals, and lateral hiring managers are moving up their organizational charts.
That lateral hiring is becoming more important should come as no surprise. In the slow growth environment that has characterized the post-recession era, law firms have had few options for growth. Clients are insourcing more and increasing their use of alternative service providers. This has dampened the opportunity for organic growth. Mergers are complicated and risky but are happening in record numbers. Laterals offer firms a more manageable opportunity for rapid growth while expanding into new markets, adding new services, developing new clients, and, most important, adding new books of business to support increased revenue.
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