JD Supra recently published an article written by Jill Huse entitled, “Desperately Seeking HPLs: Lateral Recruiting as a Law Firm Growth Strategy.” In the article, Huse discusses not only the importance of hiring high performance laterals, but how to ensure a firm is identifying the right attorneys for the firm and its existing culture.
The recession’s impact on recruiting has left law firms needing to rethink their strategy. For many, this includes moving away from investing capital and resources in a summer recruiting program that has a low yield return on profitability and shifting towards a potentially more lucrative position of attracting high performance laterals (HPL) with established books of business. Seems logical, right?
According to Altman Weil’s recent “Flash Survey,” the trend for lateral growth has reached an all-time high of nearly 94% of reporting firms acknowledging this strategy as their preferred direction for growth. Above the Law recently reported that in 2016, there were a record 8,500 lateral moves in the top Am Law 200 firms. That’s a lot of musical chairs.
The market is ripe for lateral acquisitions—firms just need to be listening for where the opportunities may lie. Conversely, firms need to be discerning with the stories candidates tell during the interview phase. Many firms that I’ve worked with have been burned by laterals promising a transferable book of business, only to learn two years’ post transition they have been unsuccessful at securing the work. The in-house lawyers we polled have pretty strong opinions about what this means to them, and their firm. Sadly, it is often forgotten that clients have a choice as to where to send their work. When a lawyer with whom they are working leaves the firm, that doesn’t mean the work is going with him/her to a new firm.
Read the rest of the article here.