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2012 Expected to be Good Year for Law Firm Lateral Market

JD Journal (01/11/12)

Legal industry observers expect law firms to increase their lateral hiring in 2012 in an effort to expand their existing services. Firms are eager to hire lawyers who will bring new clients to the firm that fall into sectors the firms are looking to develop. The lateral market has “been picking up steam and will continue to do so. There’s a lot of people looking to make moves,” says Christopher Petrini-Poli from consulting firm HBR Consulting LLC.

Altman Weil Inc. released a survey in September that questioned 240 U.S. law firms on their growth strategies. Of the firms that responded to the survey, 91.6% of the law firms said that they were making an effort to hire laterals in 2011. Thomas Clay, an author of the report issued by Altman Weil, says that the increase in lateral hiring is due to the need for lawyers with business experience, not the need to fill jobs that were lost during the recession. “The people who were let go during the recession were mainly young lawyers,” Clay says. “This has nothing to do with filling up those ranks.”