Tag Archives: law firms

What Law Firm Associates Want: Attracting Top Talent Through Relevant Policies and Procedures

To secure top-tier talent, law firms must understand and respond to the shifting preferences and expectations of associates. The purpose of this article is to help law firms better understand what associates are looking for when considering a lateral move. Equipped with this information, firms will be better positioned to critically analyze policies and procedures that may be inhibiting recruitment and growth efforts. 

Today’s associates want two things. No, it’s not better snacks in the break room. It’s transparency and fairness – a prominent theme throughout this article. Considering these trends and expectations will ensure that your law firm is an attractive option for lateral attorneys.

The Pursuit of Transparent Compensation

At the heart of candidate expectations is an unequivocal demand for transparent compensation. Transparency starts at the beginning of the job search and sets the stage for a positive or negative candidate experience.

There is a high demand for transparent salaries. Lateral associates want to know the salary for each job they are considering before applying. In fact, compensation expectations are often included in the first conversation legal recruiters have with their candidates. Thus, the first step in attracting the best candidates is to be clear on compensation. Firms can create clarity by providing a salary range in the job description and sharing this range with their recruitment partners. Salary transparency ensures that both parties are aligned before investing time and energy into the interview process. 

Transparency also extends to the offer process. If a candidate discloses a target salary and the firm agrees to interview that candidate, the firm’s offer should reflect the candidate’s target number. In a real-life example, a candidate was transparent and ensured salary alignment by disclosing her target salary, but the offer she received was $25,000 less than previously discussed. This discrepancy left the candidate with a negative impression of the firm, which ultimately resulted in an offer that was not accepted. To ensure that your offers are accepted, discuss realistic salary ranges as an initial matter and ensure that the candidate’s salary request fits within your compensation plan and structure. 

Valuing Contributions Beyond Billable Hours

Transparency drives candidates to the firm, but equitable compensation helps them stay. Associates and partners alike are expressing a desire for recognition and compensation for their contributions outside of billable hours, including activities such as recruitment, training, diversity programs, and business development. Oftentimes, these important yet non-billable activities are not taken into consideration when determining overall compensation. In a real-life example, a partner’s expertise, ethnicity, and gender were leveraged to obtain new business but the partner received no credit or other form of compensation for helping to bring in that new business to the firm. To maintain equitable compensation, develop a system to appropriately value non-billable contributions. 

Redefining Bonus Structures

The legal industry is experiencing a significant shift in how bonuses are perceived and valued by candidates. Disenchantment with discretionary bonuses is growing. More and more candidates favor transparent, formulaic bonus structures. Associates want to know what goals they are required to meet and what they will receive in return. They crave clear guidelines and expect to be presented with a written bonus structure. 

Associates are also conducting cost-benefit analyses to evaluate the best way to spend their time. Bonus structures that provide an hourly rate for hours billed in excess of the firm’s requirement are being strictly scrutinized. Accordingly, the law firm’s formula must be motivating and competitive. In two real-life examples, one associate earns a $1,500 bonus for every 100 hours billed over 1,900 hours while the other earns $75 per hour billed over 1,900. The first associate calculated that this bonus amounts to $15 per hour and felt that they could be paid more working a second job or forgoing the bonus altogether while the second associate billed 2,300 hours and earned a $30,000 bonus. The first associate felt demotivated and undervalued while the other felt motivated and excited to succeed. 

In another notable trend, many candidates (associates and partners alike) are willing to exchange the promise of a large bonus for a slightly higher base salary even if it means a reduction in overall compensation. In another real-life example, an associate expressed more interest in a compensation structure with a base salary of $200,000 and a $10,000 bonus than a base salary of $150,000 with a $100,000 bonus. These trends highlight a preference for predictability, stability, and transparency.

Let’s not forget bonuses based on collections. Associates are turned off by bonuses that are only paid when and if the client pays. While associates understand that there is a business reason for linking bonuses to collections, associates feel that they have no control over when and if a client pays their bill. This issue is also compounded when the associate exclusively works for one client who has a reputation for payment delays or a client has strict billing rules. Unlinking associate bonuses to client-dependent activities will create a more equitable environment and culture. 

Bonus structures – if designed properly – have the potential to attract, motivate, and retain candidates. Firms should review their bonus plan and evaluate it with a critical eye. It may also be an opportunity to save money and enhance culture while also better reflecting associate compensation trends and desires.  

The Desire for Upward Progression

Associates crave firms that offer an upward trajectory. After all, no one wants to be at a dead-end job. Associates are seeking firms with reputations for offering annual raises and a clear path to partnership. In a real-life example, an associate with a four-year tenure at her firm made a lateral move because she had not received a raise in over two years. If your firm struggles to provide annual raises and has no defined path to partnership, your firm is likely a less attractive option to laterals. To combat these issues, carry out intentional salary adjustments, calendar time each year to review salaries, and document the path to partnership. 

The Imperative for Determined  Leave

Similar to salary, candidates are demanding transparency around time off and leave of absence. Vacation days and parental leave are of high interest. Candidates are now less content with open-ended leave policies and desire specific and numerical leave policies. They do not want to guess how much time off is too much or too little. They want to know the firm’s expectations upfront (usually in the form of a formal written policy) and adhere to those requirements. In particular, associates want to know the firm’s policy on leave before accepting an offer. This is understandable as policies often vary from firm to firm. To attract top candidates, law firms should consider memorializing their policies in written documents and actively promote their policies during the interview process. Doing so will ensure that candidates are well-informed and eliminate the need for candidates to initiate this taboo yet crucial conversation.

Embracing Flexibility: The Hybrid Work Model

The demand for flexibility is stronger than ever, with many candidates seeking firms that have adopted the hybrid work model. In particular, candidates seek an established, written policy clearly identifying the number of days expected to be worked in office. In a real-life example, a firm offering hybrid work (1 day in the office per week) is able to attract talent at salaries well below market. Offering this work model has saved the firm thousands of dollars per attorney in base salaries. This approach also helps to retain attorneys because employees highly value this level of flexibility and it is less likely to be found at competitor firms. If your firm is considering adopting a hybrid work model, make sure you have the necessary technological infrastructure, are able to maintain a level of mentorship and support, and clearly communicate expectations. 

A Call for Transparency and Fairness

Transparency and fairness stand out as the prevailing themes in the current landscape of candidate preferences. Law firms that align their policies and procedures with these principles will position themselves as attractive employers for today’s legal talent. Embracing these trends will not only enhance the firm’s reputation but will also contribute to the long-term success and stability of the firm.

Lateral Link is a vital ally for law firms navigating these changing tides. Connecting with Christine Berger and Lateral Link ensures that your firm is attuned to the latest trends, fostering a culture that attracts, nurtures, and retains the best legal talent. The journey towards building a resilient, future-ready legal practice starts here.

Navigating the Legal Landscape: A Deep Dive into the Top 20 Law Firms for Summer Associates in 2023

The legal profession, ever-fluid and dynamic, offers both promise and challenges. For young attorneys on the cusp of their careers, understanding the nuances of top law firms can pave the way for a future marked by growth and success.

“In the constantly shifting landscape of law, being well-informed and strategic in your early career choices isn’t just beneficial; it’s imperative,” mentioned Lateral Link Director, Anna Szymczak.

Paul Hastings firmly holds the top position with an enviable average score of 4.996. Their prowess shines distinctly in areas such as “Interesting Work” and “Partner-summer associate interaction,” both recording a perfect 5.000. Equally commendable is their emphasis on an accurate “Firm Self-portrayal,” with an outstanding score of 5.000.

“Selecting the right firm involves more than just considering its reputation. It’s about balancing one’s goals with the firm’s ethos, the quality of mentorship, and the type of work offered,” said Lateral Link Principal, Susan Agopian.

Boasting an international footprint, Clifford Chance has shown remarkable ascent. Their commitment to “Real Work” and “Training and Guidance” is evident, with both categories hitting a perfect 5.000. This combination of global reach and attention to attorney growth underscores their dedication.

“Starting out in the legal field isn’t merely about joining a prestigious name. It’s about finding a place that promotes growth, provides hands-on experience, and cultivates a solid legal foundation,” observed Romina Filippou, Senior Director at Lateral Link.

Duane Morris, not far behind, boasts an overall score of 4.977. Their focus on providing “Real Work” and ensuring robust “Associate-summer associate interaction” is evident, with both sectors securing a 5.000. This indicates an environment where budding attorneys don’t just work but actively engage and form meaningful connections.

In the competitive legal realm, these scores are more than just numbers. They serve as guiding lights for those navigating their career choices. Firms like Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and Cahill Gordon & Reindel have also demonstrated excellence in “Training and Guidance” and “Communication of Goals and Expectations,” respectively.

“Early career decisions can set the trajectory for an attorney’s future. Aligning with seasoned recruiters who truly understand the legal world can be the difference between a good and a great start,” articulated Kelly Rizo, Senior Director in our Texas office.

As the legal world continues to evolve, so do the opportunities and challenges that come with it. “The choices made today influence the career paths of tomorrow. Rely on insights, mentorship, and the wisdom of those who have tread similar paths to make those choices wisely,” advised Lateral Link Senior Director, Tori Keith. Making informed decisions early on is paramount. At Lateral Link, our seasoned professionals serve as compasses guiding young attorneys towards promising horizons. If you’re eager to navigate the intricacies of the best-suited firms and programs, place your trust in our experienced recruiters. Embark on your journey to excellence with Lateral Link. Let’s embark together.

2023 Summer Associates Survey Rankings – Top 20

2023 Ranking2022 RankingFirm Name
14Paul Hastings
236Clifford Chance
31Duane Morris
426Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
541Cahill Gordon & Reindel
61Blank Rome
79Proskauer Rose
824Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
925Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
1074Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
115O’Melveny & Myers
1212Linklaters
137Allen and Overy
1418Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
1510Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
1617Sullivan & Cromwell
178Day Pitney
1865Fenwick & West
1948Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
2013Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

How to Successfully Navigate Your Career as a Lateral Partner in the Legal Industry

The legal landscape for lateral partner transitions in law firms in 2023 is still a complex and multi-faceted journey. It requires a comprehensive strategy that conforms to several legal industry norms and standards. If you’re a practicing attorney weighing your potential as a lateral partner, let’s delve deeper into this multifaceted process.

Each legal firm cultivates a unique culture and looks for specific traits in lateral partners. However, there is a universal baseline or a certain prerequisite that an attorney must meet to become an appealing candidate. This benchmark typically includes factors related to profitability (such as portable business, billable rates, working hours, and leverage), educational qualifications (such as law school attended), years of legal practice, and occasionally, even academic performance (GPA).

Profitability is a key determinant in the lateral move. We can understand its impact better by imagining two partners with equal portable businesses but differing in their earnings due to variations in their billable rates and hours.

Let’s say Partner X has a $3 million portable business. If their billable rate is $700 per hour and they clock in 1,500 hours annually, they contribute $1.05 million directly to the $3 million. The rest ($1.95 million) is handled by other attorneys who complete the tasks originated by Partner X. The larger the team involved in their practice, the higher the costs related to their business. As a result, Partner X may earn approximately $700,000 per year from their $3 million practice.

Now, consider Partner Y who also boasts a portable business of $3 million. Their niche expertise allows them to charge $1,400 per hour and their services are in high demand, logging 2,500 hours a year. As a hardworking attorney with minimal leverage, Partner Y can predict earnings nearing $1.2 million from their $3 million practice. The crucial difference between Partners X and Y lies in the direct and associated overheads needed to operate their respective practices.

The educational background of a potential lateral partner plays a significant role. Our extensive placement records indicate that the law school a lateral partner attended is strongly linked to their likelihood of acceptance by any firm (this link strengthens within the top 50 Am Law firms). A simple breakdown of the partner composition of national law firms will underscore the significance of a law school’s reputation. For instance, a considerable proportion of partners at nationally recognized law firms are alumni of top-tier law schools. Past these prestigious institutions, there’s a discernible drop in the returns on law school rank.

What’s the next step after meeting the baseline? Law firms usually expect younger partners — roughly fifteen years post-law school — to have smaller client portfolios. Nonetheless, they’re keen on seeing junior partners displaying growth in their portable business. As an attorney rises through the ranks, their client portfolio is expected to grow two or threefold compared to that of a less experienced partner. Although this expectation varies among firms, it is common for firms with profits per partner around $2 million to expect lateral partners to bring about $3 million to $4 million in business. Firms with lower profits per partner might accommodate junior partners with less than a million in portable business.

Billable rates often pose a greater challenge than conflicts for lateral partners. A substantial difference in the billable rates between a firm and a lateral partner candidate can lead to deadlock. For example, a partner with a lower hourly rate may find it difficult to adjust to a firm that doesn’t offer flexible billable rates. Firms might be more open to lateral partners who are willing to lower their rates. However, they seldom accept partners who charge considerably lower rates, as client rates are often inflexible. Envision a partner explaining a rate increase to a major client due to a switch to a larger firm; this could likely result in client loss, and subsequently, a drop in the profitability of their original firm.

Evaluating a potential lateral partner usually begins with a meticulous review of their client list to spot any conflicts. Major conflicts can instantly disqualify a lateral application, which is why we prioritize a thorough understanding of our clients’ histories to avoid such predicaments. Firms also examine the prospective lateral’s clients to identify any overlaps with their existing partners. A significant overlap can deter a firm from considering a lateral partner unless the new client provides a potential that compensates for any impact on the current business.

Successfully navigating the lateral partner market requires more than just knowledge—it demands a vast network, keen insights, and extensive experience. At Lateral Link, we pride ourselves on possessing all three. Our industry experts have their fingers on the pulse of the legal landscape, ensuring you’re always a step ahead. Why venture into this challenging terrain alone when you can have the industry’s best by your side? Connect with Lateral Link today, and let our seasoned professionals guide you through the complexities of the partner market with unparalleled expertise.

Charting Your Course: An In-Depth Resource for Law Students Navigating Multiple Job Offers

Embarking on the journey of a law student entails numerous critical choices, of which, selecting among multiple summer associate or first-year associate propositions stands paramount. At Lateral Link, we appreciate the significance of this decision. Our crew of seasoned legal talent finders, many of whom have trodden the path of summer associates themselves, impart a profound knowledge base and guidance, empowering you to make an enlightened choice.

Assessing Law Firm Offers Beyond the Facade of Rankings

Though rankings may shed some light on a firm’s accomplishments, they can inadvertently offer a skewed perspective. Abby Gordon, co-director of our Northeast associate recruitment division and a past summer associate and associate at Cleary Gottlieb, articulates this concept as, “Choosing a firm transcends mere rankings. While the prestige of your first firm undeniably paves the way for future career opportunities, there is more to it. It equally revolves around identifying the perfect alignment for your ambitions, interests, and ethical values.” Scrutinizing a firm’s work environment, stability, and resonance with your career aspirations is indispensable. For further insights on firm selection, refer to Abby’s counsel in a past ATL piece.

Holistic Evaluation of Influencing Variables

“Approach your opportunities with a comprehensive perspective, taking into account your immediate and long-term personal and professional objectives,” recommends Matt Bennett, a California-based Lateral Link recruiter, USC Gould School of Law graduate, and previous summer associate at Snell & Wilmer. “I consistently encourage candidates to strategize their thinking, to not just fixate on whether they fancy a firm’s current practice, and this mindset can be immensely beneficial to newly minted attorneys fresh from law school. Delve into the firm’s culture, geographical presence, practice domains, mentorship programs, benefits, work-life equilibrium, partnership prospects, hourly obligations, remuneration, and incentives. Consider the professional relationships that you can cultivate in the firm and their potential trajectory. These are critical considerations, especially when you are just initiating your legal career and lack the foresight that experience gifts. Extend your thinking beyond macro-level professional objectives: contemplate how the attributes of a firm might facilitate your short and long-term personal and lifestyle objectives. Endeavor to envision your evolving work and life aspirations as time progresses,” Bennett elaborates. Scrutinize whether the firm champions diversity, nurtures a collegial atmosphere, and offers pro bono opportunities, particularly if these aspects are valuable to you.

Tailored Guidance from Lateral Link Recruiters

Our recruiters understand the intricacies involved in choosing between multiple offers. “Lateral Link’s team consists of past attorneys and law firm recruiters. We can offer personalized advice drawn from our market knowledge, firm-specific intel, and industry connections,” shares Amy Langan, Manager of Professional Development & Law School Relations. To encourage a comprehensive dialogue about your career trajectory, Lateral Link extends a complimentary 15-minute discussion to address law students’ queries and offer direction.

The Impact of Your First Law Firm

Your inaugural law firm can exert a substantial impact on your legal career’s trajectory. To demonstrate this, Gloria Cannon, our Managing Principal, recites her experience from her law school OCI tenure:

“After deliberating offers from numerous Am Law 200 firms, I chose to spend my 2L summer at Milbank’s LA office, where I was exposed to corporate, real estate, litigation, and bankruptcy/financial restructuring practices. After my law school graduation, I joined Milbank’s financial restructuring team due to its esteemed reputation, cordial culture, and the size of the group, which allowed me to swiftly take on significant responsibilities with extensive client interactions.

One of our primary clients was Oaktree Capital Management, a distinguished Los Angeles-based asset management firm, for whom I executed a considerable amount of work. Consequently, during my 5th year, Oaktree’s General Counsel directly invited me to join their in-house legal team. I wouldn’t have encountered this fantastic in-house opportunity had I not been a summer associate at Milbank.”

This anecdote underlines the delicate dynamics involved in deciding between multiple offers – the decision transcends the work type and encapsulates firm culture, training, and long-term career opportunities.

Deciding on Your Legal Career’s Initial Steps

The decision should reflect your career ambitions, personal values, and lifestyle preferences. While mentors, professors, and recruiters can extend guidance, the ultimate decision rests with you. “Refrain from focusing on prestige or peer choices. Prioritize the decision that best aligns with your future goals. Apart from the numerous variables to consider, trust your intuition when assessing firms and the lawyers you have interacted with during interviews or over the summer,” advises Langan, a former recruiter for multiple Am Law 200 firms.

Perceiving the Broader Career Landscape

The path to a triumphant legal career comprises diverse opportunities. Each decision you make contributes to your comprehensive career evolution. While the choice of your first firm is unquestionably critical, it is merely one of the many vital decisions that will sculpt your legal career.

Lateral Link recruiters are dedicated to assisting law students in navigating multiple offer decisions. We are at your side throughout this journey, ensuring your choices align with your career objectives and personal ethics, enabling you to make the most advantageous choice for your future legal profession.

If you wish to connect with one of our recruiters to discuss your offer options, please contact Amy Langan at alangan@laterallink.com or via LinkedIn.

Career Advancement in Legal Profession: Exploring Lateral Moves and Reasons Lawyers Switch Firms

Countless attorneys experience satisfaction with their current law firms. However, a perplexing query often surfaces: “Why shoulder the challenge of starting anew or abandon established relationships?” The primary motivation behind such a decision lies in career progression. Progressive lawyers steering their professional journeys recognize the pitfalls of complacency and strive for career evolution that should be accompanied by amplified satisfaction. Though the present conditions might be conducive, they constantly evaluate – can they improve further elsewhere? Delve into these 12 compelling reasons triggering lateral transitions in law firms and assess whether these circumstances echo your professional situation.

  1. Aiming for Improved Partnership Opportunities: Often the driving force behind lateral moves in law firms.
  2. Desiring Less Pressure Towards Partnership: Not everyone aspires to be a partner. An alternate role with reduced up-or-out pressure might be more appealing.
  3. Craving Substantive Work: Are you prematurely categorized into a specific specialty?
  4. Seeking Increased Responsibility: Does your firm’s culture overly value hierarchy?
  5. Yearning for Enhanced Client Interaction and Business Development: Firms have diverse outlooks on associate participation in client development.
  6. Preference for Diverse Industry Exposure: Are you more inclined towards corporate interaction rather than dealing with financial institutions?
  7. Choosing Smaller Boutique Law Firms: Particularly among litigators, boutique firms could offer more sustainable hours and smaller, personalized teams.
  8. Caught in a Demanding Project: Predominantly observed among litigators. Sometimes, a switch to a different firm becomes the only feasible solution!
  9. Relocating to a New City: Are you contemplating a move to a new market for enriched work exposure or client interaction?
  10. Incompatibility with Colleagues: The overarching culture of your firm might not align with your personality or career aspirations.
  11. Eyeing Government or In-House Roles: A lateral transition could pave the way for your dream in-house or government role.
  12. Striving for Better Compensation: A transition to a firm offering industry-standard or even higher remunerations might be possible.

A skilled legal recruiter can provide valuable insights considering your unique experiences, seniority level, prevailing legal market conditions, and anticipated industry trends. After evaluating your options, you might decide to continue with your present firm. The critical point to remember is: take the reins of your career and professional development. Whether you choose a transition or remain with your present firm, ensure it’s a conscious decision, not a mere default option.

Promoting Diversity in Law: A Strategic Guide for Navigating the Post-Affirmative Action Legal Landscape

Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision on Diversity in the Legal Profession

The Supreme Court’s decision ending race-conscious affirmative action in college and law school admissions has sparked a reevaluation of efforts to promote racial diversity, not just on campuses but also in the workplace more broadly. In the legal profession, as in many industries, the Court’s stand puts in jeopardy the progress that has been made over the last several years. This moment challenges those of us who believe in the value of a diverse profession to think creatively about opportunities to redouble our efforts.

The Role of Legal Recruiters in Upholding Diversity in Law Firms

Legal recruiters have a role to play—consistent with the law—in mitigating the impact of what we expect will be a reduced number of diverse graduates from the nation’s most prestigious law schools. We have an obligation to press ahead on our long-held vision of a profession that better reflects the diversity of our country.

Recent Progress in Racial Diversity Within U.S. Law Firms

In recent years, law firms have made undeniable progress on racial diversity, even if the pace of change has been slower than we would wish.  NALP’s Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms found that in 2022, the representation of Black associates at major U.S. law firms grew by half a percentage point, to 5.8%, and the proportion of Black summer associates rose by 0.7 percentage point, to 11.9%. Moreover, for the first time, women of color achieved representation of greater than 10% among lawyers overall.

The Influence of the Mansfield Rule on Law Firm Diversity

This progress is partly attributable to active efforts like the Mansfield Rule. Modeled after the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview diverse candidates as part of the head coach hiring process, the Mansfield Rule presses law firms to consider “a broad slate of talent – including at least 30% underrepresented lawyers – for leadership positions.” Firms committed to that standard can become Mansfield Certified. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Mansfield and similar efforts will persist in their current form following the Supreme Court’s decision.

Challenges to Racial Diversification in Law Firm Partnership Ranks

Disappointingly, among the law firm partnership ranks, racial diversification has appeared to be stagnating even without the added burden of the Supreme Court’s new holding. NALP found no statistically significant growth in equity partners of color in 2022. The top echelon of the profession remains its least diverse segment.

Strategic Steps Legal Recruiters Can Take Amid Reduced Law School Diversity

So how can search firms like Lateral Link continue to drive progress, even if law school classes become less racially diverse in the immediate future?

Deepening Partnerships with Law Schools and Alumni Associations

First, we can deepen our partnership with law schools and their alumni associations, curating creative ways to support diverse students in their efforts to navigate the legal recruiting landscape successfully. Our goal should be to equip the diverse students who are admitted—even if the numbers are smaller—with sufficient knowledge and inspiration to make it to elite law firms.

The Power of Personal Interaction and Mentorship Programs

There are countless opportunities to connect with and educate students, according to Amy Langan, Lateral Link Professional Development and Law School Relations Manager. “In our experience, student affinity groups are highly receptive to hosting speakers from the recruiting sector.” Examples of potential presentation topics include interviewing tips, how to choose a practice area, market-specific updates, and how to pursue a non-traditional legal career. As legal recruiters, we have a birds-eye view of the legal industry nationwide, and we can share with law students our insights about job opportunities in the cities that they are targeting for summer and permanent associate positions. Amy notes that “we can visit HBCU law schools, and we can sponsor or attend job fairs known to attract diverse students. Showing up and being visibly supportive makes a real difference.”

Tailored Mentorship: Fostering Success for Diverse Students

In addition to giving presentations in larger settings, recruiters can help facilitate more tailored one-on-one mentorship, for example by helping to pair lawyers and legal recruiters with students who are members of diverse affinity groups. The Orange County Korean American Bar Association (OCKABA) offers an example. Lateral Link Senior Director Christina Ahn co-chairs the OCKABA Mentorship & Outreach Committee, which pairs law student mentees with attorney mentors based on the student’s interest and the attorney’s practice area. Attorney mentors regularly offer personalized insight into how to advance successfully in a law firm setting.

Collaborative Partnerships: Supporting Racially Diverse Attorneys

Second, legal recruiters can partner with law firms and State Bar Associations to jointly assist racially diverse attorneys to thrive at all levels of seniority, in a manner that remains compliant with the Court’s ruling. Recruiters bring substantial intelligence to the table, with knowledge both of what law firms are looking for in potential lateral hires and of the individual needs of diverse candidates. An example of a forum where this knowledge can make a major contribution is the Texas Minority Counsel Program—the premier client development, networking, and CLE event for Texas attorneys. Open to everyone, the program’s mission is to increase opportunities for diverse attorneys, and to expose organizations to the legal talent of diverse attorneys in Texas.

Curating Initiatives for Diversity in Law Firm Partnerships

In the particular context of law firm partner opportunities, legal recruiters can work with firms to curate new initiatives that comply with the Supreme Court decision and, at the same time, ensure that partners of color can thrive in the law firm platform. Specifically, legal recruiters can work closely with law firms to help them prioritize diversity in partner recruiting and retention.

The Importance of Intentionality in Diversity Efforts

Now more than ever, legal recruiters have to be intentional about being part of the solution. Just hoping for the best will not create diverse and inclusive legal communities. Being intentional may at times entail discussing sensitive issues that impact diverse partners disproportionately, such as origination credit formulas, lateral partner integration, and diversity, equality, and inclusive initiatives at each of the firms we work with. Sometimes these conversations may generate a measure of discomfort or resistance, but recruiters need to use our access to advance the discussion of these essential matters.

Lawyer Mental Health Crisis: Unveiling 2023 Data, Trends, and Essential Resources for Building Healthier Legal Careers

Unveiling the Escalating Mental Health Crisis in the Legal Profession: Hard-hitting Statistics

Mental health awareness in the legal profession has become critical, with disturbing statistics spotlighting an escalating crisis. The perceived increase in substance abuse and mental health issues among legal practitioners is staggering, leaping from 41.19% in 2019 to a distressing 49.31% in 2023. This data highlights the urgent need for law firms to proactively facilitate mental health support. Lawyers should explore the mental health resources available in their firms, including assistance programs. If such programs are lacking, it might be necessary to seek a firm that prioritizes mental health support. Lawyers can also engage in mental health education programs, seek professional help when necessary, and cultivate a supportive network within their peers for better mental health.

Depression and Anxiety in Legal Professionals: An Urgent Call for Intervention Amid Rising Trends

Mental health struggles, specifically depression and anxiety, have seen a disturbing rise among legal professionals. Recorded depression cases have escalated from 31.17% in 2019 to 38.27% in 2023, while anxiety rates have shot up from 63.95% in 2019 to a peak of 71.10% in 2023. This alarming surge underscores the urgent need for comprehensive mental health management in law firms. Lawyers should consider adopting mindfulness practices, ensuring regular exercise, maintaining proper nutrition, and achieving adequate sleep for better mental health management.

Substance Abuse and Rising Suicide Rates Among Lawyers: An Unfolding Silent Crisis

Work-induced stress-related substance abuse remains a prevalent issue in the legal profession, which also faces a disturbing trend in suicide rates. As of 2023, 14.83% of legal professionals reported knowing a colleague who committed suicide in the past two years, and 15.73% admitted to contemplating suicide during their legal careers. These alarming trends underscore the critical need to tackle substance abuse and promote mental health in law firms. Lawyers should seek help if struggling, reach out to support services, and participate in peer support programs for improved mental health.

Work-Life Balance in the Legal Profession: Lawyers’ Struggle to Unplug

Despite the escalating mental health crisis, there’s a positive trend of lawyers taking some or all of their vacation time. However, achieving a genuine work-life balance and disconnecting from work stress remains elusive for over 68% of lawyers. This struggle highlights the need for law firms to develop strategies that encourage mental health awareness and work disconnection. Lawyers can establish work boundaries, regularly disconnect from digital devices, and engage in hobbies and activities that promote relaxation and mental health.

Mental Health Resources in Law Firms: The Ongoing Battle Between Perception and Utilization

While there is a slight decrease in the perception of equal access to mental health and substance abuse programs within law firms, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and comprehensive health insurance packages are emerging as the most widely used mental health resources. Nevertheless, the challenge of effectively tackling mental health in law firms persists, indicating the need for further promotion and utilization of these resources. Lawyers should proactively use available resources and feel confident communicating their mental health needs to their firms’ management, fostering an environment that supports open discussions about mental health.

Pressure from Clients and Lean Teams: Its Toll on Lawyers’ Mental Health

Incessant workloads and unreasonable client demands continue to be significant stressors impacting lawyers’ mental health adversely. Furthermore, leaner teams exert considerable pressure, further straining lawyers’ mental well-being. However, an encouraging trend is that law firms are increasingly resisting these unreasonable client demands, indicating a shift towards a healthier work environment.

Law firms themselves can help alleviate this pressure by implementing policies that promote task delegation and encouraging open communication about workloads. Firms can also offer training to enhance time management skills, and consider augmenting their teams or utilizing technology to manage work more efficiently, thereby reducing the stress placed on their lawyers.

Lawyers can contribute to better managing this pressure by learning to delegate tasks effectively, communicating their workload concerns to their superiors, and honing efficient time management skills. Proactive action from both lawyers and their firms is necessary to maintain mental health in the legal profession.

Mental Health in the Legal Profession’s Future: A Mix of Concern and Hope

While many lawyers envision a future within the legal profession, a trend of discouraging loved ones from pursuing a career in law reflects profound concerns about the impact of this profession on personal relationships and mental health. This scenario is a call to action, emphasizing the need to place more focus on mental health support within law firms. Lawyers can foster a more positive future by engaging in open discussions about mental health, advocating for more supportive resources, and practicing self-care to protect their mental well-being.

At Lateral Link, we recognize these challenges and are committed to supporting legal professionals in navigating their careers towards healthier work-life balance. Choose a fulfilling legal career path with Lateral Link that prioritizes your mental health. Prioritize organizations and firms that place emphasis on mental health support and provide a balanced work-life environment, thus ensuring sustainable legal careers.

Navigating Attorney Lateral Moves: Key Trends Shaping Today’s Legal Landscape

The legal landscape is continuously evolving, and Lateral Link’s extensive research into the trends and shifts in the United States’ legal market offers valuable insights. As we explore these findings, we’ll discuss the implications for both law firms and individual attorneys while highlighting specific firms that have been active in the lateral market.

Talent Wars: The Surge in Partner Hires

Between 2021, and the end of 2022, Am Law 200 firms made waves by hiring over 3,600 new partners. These talent wars at the partner and associate levels were the talk of 2022, but the origin of these new partners captured even more interest. For example, Latham & Watkins, and Kirkland & Ellis have been particularly active in recruiting lateral hires, reflecting a broader trend of expansion and increased competition for top talent. Across the Am Law 200, nearly 30% of all partner additions came from unranked firms, while just 12% came from Am Law’s Second Hundred firms.

Interestingly, Tier 1 Am Law firms (firms ranked 1-50 in the 2022 Am Law 200) primarily sourced new partner hires from Am Law 100 firms (59%). For instance, Paul Weiss and Skadden have strengthened their presence in the New York market, while Cooley and Morrison & Foerster have been active in expanding their teams in California. These top-tier firms added more new partners from unranked firms (11%) than from Am Law Second Hundred firms (9%).

Geographical Insights and Gender Dynamics

New York, Washington, D.C., and London remained the most active markets for partner hires. However, the percentage of Am Law 200 partner hires in emerging legal hubs such as Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Austin exceeded 10% of all Am Law 200 partners in each market, indicating growth in these regions. Firms like DLA Piper and Baker McKenzie have made significant hires in the Corporate sector, while Wilson Sonsini and Fish & Richardson have bolstered their Intellectual Property practices.

In terms of gender dynamics, men accounted for seven out of every ten partner hires. Notably, 78% of all women partner hires were made by Am Law 100 firms, demonstrating a potential focus on diversity and inclusion within these top-tier organizations.

Report Breakdown: Hiring Metrics

The report provides a detailed breakdown of hiring practices based on Am Law ranking tiers, Revenue Per Lawyer (RPL), Profit Per Equity Partner (PEP), and gender-based metrics. By examining these hiring trends, law firms can gain valuable insights into the competitive landscape and make strategic decisions to strengthen their market presence and service offerings.

Implications for Law Firms and Attorneys

The data from Lateral Link’s research has several implications for law firms and attorneys.

Strategic growth and competition: The increase in lateral moves highlights the need for law firms to plan strategically to remain competitive. By expanding their practice areas and market presence, firms can better position themselves in the evolving legal landscape.

Talent acquisition and retention: As competition for top talent intensifies, law firms need to prioritize both talent acquisition and retention. This can be achieved through competitive compensation packages, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities.

The importance of diversity and inclusion: With an increased focus on hiring, law firms must also prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives to attract and retain a diverse pool of attorneys.

Emerging legal markets: As the legal industry continues to grow and change, law firms must keep an eye on emerging markets such as Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Austin, and adapt their strategies to capitalize on new opportunities in these regions.

Navigating attorney lateral moves and understanding the key trends impacting law firms and legal professionals today are essential for success in the ever-changing legal landscape. By recognizing growth in specific practice areas, geographical hotspots, and the increasing demand for in-house and government roles, law firms and attorneys can adapt and thrive in the evolving market.

Embracing technology and innovation: Law firms need to keep up with advancements in technology and leverage innovative solutions to streamline operations, enhance client services, and stay ahead of the competition. Firms like Orrick and Reed Smith have been particularly proactive in incorporating technology and innovation in their practices.

Cross-border opportunities: With globalization and the expansion of multinational businesses, law firms must focus on cross-border transactions and disputes, and develop a diverse team with the ability to work seamlessly across jurisdictions. Firms like White & Case and Baker McKenzie have established themselves as global players by expanding their cross-border capabilities.

Focus on client needs: As clients’ needs become increasingly complex and specialized, law firms must develop niche practice areas and expertise to cater to these demands. For example, Winston & Strawn have developed a strong expertise in antitrust and sports law, while Ropes & Gray have made a name for themselves in private equity and asset management.

Collaborative culture: Creating a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing is crucial for law firms to foster innovation and deliver better results for clients. Firms like Goodwin Procter and Hogan Lovells have embraced a collaborative approach, enabling them to provide comprehensive solutions to clients across various industries.

Succession planning: Law firms must have a long-term vision and plan for the future, including effective succession planning and leadership development. By grooming the next generation of leaders, firms like Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and Sullivan & Cromwell can ensure a smooth transition and continued growth.

Understanding the key trends and adapting to the dynamic legal landscape is crucial for law firms and legal professionals to remain competitive and successful. By being proactive in their approach to talent acquisition, retention, diversity, inclusion, and strategic growth, law firms can rise to the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead in the ever-evolving legal market. As you navigate these challenges and opportunities, Lateral Link is here to guide you through your journey, offering expert advice and professional support to help you make the best decisions for your career and practice. With a deep understanding of the industry’s complexities and trends, Lateral Link is your trusted partner in shaping your future in the legal profession.