Tag Archives: legal industry insights

Shifting Dynamics in Law: The 2024 Guide to Navigating Legal Career Advances

The legal industry is currently navigating a dynamic period, characterized by changes in lateral attorney moves. However, a closer look at the recent data suggests a market ripe with opportunities as we approach 2024.

Shifts in Lateral Moves: A Perspective

While 2023 witnessed a noticeable decline in associate lateral moves, dropping by 66% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2022, this shift reflects a more nuanced legal hiring environment rather than a downturn. The legal market is adjusting after the unprecedented activity of the previous years, with total lateral moves still surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Specifically, there were 15,109 lateral moves in the third quarter of 2023, compared to the peaks of 2021 and 2022. This suggests a market adjusting to a new normal, rather than a significant decline​​​​.

Partner Moves and Regional Growth

Partner moves in 2023, while also experiencing a decrease, indicate a more subtle shift in the market. Cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco have seen the highest increases in partner moves, pointing towards regional growth opportunities. The second quarter of 2023 was notably the second busiest for partner moves since 2017, hinting at a resilient and adapting legal landscape​​​​.

Practice Areas with Steady Demand

Certain legal practice areas have demonstrated consistent demand, defying broader market trends. These include labor and employment, data privacy and cybersecurity, restructuring, intellectual property, and litigation. This sustained demand aligns with ongoing economic recovery and changes in legal service needs, presenting promising avenues for lawyers in these specialties​​.

Corporate and Transactional Areas: A Rebound on the Horizon

The corporate and transactional sectors, after facing setbacks, are showing signs of revival. This rebound, evidenced by recent M&A activity data, portends an optimistic outlook for 2024. As economic forecasts become more positive, these sectors are likely to see an uptick in hiring, creating potential opportunities for lawyers specializing in corporate and transactional law​​.

Looking Forward: Seizing Opportunities in 2024

As we approach 2024, the legal industry presents a landscape of opportunity and potential. The data and trends indicate that while some traditional paths may have slowed, new avenues are opening up, particularly in areas like labor and employment, data privacy, cybersecurity, and corporate transactional sectors. This period of adjustment is not just a challenge but a chance for forward-thinking lawyers to capitalize on the emerging trends and position themselves for success in a post-pandemic world.

Connect with Lateral Link for Tailored Guidance

For lawyers seeking to navigate this dynamic and evolving landscape, partnering with an expert legal recruiter can be a decisive step. Lateral Link, with its deep industry insights and personalized approach, can provide invaluable assistance. Whether you’re exploring new opportunities or seeking strategic advice for your next career move, Lateral Link offers the expertise and resources to help you make informed decisions and find the right fit in this changing market.

Don’t miss out on the potential that 2024 holds. Reach out to Lateral Link today and take the first step towards realizing your professional aspirations in the legal field.

Maximizing Career Potential Through Pro Bono Work: A Lawyer’s Guide

In the fast-paced legal world, finding time for pro bono work can be challenging, but the benefits are well worth it. The need for pro bono services is great, and those who lend their expertise free of charge to serve the greater good often find the work rewarding and satisfying, both professionally and personally.

In fact, it’s for these reasons that pro bono hours have been on the rise in the past several years. According to a recent study, overall pro bono hours have been on a steady climb, with 4.2 million hours in 2015 rising to 5.45 million hours in 2020​​. In 2022, the AmLaw 200 firms contributed about 5.01 million hours of pro bono work, a slight decrease from the 5.45 million hours in 2020 but an increase from 2021​​. This trend underscores the importance of pro bono work, and below we discuss in detail exactly why providing pro bono services can enhance one’s professional and personal development while also serving those in need.

Pro Bono Work: It Makes Us Happy
There is a Chinese saying: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Throughout history, the greatest thinkers have suggested that happiness is found in helping others. This notion is supported by scientific research, including a study by Titova and Sheldon (2021) in The Journal of Positive Psychology, which found that efforts to make others happy can increase personal happiness more than focusing on oneself​​​​​​. Helping others may be the key to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

Expanding Legal Expertise Through Pro Bono
Beyond serving the greater good, pro bono work is an opportunity for lawyers to diversify their experience and improve their skill set. It also gives lawyers the chance to pursue an area of law they are passionate about. Doing so will not only make you a more well-rounded attorney, but it will also better serve your existing clients by having an understanding of different types of matters and the different walks of life they come from. What’s more, pro bono work often gives younger attorneys more hands-on experience than their primary (paying) practice. For example, a litigator who has never argued in the courtroom or a corporate lawyer who has never directly drafted or negotiated contracts can take on pro bono cases to gain practical, first-hand experience. These experiences are crucial for skill development, especially for lawyers early on in their careers.

Networking and Team Building
Pro bono work is an effective strategy for building stronger bonds with colleagues and for broadening professional networks. Collaborating with colleagues from other practice areas/departments on pro bono matters can forge new relationships and strengthen camaraderie within an organization. Pro bono work can also connect lawyers from different organizations, expanding one’s professional network, which can prove invaluable for career development down the road.

Enhancing Brand Recognition, Law Firm Culture and Recruitment
Many lawyers today tell me they are looking for employers that prioritize corporate responsibility – which is the notion that a firm makes a concerted effort to operate in ways that enhance rather than degrade society and the environment. Pro bono work is one of the prime ways firms can achieve this. In fact, when evaluating law firms and attorneys to hire as outside counsel, many clients look favorably at those who have actionable social responsibility initiatives in place.

Leadership and Pro Bono
Strong pro bono involvement often leads to leadership opportunities. This is evident in the growing number of dedicated pro bono partner roles in law firms globally. As reported by the International Bar Association, there are now 66 examples of dedicated pro bono partner roles across 55 law firms worldwide​​.

The nature of pro bono work has evolved significantly over the last decade, with pro bono practices expanding in size and complexity, often operating across multiple jurisdictions and connected to humanitarian emergencies. This growth in pro bono partner roles reflects these trends and provides another avenue for leadership opportunities within firms​​.

Elevate Your Legal Career with Pro Bono Insights
In sum, providing pro bono services is not just the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do – for your career, your community, and your happiness. To truly excel in this profession, strategic choices are crucial. For personalized guidance on leveraging pro bono work to enhance your legal career, reach out to Lateral Link. Our team of experienced legal recruiters specializes in aligning lawyers’ career trajectories with their professional aspirations and personal values. Engaging with our experts offers a unique opportunity to explore how you can improve your professional development. Please reach out to us anytime for seasoned insights on how you can define and achieve your ideal career path.

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