Chicago Lateral Market Fizzles In First Half Of 2016

Source: Law360

By Aebra Coe

After a turbocharged 2015, Chicago's lateral partner market has slowed during the first half of this year, likely as a result of fewer boutique acquisitions by BigLaw firms, according to research performed by Law360.

The 200 largest law firms in the U.S. did 24 percent less partner-level hiring in Chicago during the first half of 2016 than the year before. In the first and second quarter of 2015, 51 and 53 Chicago-based partners, respectively, jumped ship to new law firms, and that number dropped to 46 and 33 during the first six months of this year.

Ron Nye, Major, Lindsey & Africa LLC's Chicago office managing partner, said he's noticed the trend as well.

"Both sides are doing greater diligence about books of business, client relationships, looking at the historical practice of a partner, looking at how the practice will fit into the firm's strategic growth program; they're no longer simply hiring books of business," Nye said.

But, he said, that hasn't stopped lateral partner moves from happening, and merely indicates more business savvy on the part of law firms and partners.

"In our experience, the Chicago market is as active and vibrant as ever," he said.

Read more of this feature at Law360.

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