Lateral Opportunities Dry Up For Employment Lawyers

Source: Law360

By: Aebra Coe

Fewer employment attorneys have changed firms in the first quarter of 2016 than in any other quarter over the past 15 months, as the demand for lawyers specializing in the practice area has slowed amid a strong economy, according to Law360 data and experts.

At least 30 labor and employment partners jumped ship in the first three months of the year, according to data collected by Law360, a more than 50 percent decline from the 62 lateral hires made across the practice group during the first quarter of 2015.

Despite the decline in lateral hiring, several recruiters said they see employment as a steady, dependable practice that isn't in danger of extinction among the full-service giants anytime soon.

"As we know, more and more firms these days are focused on profitability and their premium practices, and often view the L&E space as a 'commodities' practice that requires large overhead and yields lower profits," said Joshua Dull, managing director of Major, Lindsey & Africa's Miami office. "On the other hand, those firms that are more focused on a strategy geared towards globalization and positioning themselves to service clients wherever they need legal advice, often want to ensure appropriate coverage in the practice area across the platform."

That may lead to a ramping up in the practice area, he said.

"Regardless of where a firm falls on this spectrum, usually a star lateral partner candidate with a solid, portable client roster and book of business will garner the attention of most firms" Dull said. "Those are the diamonds in the rough."

Read more of this feature at Law360.

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