UK lateral hires skyrocket among US firms in 2017

May 9, 2018 UK lateral hires by US law firms saw a significant rise from 2016 to 2017, with the number of lateral hires in the UK performed by the 50 largest US law firms nearly doubling from 80 to 140, as reported by The Lawyer.

Leading the pack in 2017 is Reed Smith with 16 lateral hires, an 800% increase from its two in 2016. Eight of those hires can be attributed to a sweep the firm made of King & Wood Mallesons, which went into administration early last year. But Reed Smith also turned to a number of other firms for its new partners, including Norton Rose Fulbright legacy firm Chadbourne & Parke, Dentons, and Allen & Overy, among others.

Second behind Reed Smith last year in UK lateral hires was Squire Patton Boggs, another firm that made a great leap, hiring 10 in 2017, compared to its three in 2016. Like Reed Smith, the latter firm dipped its toe into a number of other firms for its hires, notably recruiting employment partner Liz Pierson from Clifford Chance and energy and natural resources partner Peter Wright from Simmons & Simmons.

Other firms that significantly increased their UK lateral hiring in 2017 include Baker McKenzie and Greenberg Traurig, neither of which made the top 20 list in 2016 (meaning they made fewer than two UK lateral hires in the year), but which hired nine and seven new partners respectively in 2017.

The only firm with a stark decrease in lateral hires was last year’s frontrunner Sidley Austin, which made just three new hires in 2017 following 11 from the year prior. Other firms that decreased their lateral hires, though less drastically, include White & Case, Latham & Watkins, Paul Hastings and Mayer Brown.

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