Report shows the instability of lateral hires

March 16, 2011 Consultant firm Motive Legal has produced a report that tracks the movement of partners hired in the UK over the last five years, tracking 1,944 lateral moves. The results are interesting: 44 per cent of partners that were hired in 2005 were no longer with the firm that hired them by 2010, and 30 per cent of those hired in 2007 had quit by 2010.

The report highlights certain factors that tend to suggest that developing talent in-house is a better option than lateral hiring. It is cheaper and more stable, it produces partners that are culturally aligned with the firm, it motivates junior ranks with the prospect of promotion, allows long-term relationships with clients.

But lateral hiring does work for some firms – particularly those that wish to enter a new market or aggressively build a practice area. Latham & Watkins, Clyde & Co, DLA Piper and Berwin Leighton Paisner have all achieved major gains in the last decade with strategies of aggressive lateral hiring.

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