Legal Business

You can’t buy loyalty – the dos and don’ts of making the lateral hiring game pay off

Fieldfisher’s Matthew Lohn argues that patience, structure and a dash of decency go a long way in hiring a partner

For most law firms, growth connotes success. Strategies to deliver the desired growth will usually rely on a steady, sometimes significant, stream of lateral partner hires. These new partners are perceived to be integral to the future success of a business – a supply of fresh talent which can expand different practice areas, enable a firm to enter new jurisdictions and access new clients. Successful law firms openly entice an assortment of lawyers from other firms to initiate or strengthen their offering. Success or failure of lateral hiring has consequently become important and the art and science of the lateral hire is becoming an increasingly analysed issue. Firms need to understand how a ‘lateral’ becomes an established and successful partner of their new firm – so what is the magic formula for success?