The data is consistent and unwavering: despite lateral partner hiring being a cornerstone of law firm growth strategy, unstructured and ad hoc processes around lateral candidate evaluation lead to highly inconsistent returns on (lateral) investment. Indeed, of the lateral hires made between 2009 and 2014, only 54% were considered break even by the law firm that hired them. When broken down, that data point actually means that for every 54 out of 100 partners, 46 partners not only didn’t break even, but actually failed to deliver. In terms of assurances regarding portable business, surveys indicate that fewer than 29% of candidates deliver more than their projected practice; 30% bring in 50% or less. Another 21% deliver only half to three-quarters.
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