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The American Lawyer released results from its annual Lateral Report, which tracked lateral movement strategies among the nation’s largest and most successful law firms. The report, conducted by ALM Intelligence, reported 2,895 lateral moves among Am Law 200 firms in 2017, decreasing 2.3% from 2016. According to the report, law firm leaders reported a variety of strategies aimed at improving lateral hiring such as geographic expansion, spending top dollar on superstar partners, hiring lateral groups, recruiting experts in other fields, and expanding lower cost-firms in larger markets.

Chicago-based Winston & Strawn hired the most lateral partners of any Am Law 200 firm, the report revealed. The firm brought on 73 partners, representing nearly 22 percent of its partner ranks. DLA Piper hired the second-most partners, 69—a mere 5.7 percent of its partnership. The next three firms to grow their partner ranks by more than 10 percent through lateral hiring included Cozen O’Connor, Fox Rothschild and Hogan Lovells opening new offices in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Seattle, respectively (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

Kansas City, Missouri-based Polsinelli is another firm to see recent growth in the lateral partner market. Much of the firm’s recent growth has been in Chicago, where it has grown from just six lawyers in 2006 to 99 as of last December. The firm has found success recruiting from some of the city’s legacy firms, many of which have pursued a more international, higher-profit model (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

See highlights from the full article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer released a recent article reporting that a number of midsized law firms have doubled down on their commitment to secure, and deepen existing relationships with midmarket clients. According to the article, law firm leaders in the middle market segment, which generally includes businesses with $50 million to $500 million in annual revenue, agree deep-rooted relationships are extremely common among law firms that service midmarket clients.

Law firms with roots in major markets are also finding ways to prosper in middle-market locations. For some midsized firms, including Cozen O’Connor, Ballard Spahr and Fox Rothschild, that has spurred geographic expansion across the country. For others, like McCarter & English and Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease, it has meant doubling down in the region where they already have roots.

“Midmarket companies are normally always in growth mode, so as they’re growing there are opportunities to grow with them and expand the amount and type of work that you’re doing for them. They have the same sophisticated work that larger Fortune 1000 companies may have. The number of zeroes may not be the same, but the sophistication of the work is and the complexity of the matters are,” notes Cozen O’Connor’s CEO, Michael Heller.

ALM journalist, Lizzy McLellan concludes, “the perception of value often attracts midmarket clients to firms with a more affordable rate structure than the very top of the Am Law 100 offers. Sometimes that means a national Am Law 100 firm in the second 50, like Cozen O’Connor or Fox Rothschild. But it can also mean a midsize firm like Pryor Cashman or a regional Am Law 200 firm like McCarter & English.” McCarter & English’s chairman, Michael Kelly, notes “the big expensive firm gives them cover, but I can tell you with no uncertainty that we will do a better job with less cost.”

See highlights from the full article on the American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer published results from its annual Midlevel Associates Survey, finding that “associates generally continued to report high levels of satisfaction with their jobs,” and report being happier with their compensation than they were a year ago.

Each year, the publication surveys third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates on several aspects of job satisfaction, including compensation and benefits, training and guidance, interaction with partners and other associates, the interest and satisfaction level of the work, the firm’s policy on billable hours, and management’s openness about firm strategies and partnership chances. The participating firms were ranked on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible.

According to the report, “the greatest increase in associate satisfaction came in the area of benefits and compensation,” with respondents giving firms an average score of 4.29, up from an average of 4.17 last year. Of the 102 firms surveyed, the top five firms in terms of midlevel associate satisfaction in numerical order were Cozen O’Connor, O’Melveny & Myers, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Paul Hastings and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

See highlights of the full report and article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer released this year’s national and regional midlevel firm rankings, based on a satisfaction survey of associate responses. The survey analyzes key workplace elements such as: compensation and benefits package, training and support, relations with partners and associates, satisfaction level of the work, billable hours’ policy, and management’s openness about strategies and partnership opportunities. The participating firms were ranked on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible.

On the national scale, Paul Hastings earned first place again. From a survey of 51 respondents, the firm received the highest satisfaction score, a 4.763 out of 5. In numerical order, the succeeding firms in the top 5 are: Los Angeles’-based O’Melveny & Myer, Cozen O’Connor based in Philadelphia, internationally-operated Clifford Chance, and nationally-based Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher.

From a local perspective, the American Lawyer provides an overview of the top firms organized by major city. Of the top 18 markets, the scores are reflective of respondents only in that firm’s office in the designed city, not the firm as a whole. It comes as no surprise that national leader, Paul Hastings, is ranked No. 1 in multiple major cities, such as: Chicago, New York, Orange County, and Washington D.C. The same is true for nationally ranked No. 2 firm, O’Melveny, which is No. 1 in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. In the Texas market, Dallas’ top firm is Gibson Dunn, and in Houston, the leading firm is Orrick. In California, Chicago-based Winston & Strawn landed No. 1 in the Los Angeles market, and San Diego’s leading firm is Sheppard Mullin. No. 3 nationally ranked, Cozen O’Connor, leads the Philadelphia market.

See more of the highlights from the AmLaw National and Regional Midlevel Firm Rankings on the American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.