Lateral Law Firm Partner Movement in This Winter of Our Discontent


Major disruptions have historically always resulted in population shifts. The significant recent tumult in the legal profession are in fact causing a major population shift as lateral partner movement will likely reach record levels in coming months.

Citibank’s recent reports concerning declining revenues and increasing expenses not only served to remind us that we have been through some troubling times. Citibank’s admonition that the coming months will be fraught with further economic peril only confirmed what so many lawyers and law firms already know.

As a consequence, we are seeing more partners entering the lateral market than we have seen in many years before. Additionally, law firms are anxiously seeking lateral partners with portable business to plug holes in their leaking existing revenue streams.

Lateral partner movement, while frequently mutually rewarding, is often fraught with peril. These perils can be mitigated by taking careful steps to assure that the lateral move works well for both the law firm and the lateral partner.

While it is often said that second marriages are a prime example of the triumph of hope over experience, the same is not true of lateral law firm movement. Most laterals go on to achieve greatness for themselves and for their new firms.

Here, then, is a twelve step primer of how to assure a successful lateral move. Follow these steps carefully and the new firm and its new lateral partner will be assured of success.

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Jerome Kowalski
Kowalski & Associates

Jerry Kowalski is the founder of Kowalski & Associates, which provides law firm management... View Profile »

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