July Market Update

Aug 6, 2018 by 0

The lateral market paralleled the scorching temperatures across the United States in July as partner and associate movement remained robust. Demand for lateral attorneys remains high across the Am Law 200. Overall, Holland & Knight led the partner market by poaching 11 partners and one counsel from Reed Smith to open their new Philadelphia office. On average, firms acquired 2.2 lateral partners in July.

Biglaw firms brought in an average of 3.6 associates over the course of July. Kirkland and Lewis Brisbois led the market, posting impressive gains of 25 and 21, respectively. Kirkland leveraged their new $190k base scale to entice lateral associates to join the firm. Lewis Brisbois, largely bolstered their numbers through choice hiring of strong candidates from boutiques.

Litigation and corporate practices remain king. The bulk of movement in the corporate practice comes from junior associates. Corporate associates with 2-4 years of experience make up 57% of movement in July. This number is significantly lower for litigation associates, only 45% in comparison, with more vintage associates commanding a sizeable market share.

Using an autoregressive integrated moving average model (ARIMA), we forecasted the lateral market over the next four quarters. The model takes into account seasonal trends as well as the overall growth of the market to predict future movement. Our model predicts much of the same for the next four quarters, with the potential for a new record quarter. As usual, the model predicts a drop in movement in the fourth quarter as lateral activity slows down as associates wait for their bonuses. Consequently, the fourth quarter is often the best time for an associate to move as demand greatly outpaces supply, making it possible to jump to your dream firm, and often merge back onto the partnership track.