Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms

 Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms is designed to help all firms reassess and strengthen their lateral strategy and processes in line with best practices. 

Additional taxes may be applicable


  • Publication date: June, 2017
  • Pages: 107
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-286-0


In a flat market where organic growth is increasingly difficult to achieve, firms continue to bank on the (considerable) benefits that can accrue from lateral hiring. However, there are still considerable risks.

The newcomer may fail to perform as expected or even make an expensive exit shortly after arriving, their book of business may not be as profitable (or as portable) as it first appeared to be, their arrival could upset the cultural apple cart, or they could be the cause of unforeseen client conflicts.

But the potential payoff when firms do make the right hire make up for all the failed attempts. 

ARK Group's new book Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms is designed to help all firms reassess and strengthen their lateral strategy and processes in line with best practices. 

Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms considers the main issues arising from a strategy of growth through lateral recruitment and shares practical steps that firms should be taking both pre- and post-hire, and on an ongoing basis, that can help them to sidestep common pitfalls and maximize the contributions of their laterals.

With contributions from a range of legal recruiters, consultants, academics, and law firm HR and marketing/BD professionals Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms shows there are steps all firms can take to ensure they approach lateral recruitment in a more structured way, make better decisions and improve their lateral batting average. 


Executive summary 

About the authors 

Chapter 1: Lateral thinking – Approaches to senior level hiring in the legal sector

By Gareth Ward, partner at Edward Drummond & Co

  • Why laterals fail
  • Improving success rates through improved recruitment

Chapter 2: Lateral hiring can be key to client growth – If you do it right 

By Ian Turvill, chief marketing officer at Freeborn & Peters LLP

  • Critical success factor 1 – Develop and communicate an
  • explicit strategy for lateral hires 
  • Critical success factor 2 – Recognize that successful integration
  • begins long before and extends far after the hire date
  • Critical success factor 3 – Apply close scrutiny to performance
  • versus plan and make course corrections over time 
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Profitable lateral hiring – Numbers and nuances

By David J. Parnell, founder and principal of True North Partner Management

  • Assumptions 
  • The process of fi nancially modeling lateral acquisitions
  • Information you should gather ahead of time 
  • Performing the analysis
  • Modifying the transaction 
  • Is this a good hire?
  • Summary

Chapter 4: Cultural screening – Steps to ensure your laterals are a good cultural fit 

By Mark Brandon, founder and managing director of Motive Legal Consulting

  • Defining the problem 
  • Cultural norming
  • Beyond the obvious
  • Lies, cues, and anchors

Chapter 5: The hiring process – From board approval through to offer

By Mark Brandon, founder and managing director of Motive Legal Consulting

  • Be diligent about diligence 
  • The psychology of the offer 
  • Guarantee your own demise
  • Bonus, schmonus 

Chapter 6: Lateral partner compensation

By James D. Cotterman, principal of legal management consultancy Altman Weil, Inc.

  • “You did what?!”
  • The market 

Chapter 7: The keys to successful lateral partner hiring and integration

By Melinda Wallman, partner with Major, Lindsey & Africa

  • Approaches to hiring
  • Key components of successful lateral partner hiring

Chapter 8: Integrating laterals

By Patrick J. McKenna, internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist, and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms

  • Time to execute
  • Management

Chapter 9: Embedding laterals (and their clients) into your law firm

By David Freeman, J.D., CEO of the David Freeman Consulting Group

  • Screening recruits
  • BD from within
  • BD from outside
  • Integrating laterals’ contacts

Chapter 10: Collaboration among partners – Increasing the odds of productive lateral hiring

By Heidi K. Gardner, distinguished fellow in the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School

  • Origins of the war for talent
  • The risks of lateral hiring 
  • Critical action steps for improving lateral hiring 
  • Analytics-driven business plan 
  • Structured assessment of a candidate’s collaborative
  • capabilities
  • Post-hire mentoring and accountability 
  • Conclusion

Chapter 11: Branching out – The pitfalls of establishing a branch office through lateral hires

By Thomas Berman, senior principal of Berman & Associates

  • Lateral hire success (and failure) factors
  • Parting thoughts

Chapter 12: Lateral recruiting tools

By Andrea Mac, director of client development at Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC

  • Why this approach?
  • What we did
  • What we learned


Download chapters


Ian Turvill
Chief Marketing Officer, Freeborn & Peters LLP
Patrick J McKenna
Author, lecturer, strategist, and advisor to the leaders of premier law fi rms
Heidi K. Gardner
Distinguished fellow in the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School.
Thomas Berman
Senior principal at BERMAN & ASSOCIATES
David H. Freeman
Chief Executive Officer of David Freeman Consulting Group
James D. Cotterman
Principal, Altman Weil, Inc
Mark Brandon
Founder and managing director of Motive Legal Consulting
David J. Parnell
David J. Parnell is an author, speaker, Forbes and American Lawyer Media columnist, and the founder and principal of True North Partner Management, a partner-level legal search and placement firm. Along with his experience in private placement, he has previously worked in-house with the likes of Intel, Xircom, and DreamWorks SKG. Complimenting his Forbes and ALM columns, his work can also be found in publications such as The American Lawyer, Huffington Post, Venture Capital Post, Fox News Magazine, Lawyerist, Law360, Bloomberg, Australasian Lawyer, NBC News, The Global Legal Post, Business Insider, and NZ Lawyer, among others.
Gareth Ward
Partner at Edward Drummond & Co
Melinda Wallman
Partner in the global executive legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa
Andrea Maciejewski
Director of client engagement at Levenfeld Pearlstein

You may also be interested in..

Think about attending..