Lateral Hiring Outpaces Entry-level Hiring in Recent Years

NALP Bulletin, May 2007

According to information reported by offices in the 2006-2007 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, lateral hiring has been strong, outpacing entry-level hiring by about 25% in the two most recent years for which data is available.

As shown in the table below, aggregate lateral hiring increased across most firm sizes, and the increase was particularly dramatic in firms of 501-700 lawyers. However, relative to entry-level hiring, lateral hiring has been strongest in firms of 101-250 lawyers. The figures in this table are based on somewhat more than 1,300 offices/firms that reported their 2004 and 2005 hiring in the 2006-2007 Directory. It is worth noting that several hundred offices/firms did not report their 2004 hiring.

Comparisons of Entry-level and Lateral Hiring — 2004 and 2005


# Lateral Hires in 2004 # Lateral Hires in 2005 % Change in Lateral Hiring 2004-2005 # Entry-level Hires in 2004 # Entry-level Hires in 2005 % Change in Entry-level Hiring 2004-2005 Ratio of Lateral to Entry-Level Hiring in 2004 Ratio of Lateral to Entry-level Hiring in 2005 # of Offices
Nationwide 9,408 10,635 13.0% 7,476 8,362 11.9% 1.26 1.27 1,324
By Firm Size (Number of Lawyers):
50 or fewer 218 239 9.6 183 204 11.5 1.19 1.17 116
51-100 647 628 -2.9 464 505 8.8 1.39 1.24 148
101-250 2,199 2,359 7.3 1,297 1,512 16.6 1.70 1.56 273
251-500 2,035 2,395 17.7 1,562 1,625 4.0 1.30 1.47 319
501-700 1,117 1,433 28.3 1,132 1,216 7.4 0.99 1.18 124
701+ 3,192 3,581 12.2 2,838 3,300 16.3 1.12 1.09 344

Note: Figures are based on 1,324 law offices/firms in the US that reported the number of entry-level and lateral hires starting work in 2004 and 2005 in the 2006-07 NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Offices that reported firm-wide information across multiple offices are counted only once to avoid double counting.

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