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Law Firm Client Relationships Law Firm Management

Do a Lateral’s Clients Move With Them?

There is no way to guarantee a lateral’s clients will make the move to a new firm. But a series of questions can examine the quality of these relationships and the likelihood that the client will move with the lateral candidate.


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The promise of new client relationships is driving the vast majority of lateral partner movement today. In fact, lateral acquisition has become the primary growth strategy for many law firms. Both the new firm and the lateral are often surprised by how few clients actually move to the new firm. A study I did in 2016 with ALM found that 30% of the law firms interviewed brought less than 50% of the clients they had projected to come with the lateral. Keep in mind that law firms often discount the book of business by as much as 50% to begin with. I doubt the results are much better today.

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