With the back to back law firm merger announcements of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe with Buckley LLP and Chicago’s Freeborn & Peters with Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP it’s time to think “who’s next?” and more importantly “how am I situated if my firm merges?”. Things like firm culture, billing rates, billable hours expectations, client conflicts, and where is the power center are all areas of concern. By talking to your legal recruiter now, not only will you get a sense of the current market conditions but you’ll also have a leg up on the competition should you need to explore options quickly. A reputable recruiter will be more than willing to discuss and help formulate a confidential contingency plan without launching into full-on sales mode and trying to move you before you are ready.
2022 Atticus Recruiting Recap
We followed an exceptional 2021 with another strong year for our clients. In 2022 we placed 15 attorneys with salaries totaling nearly $4 million. We placed 3 partners, 1 senior counsel, and 11 associates. 47 percent of our placements were at large firms and 53 percent were at mid-sized and boutique firms. Woman attorneys accounted for 47 percent of our placements and attorneys of color represented 33 percent. Litigation placements outpaced transactional placements nearly 4 to 1. 67 percent of our placed attorneys earned their law degrees from top 20 law schools and 73 percent of our litigators had clerkships. Highlights from 2022 included the placement of 6 relocating attorneys, 4 new law firm placements and the donation of $16,000 to charities from our referral program which we will continue in 2023.
We are optimistic that our business model of quality over quantity will produce another outstanding year as firms look to add elite talent situationally. To that end, we enter 2023 with several litigation and transactional positions to fill, primarily with our boutique law firm clients.
Brian Smith Joins Fox Swibel As Partner In Corporate & Securities Group
Atticus Recruiting would like to congratulate Fox Swibel and Brian Smith for joining the firm as a partner in the Corporate & Securities Group.
Read the full article here.
Atticus Recruiting Congratulates Alumni in Benchmark Litigation ’40 & Under’ List
Every year, Benchmark Litigation, the definitive guide to the world’s leading litigation firms and lawyers, sets out to identify the best and brightest litigators across the US and Canada. The 2022 “40 & Under” list is now public. Congratulations to Atticus Recruiting alums Brian Borchard of Goodsmith Gregg & Unruth, Rachel Morse of Massey & Gail, and Caitlin Kovacs of Massey & Gail for their selection to this elite list of litigation attorneys.
Read the full article here.
MONTHLY AND H1.22 RECAP
In June we placed two corporate attorneys, one partner with a portable business and one associate, at a full-service law boutique and an Am Law 25 law firm respectively. We also received five offers for our clients.
For the first half of 2022, we placed eleven attorneys who received aggregate annual compensation of $3.15 million. These placements included two partners with portable business, one counsel and eight associates. Seven attorneys are litigators and four are transactional practitioners. Nearly half of our placements are women (5 of 11) and thirty-six percent (4 of 11) are non-white.
Going into the second half of the year we have several positions to fill, and we remain optimistic for legal hiring for the remainder of 2022.
Thank you to all our candidate and employer clients, supporters and friends. We wish you all a safe and enjoyable July 4th holiday and a wonderful summer!
Avoiding Associate Turnover
According to a recent American Lawyer article, associate turnover is “among the biggest post-pandemic challenges confronting law firms in 2022.” The article cites the Thomson Reuters Institute 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market that indicates the associate attorney turnover rate for all law firms reached 23.2% through November 2021 on a rolling 12-month basis. For Am Law 100 firms, the turnover rate hit 23.7% during the same period, compared to 22.1% for the Am Law Second Hundred and 22.0% for midsize law firms. Stated more starkly, nearly 1 in 4 associates left their law firm in 2021!
Ropes & Gray today announced the arrival of Renai Rodney as counsel in the firm’s 400-lawyer litigation & enforcement practice.
We are exceptionally proud of our role in this placement. Renai is an extremely skilled lawyer, and even better person, and Ropes exhibited extraordinary vision for her role with the firm from the initial interview. Congratulations Renai and Ropes & Gray!
Read full article here.
January 2022 Market Recap
We are in the midst of the busiest legal jobs market that we’ve witnessed in our 20+ years as legal recruiters (10 years as Atticus Recruiting). In January we had four clients start new positions (3 litigators and 1 tax attorney), received two offers for clients (1 partner, 1 associate) and had 10 clients interviewing, most at multiple law firms ranging from Am Law 25s to boutiques. While commercial finance, real estate and litigation remain the busiest legal areas for job opportunities, we are also seeing strategic needs for law associates and income level law partners in Antitrust, Capital Markets, Corporate – General, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, Environmental, Family Office, Funds (formation and regulatory), M&A/PE and Technology and IP Transactions.
To Remote or Not Remote
Law firm, Quinn Emanuel, has announced a full remote work policy while other law firms have indicated a willingness to offer hybrid work accommodations especially for transactional attorneys. Without extenuating circumstances, like relocating for a spouses’/partner’s job, family health concerns, or lack of adequate childcare, law associates who are serious about progressing in the legal profession should think long and hard about working remotely full-time. The practice of law remains a service industry best practiced by people in concert and connection with other more skilled and experienced people. Lawyering skills, legal nuances and interpersonal relationships are developed and learned through observation, instruction and mentoring. At many law firms, associates compete for work and partners give work to those associates they know and trust. Business development, the lifeblood for the vast majority of partners and a critical skill for advancement to partnership is not accomplished remotely. When it comes time to promote new partners, partners are going to vote for those they know best. Finally, when the inevitable downturn comes, and it will come, and hard personnel choices are being made, do you want to be a living, social human being with an office full of pictures of kids and dogs or a 2-dimensional zoom image with a 9+ room rater score?
While remote work sounds comfy, associates interested in making partner and a long and successful legal career should get back in the office as soon and as much as possible.
In-house Legal Recruiting Suffers as Big Law Salaries Increase
Recent law associate salary hikes by large law firms like New York firms, Milbank and Cravath, have widen the gap with in-house law department salaries, especially in the coveted 4-year to 6-year range. Under the new salary scale, associates at law firms in their 4th through 6th years are making base salaries between $285,000 and $350,000, while their in-house counterparts’ salaries range from the upper $100,000s to low $200,000s at large legal departments. Further exacerbating the issue, remote and hybrid work schedules at law firms in response to Covid have blurred some of the lifestyle advantages for going in-house.
To lure top legal talent, in-house law departments should continue to focus on the quality and sophistication of their work, the variety of experience in-house roles typically offer and the lifestyle benefits of moving in-house. Furthermore, they should initiate or emphasize programs that differentiate themselves from law firms including increased roles in corporate operations outside law, greater access and mentoring from C-suite professionals and alternative compensation packages including stock options.