“Once almost unheard of, partner moves from law firm to law firm are on the rise” May 21 Boston Business Journal article, quoted Peter A. Johnson on lateral partner moves in law firms.
From the article:
“’The movement of partners is a trend that started nearly two decades ago,’ said Peter A. Johnson of Law Practice Consultants LLC in Boston.
‘It all stems from the transition from the profession of law to the business of lawyering that has been taking place over the last 15, 20 years,’ he said.
With that as a backdrop, Johnson confirmed that many lateral moves are client-driven: Corporate clients are shopping around, asking why one lawyer charges $700 an hour when another equally competent lawyer charges $400. As a result, many lawyers are willing to move to a lower-cost firm to accommodate their clients’ finances.
If a lawyer hears from several clients, ‘We like you, we’ll follow you but we can’t afford you,’ Johnson said, that lawyer might jump ship.
‘There seems to be less loyalty between clients and law firms, and there’s less loyalty to partners and the law firms as institutions. This notion of free agency is creeping into the legal marketplace,’ Johnson said, although business clients are still going to the more expensive mega firms for bet-the-company cases.”