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Ill-effects of partners shuttling among law firms

Churn among partners in AM Law 200 firms has been significant, and the consequences to law departments can be pernicious. The Client Advisory of Hildebrandt International and Citi Private Bank, Jan. 2008 at 7, states that during the seven-year period (2000-2006) “52 percent of new partners [were] ‘home grown’ and 48 percent [were] laterals” (See my posts of March 11, 2007: increased lateral mobility among partners; and Feb. 1, 2007: mobility of partners.).

When partners move from one firm to another, the clients they serve may suffer. Much institutional knowledge, if there ever was much (See my post of March 15, 2006: the shibboleth.), goes down the drain. New conflict-of-interest tangles may ensnare clients and partners. Different policies about terms of service may complicate the previous financial arrangements. The partner in the new firm may not be able to command associates and support that were as good as those at the prior firm (See my post of July 14, 2005: being a top performer is situational.). A partner’s departure may destabilize a firm that has served a company well for years.