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Nature (the firm) vs. nurture (the lawyer)

Scientists of many stripes have long debated the relative contributions to a person’s self of genetics and environment. Analogously, law departments go back and forth on whether the firm (environment) or its lawyer (genes) determines the retention and continued use. Law department managers usually espouse the view that they hire the individual lawyer, who brings with him or her the infrastructure of a firm (See my post of June 12, 2005 about GCs favoring big-name firms for career-influencing matters.). I too side much more with genetics, the lawyer.

So do partners in law firms, who lateral from one firm to the next as they proclaim the size of their “book of business.” If those traveling minstrels did not believe that their corporate clients would buy a ticket for the next show, and if the law firm wooing them did not believe that – if either side thought the environment (the former law firm) held more of the loyal client fan base – we would see less inter-firm movement.