The red hot lateral associate market has received most of the press in 2021, but Firm Prospects’ data show that attorneys are not just moving from one law firm to another. Of the 12,500+ attorney moves we have tracked so far this year, 1,133 of those moves have been to in-house roles.
As shown in Figure 1., below, more of the 1,133 in-house moves tracked by Firm Prospects occurred in New York and California than any other state, with 222 and 180 moves in those states, respectively, followed by the District of Columbia, Texas, and Illinois.
Figure 2., below, shows the breakdown of moves to in-house roles by the top 10 most represented practice areas/industries. Interestingly, 32% of all in-house moves were by corporate attorneys, as compared to 17% who were litigators. As a percentage of total attorneys in those practice areas in our database, corporate attorneys were eight times more likely to move to an in-house role than were litigators.
Figure 3., below, shows that more attorneys moved from Kirkland & Ellis to in-house roles than any other firm tracked by Firm Prospects, followed by Ropes & Gray, Latham & Watkins, Sidley Austin and Cooley.
A large majority of the moves from law firms to in-house positions were made by associates. As displayed in Figure 4., below, just under 70% of all tracked moves were by attorneys who had an associate title with their law firm.
Figure 5., below, shows that Amazon far outpaced other in-house legal departments with 26 hires, more than the combined number of hires from the companies with the second, third and fourth most hires, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, respectively.
Lastly, Figure 6., below shows the law schools most represented by attorneys who moved to in-house roles. NYU, Columbia and Harvard were at the top of the list, followed closely by Georgetown, George Washington, Northwestern and University of Pennsylvania. The graduation years most represented were 2013 through 2017, with 576 of the 1,133 attorneys graduating in those five years.