Midsized Practices Luring Lawyers from Large Firms

December 4, 2013New York Law Journal

Scott Mollen, partner and co-chair of Herrick's Real Estate Department, is quoted in a New York Law Journal article that discusses the growing numbers of partners from large law firms that are exploring moves to smaller firms. While midsize firms are cautious about whether lateral partners can transfer institutional clients, they are receptive to the smaller books of business that larger firms may turn away. Many lateral partners from large firms, meanwhile, want the kind of rate flexibility that larger firms are often unable to provide. Scott, who has represented transitioning lawyers, explains that partners commonly leave a firm because they feel "under-appreciated" or have encountered conflicts that required they give up a client matter, or concluded they needed additional expertise not available at their current firm. Noting that "there are greater opportunities for small and midsize firms in terms of hiring people who are not a good fit for their current firms," Scott cautions that lateral moves are often more disappointing than successful, and they often fail because the departing partner overstated relationships with clients or did not consider a client's ties to the former firm. "Many clients, particularly large commercial clients, work with several partners at one firm, and merely because one partner leaves, that doesn't mean the client is prepared to move business to a new firm," he concludes.