Make Better Choices with a Complete Lateral Moves Picture

Law firms naturally want to leverage as much data as possible for strategic decision-making, especially when it comes to growth. But relying on numbers without the right context can backfire for firms, leading them to draw erroneous conclusions and make significant financial and strategic missteps.

There are three main ways using unrefined lateral moves data to make decisions can work against law firms, often without them realizing it. Here, we explain how raw data can get firms into trouble—and how Decipher is revolutionizing data insights to give law firms higher-quality intelligence to make smarter decisions.

When Good Firms Use Bad Data

Because basic lateral moves data can be incomplete, unstandardized, inaccurate, and inconsistent, it can be a mirage. The conclusions you draw from this data may lead you into the desert instead of to the right hiring decision. Here are some key pitfalls:.

  1. Misdirected targeting: Firms seeking to recruit specific talent may end up pursuing “ghost” candidate profiles, attorneys whose expertise is misrepresented. For example, one firm pursued a corporate partner who in reality specializes in middle-market lending. This highlights the risk of relying on mislabeled data. Attorney titles, practice areas, legal specialties and industry definitions can vary widely (AmLaw 100 law firms list, on average, more than 55 different practice areas on their websites), which leads to inconsistencies in categorization and term recognition in raw lateral moves data.
  2. Misreading the market: Flawed data can lead firms to attribute growth or decline to phantom trends and invalid factors. Several legal industry news articles last year cited moves data that indicated a 25 percent surge in lateral partner moves in Chicago over the previous year. Decipher’s examination into this data revealed that the purported increase in lateral moves stemmed from the acquisition of six small firms by larger, AmLaw 200-ranked firms. These wholesale acquisitions inflated the organic move rate, which was actually down almost 10 percent year over year.
  3. Lost value and misplaced opportunity: Lateral moves data requires robust context to be accurately interpreted. Data may show that Miami and Salt Lake City are hot, but these markets rely on vastly different recruitment approaches. Given the depth and diversity of the Miami legal market, organic growth largely drives expansion into the city, while Salt Lake City’s extremely concentrated legal landscape, where the largest five law firms comprise 60 percent of the market’s entire partner headcount, favors firm or acquisition strategies. Understanding what factors drive growth will help your firm make better choices about the future.

Is your data giving you the full picture or leaving you with questions?

See the Complete Picture and Beat Your Competition

Decipher’s innovative approach for compiling, measuring, and evaluating lateral moves gives law firms a 360-degree view of their market and competition. We not only corrected the flawed methodologies that lead to the incomplete or inaccurate pictures created by raw lateral moves data, but created proprietary models that give your firm unique insight into hiring trends in your market and how your firm stacks up against your competitors.

Our comprehensive, enriched lateral moves data also empowers firms with advanced data analytics. These metrics can help firms analyze large-scale trends, establish compensation benchmarks, and identify strategic candidates.

Decipher’s data also helps law firms assess candidates’ books of business, client roster, and cultural compatibility. By integrating additional data points like a lateral’s career history, industry specialization, or years of experience into their moves record, we can analyze attorneys at scale. When these metrics are measured against our investigative candidate irregularity database, we can determine specific thresholds that exhibit a statistically significant higher incidence of potential candidate irregularities. Our robust methodology also allows us to create accurate benchmark ranges for both anticipated portable business and expected compensation.

Law firms do not have to continue operating in the dark when assessing lateral candidates. By adding the right data to lateral moves records, we equip firms to make informed hiring decisions, optimize their talent strategy, and build a future-proof talent management structure.

Is your firm ready for a more purposeful, profitable growth strategy? Contact us today.

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