Top 5: Law Firms where Associates go In-house at the Highest Rates

In the last few weeks, we've looked at the cities and practice areas that give Big Law associates the best chance of going in-house. This week, we're looking at the law firms from which associates are most likely to go in-house.

Using our Move Tracker data from 2016 and 2017, we calculated the rate at which associates went in-house at 157 major law firms. We did this by taking the number of associates who went in-house and dividing it by the total number of associates who left the firm.* Overall, 24% of associates who left these 157 firms nationwide did so to go in-house. And certain firms sent associates in-house at rates significantly higher than average, sometimes up to 3x higher. These are the top 5 nationally and in major markets:

Nationwide

RankFirmIn-house Departure RateIn-house DeparturesAll Departures
1Fenwick & West52%2854
2Polsinelli40%1743
3Orrick40%3281
4Perkins Coie38%3284
5Ballard Spahr38%1437

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New York offices

RankFirmIn-house Departure RateIn-house DeparturesAll Departures
1Davis & Gilbert76%1317
2Covington & Burling44%818
3Mayer Brown43%921
4Morgan Lewis42%1433
5BakerHostetler41%717

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San Francisco Bay Area offices

    RankFirmIn-house Departure RateIn-house DeparturesAll Departures
    1Ropes & Gray54%1426
    2Orrick53%1732
    3Cooley52%1529
    4Fenwick & West47%2145
    5Wilson Sonsini46%1635

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    Chicago offices

    RankFirmIn-house Departure RateIn-house DeparturesAll Departures
    1Baker & McKenzie46%613
    2Skadden44%1023
    3Greenberg Traurig43%614
    4Mayer Brown34%1132
    5McGuireWoods31%413

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    Los Angeles offices

    RankFirmIn-house Departure RateIn-house DeparturesAll Departures
    1Venable45%511
    2Latham & Watkins41%1229
    3Paul Hastings39%718
    4Kirkland & Ellis38%616
    5Sheppard Mullin37%1027

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    View More Cities on Move Tracker

     

    What should I take away from the rankings?

    There are big disparities among firms as platforms to launch an in-house career. Yet rankings are just a starting point and should be taken with a grain of salt. Not only are we are dealing with small sample sizes, but a firm's rate at which it sends associates in-house can be inflated by having a relatively higher percentage of corporate or senior associates (both of whom go in-house at higher rates).

    Therefore, when considering whether to make a lateral move to better position yourself for in-house roles, we recommend drilling down into the specific moves that your peers in similar practices at comparable firms have made (and even talking to in-house contacts and recruiters who have seen a lot of careers get made). Did associates from a particular firm manage to go in-house at a higher level or into a particular industry? Did certain firms provide associates the preparation and client contact they needed to make the leap successfully? What is the typical timeline for making a successful jump? Not only will having this information help you decide whether a lateral move is worthwhile, but you'll be able to use it to intelligently probe and evaluate firms once you start to interview.

    Sign up on Laterally to view Move Tracker. Or reach out to consulting@laterally.com if you have questions about the data or legal careers.

    Dig into the data with Laterally's Move Tracker.

    Dig into the data with Laterally's Move Tracker.


    *This is a more meaningful measure than looking at the number of associates who went in-house at a firm as a percentage of all associates at the firm due to the differing cycles of promotion, attrition and hiring at firms. We did not include in our denominator associates who left their firm but whose destination was unknown; or associates who left their firm to start a clerkship but returned to the firm (or may yet return to the firm) after their clerkship concluded. To be included in the rankings above, firms had to minimum of, respectively, 30 moves nationwide, 15 in New York, 15 moves in the Bay Area, 10 in Chicago, and 10 in Los Angeles.