Law firm associate attrition and hiring ease but remain well above pre-pandemic levels: report

“We’re still seeing a lot of mobility for associates… even though the market was cooling somewhat.”

For the 2022 report, the NALP Foundation received data from 122 firms in the US and six firms from Canada. The firms reported hiring 6,786 associates in 2022. Last year, participating firms hired 7,278. Despite the drop, the 2022 numbers still exceeded the 4,956 associates hired in 2020.

This year, there were 3,737 lateral hires and 3,049 entry-level hires. The report also showed a drop in the “boomerang effect.” In 2022, 48 percent of firms said they rehired at least one former associate – down from 55 percent in 2021. For some, the boomerang returned quickly. Twenty-one percent of firms had an associate leave and return within the year.

In the Update on Associate Attrition, the researchers also probed the “attrition drivers,” ie why lawyers chose to leave their firm, says Trevelyan Hornblower. They looked at whether lawyers moved for practice-related reasons, to pursue a different type of career, whether COVID had an impact, and the extent to which support mechanisms such as diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, mental health resources, and flexible work arrangements influenced the decisions.

“Interestingly, throughout the few years that we’ve been probing on COVID, we don’t see that being a major factor driving associate departure,” she says.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top