Ken Bezozo on Lateral Hiring Success


In A Market Abuzz With Laterals, Buyer Beware
Excerpted from Law360

A recent boom in the lateral market for partners has created exciting opportunities for law firms looking to build out particular practice areas or to increase their presence in certain markets.

“On the balance, it's definitely a buyers' market,” said Kenneth Bezozo, managing partner of Haynes and Boone LLP's New York office. “There's a lot of opportunity to add laterals to your firm and to grow.”

“But it's also a market where the buyer — the law firm — has to beware,” he added. “Many of the laterals that are on the market are not necessarily of the highest quality.”

In order to avoid a major hiring mishap, get a full picture of any potential hire — including the reasons he's on the market, experts said.

Learn about your candidates both professionally and personally before extending a job offer, recommended Bezozo, whose firm kicked off February with the addition of six bankruptcy and real estate lawyers from Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP.

He explained that it took months of negotiations to bring in the Paul Hastings group, who had been in search of a platform with a more flexible billing structure, given the plight of the real estate industry, their client base.

“We liked that [extended dialogue], because one of our philosophies in dealing with laterals is that when a lateral comes to Haynes and Boone, we like them to come and stay,” he said.

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