Skip to main content
In a recent feature in The American Lawyer, Jennifer Johnson provides commentary on the current state of c-suite hiring in the Am Law 200, including the growing importance of having business professionals in place in order to drive firm success.

Law firms leaders are now beginning to see the importance of selecting the “right” business professionals for the role.

“The days of getting a position in the C-suite and keeping it for 25 years are likely gone,” said Jennifer Johnson, founder and CEO of Calibrate. “Law firms are starting to look more like the regular business world where, when there is a shift in management (new chair, for example), they bring in new people in those roles. That doesn’t mean that the previous group wasn’t capable, but leaders want their people in place.”

Johnson stated the market for c-suite hires is both active and augmented from previous iterations.

“What we are seeing is a broad awakening of managing partners who realize that while having business professionals in place is critical, having the right business professionals is mission critical,” she added.

This, Johnson said, is a continuation of the corporatization of law firms, where they are run more like a traditional business than a partnership. And part of that is an open market for talented individuals.

While Johnson said she is not seeing firms pay “whatever it’ll take” to get the senior business professionals they want, firms are asking for advice “on the appropriate compensation ranges for qualified professionals and are willing to pay salaries that match experience and market conditions.”

“This is a significant shift from even 18 months ago, where many firms would balk at higher salaries for people who were not producing billable hours. Firms are embracing the fact that the right business professionals are a valued asset,” she added.

In the current state of Big Law, it is critical to have the right people in place as the environment lends itself to partner lateral movement and costly attorneys near the top. Firms that don’t have the proper support and business structure in place to handle the influx of movement will find themselves at a marked disadvantage, Johnson indicated.

“Many firms, as part of their lateral recruiting efforts, give a value proposition to potential lateral hires that says ‘we have more infrastructure in place here, or more than you had previously’,” Johnson said. “That will directly impact big group moves or a series of moves over several months.”

FULL ALM ARTICLE (login required)
Get in Touch

To learn more about how Calibrate can help your firm search for impactful business services professionals that will drive your firm’s vision forward and increase profitability, please reach out to Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Calibrate.