How to keep “Hollywood lawyers” out of your firm

by Peter Godfrey21 May 2014
It’s something that happens all the time in the sporting world.  A team hires the best player from an opposing team to come and play for them.  However, when they run onto the pitch in their new colours, they fail to perform.

Firms can also hire duds – either lawyers who fail to meet the big targets they promised, or lawyers whose egos make them a poor fit for the culture of their new firm.

“There are of course a lot of egos in firms, which can unfortunately play a big role in a lot of situations,” Alistair Marshall, partner at consultancy firm Julian Midwinter & Associates told NZ Lawyer sister publication, Australasian Lawyer.  

“And if those kinds of lawyers go somewhere else and they’re not treated in the manner in which they think they should be treated, then there’s a dent in their ego.”

“There is without a doubt a ‘Hollywood lawyer’ syndrome where there are lawyers who think their name or reputation is bigger than the brand of the firm they work for.”

Lateral hiring specialist, Greg Williams of One Practice, believes that effective risk assessment is the best way of avoiding these kinds of lawyers, and that transparency between lawyer and firm is crucial.

“It’s important to make sure both the lawyer and the firm are singing from the same song sheet.  The lawyer needs to make sure that all the figures they are providing are accurate and up to date, and the firm needs to be transparent too,” Williams said.  “If they’ve had a bad year, then they should come clean about it.  It’s a matter of frank disclosures.”