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Hiring slowdown in D.C. law firms

The legal market in Washington, D.C., experienced a decrease in lateral partner and counsel hiring during the first quarter of 2024, recording a 10% drop compared to the same period in 2023. According to data from The McCormick Group and Firm Prospects, the total number of moves decreased from 210 in the previous year to 189 this year. The decline was particularly noticeable in the recruitment of government lawyers, which fell from 38 in the first quarter of 2023 to 27 in the same period this year. Steve Nelson from The McCormick Group attributed this downturn to the cautious approach firms take during an election year, expressing uncertainty about the future contributions of government lawyers. However, several prominent Am Law 100 firms have continued to hire partners in D.C. Recent additions include Foley & Lardner hiring two IP partners from Perkins Coie, King & Spalding bringing on a labor and employment lawyer from Kirkland & EllisCooley appointing a special counsel to bolster its congressional investigations practice, and Morgan Lewis hiring a government contracts partner from Covington & Burling. These moves suggest that while the broader market may be experiencing a slowdown, individual firms are actively seeking to strengthen their teams with strategic hires.

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