The NALP Foundation Releases Latest Update on Associate Attrition (CY 22)
While both hiring and attrition cooled from 2021’s historic highs, they remained well above prior years’ levels.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
The NALP Foundation announces today the release of its newest annual Update on Associate Attrition, a detailed report on law firm associate hiring and departures for 2022. The Foundation has produced this signature report for over 20 years.
The 2022 data from 128 participating firms in the U.S. and Canada revealed:
• While both hiring and attrition cooled from 2021’s historic highs, they remained well above prior years’ levels.
• The overall associate attrition rate for 2022 was 20%, down from 2021’s 26%, but associates of color continued to leave at higher rates than their majority peers – 26%.
• For the first time, geographic relocation was cited as one of the top reasons associates elected to leave their firms.
• More than twice as many associates who identified litigation as their primary practice area left in 2022 than did those identifying theirs as business/corporate (25% vs. 12%).
“The very high levels of both associate hiring and attrition, particularly in the first half of 2022, show significantly elevated and ongoing associate mobility, but with increasing dispersion based on location and practice area…and troublingly persistent differences for associates of color, which should be a pressing concern for the profession,” noted NALP Foundation President & CEO Fiona Trevelyan Hornblower.
The new report breaks out associate hiring and attrition by firm size (including new data on firms with more than 1,00 attorneys), as well as by associates’ gender identity and demographic cohorts, and covers topics, including:
• Associates’ reasons for leaving firms, including the impact of COVID-19 and workplace policies on their departure decisions.
• Associates’ next professional positions.
• Entry-level vs. lateral hiring.
• “Boomerang” associates who leave a firm but then return.
• The impact of perceived advancement opportunities on associate departure decisions.
• The influence of firms’ DEI efforts, support for mental health/well-being, community/connectivity, remote/flexible work, and vaccination/testing policies on associate departures.
The full report (in PDF format) is available for purchase from The NALP Foundation at www.nalpfoundation.org/bookstore.