We undertook this study to assess the rate of poor early graft function (EGF) after laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy (lapNx) and to determine whether poor EGF is associated with diminished long-term graft survival. The study population consisted of 946 consecutive lapNx donors/recipient pairs at our center. Poor EGF was defined as receiving hemodialysis on postoperative day (POD) 1 through POD 7 (delayed graft function [DGF]) or serum creatinine ≥ 3.0 mg/dL at POD 5 without need for hemodialysis (slow graft function [SGF]). The incidence of poor EGF was 16.3% (DGF 5.8%, SGF 10.5%), and it was stable in chronologic tertiles. Poor EGF was independently associated with worse death-censored graft survival (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 2.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34–3.47, p = 0.001), worse overall graft survival (HR 1.62, 95% CI 1.10–2.37, p = 0.014), worse acute rejection-free survival (HR 2.75, 95% CI 1.92–3.94, p < 0.001) and worse 1-year renal function (p = 0.002). Even SGF independently predicted worse renal allograft survival (HR 2.54, 95% CI 1.44–4.44, p = 0.001). Risk factors for poor DGF included advanced donor age, high recipient BMI, sirolimus use and prolonged warm ischemia time. In conclusion, poor EGF following lapNx has a deleterious effect on long-term graft function and survival.