How to retain top law firm talent

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Attracting and hiring young talent is a large and necessary investment for a law firm. After the process of recruiting, screening, hiring and training candidates, it is important for law firms to do everything in their power to retain attorneys over the long term. When a young attorney is hired and seeks better opportunities, law firms must start from scratch and invest the time and money in hiring someone else. Overall, hiring law firms costs the industry around $1 billion a year.

Attracting and retaining attorneys and attracting fresh graduates is highly competitive. Law firms looking to get to the top of the talent pool must focus on flexibility, diversity, positive corporate culture, growth opportunities, mentoring and technological innovation.

Hiring is competitive for law firms

In 2021, lateral hiring moves among law firms jumped to 41%, an unusual and record-breaking figure for the legal industry. While many experts believe this trend is unsustainable and expect it to weaken this year, law firms are still making major efforts to increase salaries and adapt their hiring practices to the market.

This trend of salary increases leaves new attorneys and employees with a plethora of options. Unprecedented salaries are more common today, so other factors like work-life balance and hybrid work take center stage. Flashy salaries may attract lawyers, but it’s the quality the employer brings to their lives that makes them stay.

The importance of corporate culture and hiring law firms

Younger lawyers leave law school with different priorities than they did years ago. These new attorneys are looking for firms with opportunities for support and mentoring from experienced attorneys. They want to know that they are making a decision that will positively impact their legal career.

Law firms can attract these attorneys by cultivating a positive culture that treats trends and innovations as freshly as possible. One of the most important aspects of this culture is the technology that supports time management and work-life balance.

Ongoing support and mentoring

As already mentioned, young lawyers are looking for law firms that serve their future. Law firms can be competitive environments in a dog-eating-dog industry, but these new lawyers aren’t looking for that kind of grind. They don’t want to be the high achiever – they want opportunities to learn and grow in their careers.

Firms seeking to attract these attorneys should offer growth opportunities and demonstrate an investment in their people. This may include career planning advice, CLE training, professional development and coaching services. These programs not only help young lawyers grow, but also show them that the firm is investing in them.

Better work-life balance

Like all young professionals, young lawyers value flexibility and work-life balance more than hectic. They don’t want to be the “first in, last out” type or married to the job. You want to lead a healthy private life with time for family, travel or hobbies.

In any case, personal and professional lives can overlap and influence each other, but law firms can try to give employees time and space to manage their personal lives. In this way, law firms attract more productive and efficient lawyers who are loyal and satisfied with their work.

Law firms should also keep in mind that young lawyers are more open to remote and hybrid work environments. These options allow attorneys to better balance their time, bypass the long commute and traffic, and be more productive overall.

The need for cutting-edge technology

Legal Technology is an excellent way for law firms to attract law students or young lawyers. The legal industry is largely traditional but is slowly shifting towards innovations that improve processes or help young lawyers maintain the flexibility they desire.

For example, young lawyers looking for remote or hybrid work can make the most of their time with features such as mobile apps, document management, and cloud-based access and storage. They can work from anywhere – in the field, at home or in the office – and have equal access to the information and documents they need.

Young lawyers are digital natives and can quickly adapt to new technology solutions. They know they can achieve more flexibility and less overtime with tools for automation, time tracking, and remote communication. Companies that stay traditional are less likely to attract these top talent.

Make a positive impact inside and outside of your law firm

Younger lawyers have many different priorities than their predecessors, including a desire to make a difference in the world. This generation has lived through many historical events, endured conflicts and wants to make a positive difference through their legal practice – even more than fame, status or salary.

Law firms can attract this type of talent with programs like high-impact pro bono work and a commitment to justice, rather than just attracting the largest and most expensive clients. They give back to the community and show their investment in others, whether it’s through donations, volunteer programs, grants, or volunteer work.

Supporting alternative career paths

Attractive law firms offer different ways and opportunities to become a partner. Young lawyers can rest assured that they will not have to put their lives on hold, for example to get married and start a family, just to get a promotion. Businesses can give employees the flexibility and freedom to decide when they want to take the next steps in their careers.

On the other hand, not every young lawyer wants to be on the way to becoming a partner. If young lawyers are not seeking a partnership or leadership position, law firms can offer alternative career paths through professional coaching and training programs.

For example, young lawyers may want to use their legal expertise and combine it with lines of business to help run a law firm, such as: B. Corporate Management, Legal Technology or Human Resources. This allows lawyers to find the best combination of skills and responsibilities for their needs.

Lawyers should also have the freedom to explore different areas of practice and to hone their skills before investing significant time and energy in an area of ​​practice that does not satisfy them.

Adopt modern processes to improve your law firm hiring

In a competitive market, it is difficult to attract and retain young lawyers and law students, but law firms can create an environment of support, continuous learning and technological innovation that keeps lawyers loyal and content.

©2006-2022, BILL4TIME. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 168

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