Our research found that most law firm recruiters spend weeks or even months screening, interviewing, and selecting the best talent from around the globe. It’s a tedious process that requires a lot of resources. Now and then, a company gets lucky and finds perfect candidates for their job openings but it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes they have to wait longer than expected because they can’t hire anyone willing to work at their desired pay rate.
Most law firm recruiters understand that they have to attract great talent. Hiring is their most time-consuming and costly activity. They spend months or even years screening, interviewing, and selecting top performers from around the globe. It’s a tedious process that takes lots of time and resources. Now and then, a law firm gets the best of the best candidate for their team. However, for many firms finding talented employees remains an ongoing challenge as they never get rid of or replace them once hired because they are not able to find any replacements willing to work for less money than the salary being offered by their current employees.
Recruiting top-performing talent is a top priority for most law firms. Especially those who want to build their team from the ground up. But, how do you go about recruiting these high performers? It sounds easy, but many things can go wrong when trying to find these top performers and keep them at your firm.
Let’s face it — top-performing employees are in high demand and law firms would love to have them on their teams. So how do we accomplish this? In this blog, we are going to cover all such tips and strategies to retain employees and recruit talent in law firms.
Strategies to Attract and Retain Employees in Law Firm
1. Provide training and development opportunities
By investing in your employees and providing opportunities for them to grow, you’re showing that you value their development and want to see them succeed. This will help retain top talent, as they know they can advance within your company. Additionally, offering training and development opportunities will make your firm more attractive to prospective employees. They’ll be able to see that you’re dedicated to helping them grow professionally, which is a major selling point. The main thing to remember when implementing this strategy is that your employees don’t need any special education or experience to get started. Investing in those who have less experience but show potential will show other staff members that you’re invested in developing them into the best attorneys possible.
2. Reward employees for their milestones
A great way to retain top talent is by rewarding employees for their milestones. This not only shows that you value their work but also encourages them to continue striving for excellence. You can reward employees with monetary bonuses, paid time off, or even simply a handwritten note expressing your appreciation. Whatever you do, make sure it is tailored to the individual employee and their unique achievements. For example, if an employee is celebrating their fifth anniversary with your firm, give them a card congratulating them on their achievement and offer an opportunity to buy a well-deserved gift (which could be something like buying lunch). It doesn’t have to be expensive—you just want it to be meaningful.
3. Offer more benefits — especially for non-legal staff
Non-legal staff is the backbone of any law firm. They keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly, which frees up attorneys to do what they do best: practice law. But non-legal staff are often undervalued and underpaid. Offer them more benefits, and you’ll not only retain your top performers, but you’ll also attract new talent. Be sure to provide a variety of opportunities for career growth. Provide on-site training programs that teach employees about the legal field, as well as other relevant topics such as technology and customer service skills. Allow for flexibility in work schedules so employees can balance work with other aspects of their lives such as school or caregiving responsibilities. Make performance evaluations transparent so employees know how they’re doing relative to their colleagues. And hold regular one-on-one conversations with each employee to identify areas where improvement is needed or desired. In addition, encourage collaboration among departments by giving all employees access to a shared network drive where project materials can be shared securely without emailing attachments back and forth constantly.
4. Be flexible about work/life balance
In today’s legal market, firms need to be flexible about work/life balance to retain and recruit top talent. Lawyers are increasingly looking for firms that offer flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, compressed work weeks, and flexible hours. Firms that can offer these arrangements will be able to attract and retain the best lawyers. In addition, firms should provide opportunities for professional development and allow lawyers to take on interesting and challenging work. By offering a supportive environment that values work/life balance, firms can retain and attract top talent. However, it is also important to not compromise the quality of life in favor of meeting deadlines or recruiting new associates. Attorneys need to have enough time away from work so they do not feel burnt out.
5. Harnessing the Power of Legal Tech
In order to retain and recruit top performing talent, law firms must harness the power of legal technology. By utilizing the latest in legal technology, firms can provide their employees with the tools such as case management tools, document management tools, cloud based softwares for better collaboration and mobile apps that they need to succeed. Additionally, by investing in cutting-edge legal tech, firms can show potential recruits that they are committed to staying ahead of the curve. Here are some specific ways that law firms can use legal tech to their advantage
6. Recognize and reward associate accomplishments
Associates who feel like their good work is being recognized are more likely to stay with the firm and continue producing high-quality work. Furthermore, rewarding associates for their accomplishments sends a message to other potential recruits that your firm is a great place to work. There are a few different ways you can recognize and reward associate accomplishments:
1. Publicly announce associate accomplishments at staff meetings or in newsletters.
2. Give associates verbal praise when they do a good job.
3. Give associates written commendations that they can put in their personnel files.
4. Give associates small bonuses or gift cards as a way of saying thank you.
5. Give associates paid time off as a reward for meeting certain milestones.
7. Recognize the value of work-life balance
It’s no secret that the legal profession is a demanding one. Long hours are often required, and work can spill over into evenings and weekends. This can take a toll on your personal life, your health, and your relationships. That’s why it’s so important for law firms to recognize the value of work-life balance. When employees feel like they have a good work-life balance, they’re more likely to be productive, happy, and engaged with their work. They’re also less likely to burn out or leave the firm in search of greener pastures. To promote a healthy work-life balance, many law firms are experimenting with flexible schedules and time off policies. Some offer a quiet time where everyone goes home at 5 pm and doesn’t return until 8 am the next day. Others encourage staff members to take time off during major holidays without fear of being reprimanded when they return.
8. Set an Environment for Collaboration
A law firm is only as good as its talent. To maintain a high-performing team, it’s important to first create an environment that promotes collaboration. Here are some ways to do that:
1. Encourage teamwork by assigning cases or projects that require more than one person.
2. Make sure everyone has a voice by holding regular meetings where all team members can share their ideas.
3. Create an open-door policy so that employees feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns.
4. Promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible hours or remote work options.
5. Offer continuing education opportunities so that your team can stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends.
9. Perks That Improve Employee Retention
There are multiple ways you promote employee retention; offer a competitive salary and benefits package. This is the most important factor in retaining top talent.
1. Provide opportunities for career growth. Employees want to feel like they are progressing in their careers, not just maintaining the status quo.
2. Give employees the chance to work on interesting and challenging projects. Boredom is a major reason why people leave their jobs, so keep things fresh and exciting.
3. Encourage a healthy work/life balance. Overworked employees are more likely to make mistakes and be less productive overall.
4. Offer perks that improve quality of life, such as flexible hours, telecommuting options, on-site child care, etc.
10. Hybrid working
A study recently reported that 76% of lawyers would leave their current law firm for one that allowed them to have a better work/life balance. And who can blame them? The traditional law firm model is notorious for its long hours and lack of flexibility. That’s why more and more firms are offering hybrid working arrangements, which allow employees to split their time between the office and home. This not only helps with attracting top talent but also with retaining it. Employees with these arrangements report feeling less stressed and have fewer sick days. In addition, they’re more productive when they’re in the office because they aren’t worried about doing other things while on the clock.
12. Have a plan for counter offers
If you want to keep your top talent, have a plan for counter offers. If one of your employees is approached by another company with a higher salary, what will you do? You may be able to match the offer and keep your employee, but you need to have a plan in place before this happens. You can also offer things like flexible work hours or other perks that can make them stay at your firm. It’s important to build rapport with your staff: One way to show them you care about their feelings is to ask them how they are doing regularly and listen when they answer. If something is going on in their life that needs attention, be willing to provide help or resources if needed.
Get feedback from time to time: Have an open door policy where people can come talk to you anytime without fear of being fired or reprimanded for voicing their opinions about how things are going at work.
To summarize, we believe that attorneys, law students, and legal professionals must see the value of your firm or courtroom as a place to be productive, advance their careers and develop professionally. This can only be accomplished through careful analysis of your firm’s culture and growth opportunities and thorough knowledge of market competitors to provide the basis for good talent management.
Losing employees is expensive for law firms and these losses can be difficult to recapture. Hiring a new employee can take more than 10 weeks of time, effort, and money when more than 1,384 potential job hunters are in the market searching for opportunities. The rising cost of legal services has left clients with an urgent desire to control these costs. Advances in technology – including the ability to do more at home, online, and on-demand – make it easier to find quality, affordable legal services. This means that even working for a big law firm as we do can feel like an uphill battle when competing with the multitude of companies offering lower-cost alternatives. We encourage our employees to focus on their growth and the teams which help facilitate that instead of outside threats which are much more difficult to manage. This seems to be the key difference between successful firms like ours and those that struggle by only focusing on their competition.