Attract & retain talent

Jacob Thomas, Senior Consultant25 September 2017

In recent years, the legal profession has seen many changes and there are yet more to come when you consider further advancement in technology, shifts in workforce culture and demographics, as well as more demand from clients for better value for money.

We have seen a dramatic shift in what's most important to prospective job seekers too.  And while retaining top staff can be a tough task, keeping these key members is crucial for long term business success.  In this candidate-short market, firms are having to look to new ways to keep hold of their most valuable assets, while bolstering the workforce with new skills to ensure future success in the ever-changing legal landscape.

Talent strategy
Large and even medium-sized firms will be working closely with HR departments to work on a talent strategy in line with the firm’s overall business plan.  As well as continuing with the current service offering, there needs to be a plan in place to manage staffing as the firm evolves to remain competitive in a changing market.  From fewer traditional lawyers to recruiting those with a new mix of skills and accepting alternative progression routes into practice, there’s a lot to be done to attract the right talent to firms and reform work structures without too much attrition along the way.

Flexible working
Right here and now, flexible working is crucial to law firms large, medium and small to attract and keep the best staff – it’s gone from being ‘who’s doing it’ to the new norm.  Changing attitudes, ensuring a diverse workforce and innovations in technology have all played their part in making flexible working a reality.

Employee engagement 
We touched on this in a blog earlier in the month, citing career development as one of the biggest motivators for taking on a new role.  Being able to progress one’s own career and the promotional opportunities available in a firm are integral to employee satisfaction.  Ongoing learning and development is important for not only keeping lawyers moving up the ladder but also in building any talent strategy whereby all disciplines need to be catered for as the legal landscape changes.  If staff know the firm is investing in them for their own future as much as the firm’s, there’s every chance they will stay.

Firms that brand themselves well, presenting their values, strengths, philosophy and working culture in a positive, forward-thinking way will be more likely to stand out and able to recruit like-minded professionals.  As well as good employer branding, firms should have a strong online presence too, promoting their brand and services across social media channels.  Once inside a firm with a strong communications and brand strategy, any hard-working, ambitious legal professional will flourish and be likely to remain.

Tech investment
It’s law firm clients predominantly driving the adoption of new technology in firms as they seek information and updates in real-time, even shared data access.  With the arrival of technology, comes a need for staff who can manage data and support the tech infrastructure, and alongside any of these new roles in a firm is the need to make sure the firm’s lawyers can use and understand the data themselves, supporting their traditional legal knowledge.  Law firms looking to the future know technology is a key differentiator for them as a competitive firm in the marketplace, as well as for attracting and retaining the best talent. 

Be prepared for change
There are challenging times ahead for firms as the industry continues to evolve and naturally there will be varying degrees of staff attrition.  But the key thing as we all to the look to the future is that change is coming and we should all be ready for it.  Firms leaving it too late to change risk losing their best assets, making it even harder for them to complete in an already challenging market.  Whereas, those firms that embrace it and remain agile and willing to adapt are the ones that will succeed.  And we all know; happy employees make for happy clients, so it’s worth the effort.

Jacob specialises in helping solicitors from NQ to Partner level find new roles across the Midlands and Bristol regions, as well as Commercial Paralegals in the North West  If you are considering a move or would like more information about the opportunities available to you, drop him an email,

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