How can law firms remain competitive as legal talent changes?

Harrison Barnes

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials are more likely to be employed and work full time than non-millennials. That breaks down to approximately 65% of millennials being employed full time and 48% of non-millennials being employed full time.

According to The American Lawyer, millennials are now the largest generational group of attorneys in the United States.

What does that mean for law firms?

The pool of legal talent is changing. To remain competitive, law firms must change their legal recruitment processes.

Not just the way they recruit lawyers. The process of recruiting talented legal staff must also change. The real question is this: what will it take for your law firm to remain competitive in the legal job market when unemployment rates are low? The broad answer is legal recruitment strategies must embrace and reflect the change. Here are some easy ways to reinvent your recruitment process to attract and keep top legal talent.

Focus on Flexible Work Schedules and Legal Tech in Law Firm Job Descriptions

Legal staff recruitment must now focus on the desires expressed by top legal talent.

According to the ABA 2019 Salary Guide, not only is competition for the best legal talent at an all-time high, half of all respondents stated that they received some sort of flexible schedule or another work arrangement. Meaning, law firm job descriptions aren’t just about the salary and the day in, day out responsibilities.

While remains important for legal candidates to understand the requirements of the job and how their success will be measured, the largest employed generational group is interested in their quality of life. They’re also well versed in technology and recognize that time does not need to be wasted completing simple tasks that could be automated or simplified by the use of legal tech.

To acquire top talent, rewrite your law firm job openings to highlight the use of your law firm’s legal tech, automation, AI, and how it prizes innovation. The right technology improves the efficiency of the law firm and quality of life for its legal staff.

The ABA 2019 Salary Guide reported over half of all respondents accepted a law firm job that gave them some sort of flexible work schedule. This could include work from home days. If your law firm isn’t offering some sort of flexible work scheduling for your legal talent, you could be running the risk of losing your most talented attorneys and legal staff and you may struggle to attract top legal candidates.

Showcase Corporate Social Responsibility

While top legal candidates do care about salary, technology, and a flexible schedule, they also want to know the law firm they work for makes a difference. This is known as corporate social responsibility.

What good does your law firm offer the community?

Does it participate in pro bono events? Does it volunteer at a food bank or school supply drives?

Does it support its attorneys and legal staff in their desires to help improve the community by offering time off to volunteer for charitable causes?

Embrace the concept of doing good in your community. It’s a key part of your legal recruitment process.

Social responsibility is a significant aspect of the company culture that law firm job candidates take very seriously when they are considering where to apply and which jobs to accept.

Illustrate the Law Firm’s Devotion to Clients and the Firm’s Core Values

Most law students are idealistic when they enter law school (even the ones who are motivated by the idea of making six figures or more.) Legal staff with a great skill set often expect a certain pay level as well.

Starting a law firm involves creating a core set of values as well as a mission statement. Top legal talent are very interested in what your law firm is all about. They want to know how the firm’s core values have affected the lives of clients.

Attorney jobs and legal staff jobs should illustrate how the law firm’s core values and mission statement have affected clients.

This can be done by highlighting client testimonials or even news stories that present a legal victory for your law firm that made a serious impact.

Create and Showcase a Mentorship Program

Mentorship programs in law firms do not need to involve constant handholding.

Associate attorneys benefit from mentorship programs and your law firm can attract top legal talent by showcasing such a program.

In a mentorship program, associate attorneys and entry-level legal staff pair with top-performing lawyers and legal staff who have been with your law firm for a while. Mentors spend time with the new hires to help them acclimate. They answer questions and help new hires determine what they’d like to do in the future.

Skill development and the possibility of advancement within a law firm are the main reasons why legal professionals choose the jobs they do. These are other aspects of a law firm’s company culture that candidates look for and consider before applying or accepting a position.

Offer Opportunities for Professional Development

While we touched on the importance of professional development in the previous section, it’s important enough to mention again. And it’s something that your law firm’s recruitment process should highlight in every job description as well as during the interview process.

Professional development doesn’t just help the attorney or the legal staff. It helps the law firm. Offering professional development opportunities is one way that your law firm can help stand out in a competitive legal market as well as inspire loyalty from your employees.

Foster a Sense of Community Within the Law Firm

Law firms have been known for a cut-throat atmosphere where the focus is billable hours and a race to become a partner.

While there is nothing wrong with associate attorneys aspiring to reach that level, it can create an environment that makes attorneys, as well as legal staff, feel alone. That, in turn, can cause your most talented to look for other jobs.

Fostering community can be as simple as an occasional catered lunch together, going out for coffee, or volunteering together. It can mean an open-door policy for questions or seeking guidance from attorneys and legal staff when choosing legal tech that directly affects their jobs.

Once you have a way to develop that sense of community, ensure the legal recruitment process, as well as the interview process, mention it. This important part of the law firm’s company culture helps attract and retain talented attorneys and legal staff and should not be overlooked.

Now Go Forth and Hire the Top Legal Talent!

The legal recruitment landscape is changing. Your law firm doesn’t have to be left behind. It’s important to always understand the desires of the top legal talent so you can use it to your advantage!

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in job searches and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company, LawCrossing, has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

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