According to a recent American Lawyer article, associate turnover is “among the biggest post-pandemic challenges confronting law firms in 2022.” The article cites the Thomson Reuters Institute 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market that indicates the associate attorney turnover rate for all law firms reached 23.2% through November 2021 on a rolling 12-month basis. For Am Law 100 firms, the turnover rate hit 23.7% during the same period, compared to 22.1% for the Am Law Second Hundred and 22.0% for midsize law firms. Stated more starkly, nearly 1 in 4 associates left their law firm in 2021!
Working with a trusted legal recruiter can significantly increase your chances of finding the right candidates for your law firm and help reduce turnover. A professional recruiter, such as Atticus Recruiting, brings the following advantages.
Identify candidates who fit your culture
The first step in preventing high turnover is finding legal candidates who are aligned with your company’s values and culture. Here’s how:
- Define your firm’s culture: Clearly articulate your law firm’s mission, vision, and core values. This will help you identify candidates who share these principles and are more likely to excel in your practice.
- Tailor your job postings: Ensure your job postings accurately represent your law firm’s culture and values. This will attract candidates who are a good fit for your practice.
- Ask culture-specific interview questions: During interviews, inquire about candidates’ experiences, preferences, and expectations to assess how well they align with your law firm’s culture.
A comprehensive screening process can help you identify candidates who are a good cultural fit and possess the necessary skills and experience for the role. Consider the following tips:
- Conduct thorough background checks: Verify candidates’ education, work history, and references to ensure they meet the requirements of the legal position.
- Assess skills and experience: Use skills assessments, case studies, or simulations to evaluate candidates’ abilities and ensure they can perform the tasks required in the legal role.
- Multiple interviews: Conduct several interviews with different team members, which can provide a more detailed understanding of the candidate’s potential fit within the law firm.
Provide candidates with expectations and realistic job previews
To minimize turnover, set clear expectations for the role and provide a realistic view of the work environment within your firm. Here are some ways to do this:
- Share an accurate job description: Ensure the job description accurately reflects the responsibilities, requirements, and expectations of the legal role.
- Offer job shadowing or trial periods: Allow candidates to observe or participate in the role for a short period to gain a better understanding of the work environment and daily tasks in your law firm.
- Communicate expectations during interviews: Discuss the specific expectations, challenges, and opportunities related to the legal position to help candidates make informed decisions about their fit within the firm.
Facilitate seamless onboarding
A well-organized onboarding process can help new hires acclimate quickly and feel confident in their legal roles. Consider these strategies:
- Prepare a comprehensive onboarding plan: Create a structured plan that covers orientation, training, and ongoing support for new hires.
- Assign a mentor or buddy: Pair new hires with an experienced attorney who can guide them through their first few weeks and answer any questions they may have about the firm or their role.
- Encourage open communication: Foster a culture of open communication, ensuring new hires feel comfortable sharing concerns, asking questions, or seeking assistance.
Follow up with new hires
Regular check-ins with new hires can help identify potential issues and ensure their ongoing success within your law firm. Here’s how:
- Schedule periodic check-ins: Set up regular meetings with new hires to discuss their progress, address any concerns, and offer support.
- Monitor performance and provide feedback: Evaluate new hires’ performance and provide constructive feedback to help them grow and succeed in their legal roles.
- Foster a supportive work environment: Encourage collaboration, teamwork, and a positive work atmosphere.
Access to a broad network of candidates
Reputable recruiters have extensive networks of legal professionals, allowing you to tap into a diverse pool of potential candidates who may not be actively searching for new opportunities.
Legal recruiters have in-depth knowledge of the legal industry and understand the unique requirements, expectations, and challenges associated with various roles. This expertise ensures that they can identify candidates who are a perfect match for your firm.
Time and resource savings
Partnering with a legal recruiter saves you time and resources by streamlining the hiring process, handling candidate screening, and conducting preliminary interviews on your behalf.
Partner with a reputable legal recruiter
Legal employers can help mitigate this risk by only working with reputable legal recruiters who have a track record for long-term placements. Employers should require that legal recruiters thoroughly interview and vet their candidates as opposed to simply flipping resumes. Similarly, when choosing a legal recruiter, attorney candidates should seek out experienced local legal recruiters who not only know the different cultures and work requirements of the various firms in the market but also understand the nuances of the local offices and the personalities of the members therein.
If you’re ready to implement these strategies and attract top legal talent, contact Atticus Recruiting today. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping law firms like yours find the perfect fit. Reach out to us for a consultation and let’s work together to build a strong, stable team that drives your firm’s success.
The legal landscape is undergoing seismic shifts, evidenced by the recent consecutive merger announcements between prominent law firms. The amalgamation of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe with Buckley LLP, swiftly followed by the union of Chicago’s Freeborn & Peters with Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, has raised eyebrows in the industry and sparked pertinent questions. Notably, legal professionals are starting to wonder “who’s next?” and, of even more immediate concern, “how am I situated if my firm merges?”
These mergers are not just boardroom maneuvers; they have a profound impact on the operational and cultural aspects of a law firm. A merger can significantly alter a firm’s culture, as two distinct sets of values, principles, and work ethics are forced to coexist and eventually blend. It’s essential to consider whether your individual working style will mesh with the newly formed entity’s culture.
Moreover, billing rates may change, potentially leading to increased pressure to maintain profits per partner. This alteration can have a direct impact on billable hours’ expectations, possibly leading to increased workload without corresponding compensation.
Client conflicts are another critical area to consider. A merger might bring together firms with clients who are competitors or have legal disputes with each other. This situation could lead to the need to drop clients or erect ethical walls, which could affect your workload and professional relationships.
Furthermore, the power center of the firm could shift. Decision-making might move away from your current office or become concentrated among a select few individuals. This shift could impact your influence and standing within the firm, which might not align with your professional growth aspirations.
Given these potential changes, the importance of proactive career management cannot be overstated. One effective way to navigate this landscape is by consulting with a legal recruiter. Not only can recruiters provide valuable insights into current market conditions, but they can also help you stay ahead of the competition should you need to explore other opportunities swiftly.
Engaging with a reputable recruiter now allows you to formulate a confidential contingency plan, should a merger be announced. A trustworthy recruiter should be willing to offer this counsel without launching into an aggressive sales mode or attempting to move you before you are ready. This step ensures you are adequately prepared for any eventuality and your career remains resilient in the face of industry changes.
In conclusion, the recent law firm mergers underline the dynamic nature of the legal industry and the need for individual lawyers to prepare for such changes. By understanding how these mergers can impact various aspects of a firm and by engaging with a recruiter proactively, legal professionals can ensure they are well-equipped to handle the resulting changes and maintain their career trajectory.