For one-third of law firms, a 2019 survey revealed recruitment is among management’s top challenges. There’s no doubt about it: the dip in specialized talents, as well as the pitfalls of education in recent years, are simply not meeting the needs of the modern firm. Certainly, attracting the next generation of legal talent has its fair share of demands, especially when it comes to new needs in technology.
Of course, you’re well aware of that. It’s a matter of what those changes are – and how to implement them smoothly and effectively – that becomes the bigger obstacle. Because not only do you need to hire that talent, you want to retain them to be your future leaders, too.
Here are some tips on how you can incentivize new talent to join your firm:
Most firms function similarly, so it won’t be day-to-day operations young talent look at when job hunting. Instead, these stars are searching for a place that aligns with their morals and values. These values, indicative of your company’s culture, are going to be your “secret sauce” to distinguish yourself from other firms.
Pinpointing your values originates in two key places: flexible work policies and sustainability efforts.
Millennials and younger generations prefer versatility in their workday. Gone are the days of eight hour workdays sitting in front of a computer pushing paper. The more effective technology available that takes manual, iterative work out of young lawyers’ days, the better. These workers want fulfilling careers that move the needle for clients – so balancing that desire with a flexible work schedule rewarding dedication with remote hours is sure to make your firm more appealing than others out there.
Many law firms are now offering flexible work policies, so if you haven’t yet, consider implementing work from home days as a perk to the job. It goes a long way with this new workforce, and you could get passed up for a firm that does have it.
Championing social and environmental causes outside of your firm is an important aspect the younger workforce holds in high esteem. Keep any notes of causes you support in your job descriptions and recruitment notes, and prospective employees are sure to take interest.
If you aren’t currently making monetary donations, consider a volunteer day at a local soup kitchen or a toy drive during the holidays to help your local communities. Current employees may have ideas on who to reach out to through Facebook groups or other Instagram pages. This is all part of the desire for emerging talent to make a difference bigger than themselves – and what better way to do that than through helping the environment and future generations?
Gone are the days of legacy, on-premise dinosaur computers that aren’t mobile or user friendly. Like many industries, firms are going digital, and new lawyers are going to covet systems that work with their flexibility, not against it. The easier your systems are to learn and use, the more people will use technology to make their jobs better (your accounting department will also thank you when they regularly enter their billable hours and client matter notes).
Of course, nothing happens overnight, so if you are in the market for revamping your system, notify new lawyers about the process during recruitment and add their input is valued in order to bring in the best possible new upgrades to the firm. This new generation loves knowing their feedback is taken into account, and it makes them feel like they’re being part of a positive change.
Offering non-monetary incentives during recruitment is crucial for young workers. In this Robert Half Legal survey, one in four (25 percent) of lawyers interviewed said that leadership or advancement opportunities are the most attractive incentive. Like most careers, lawyers will need to learn on the job, and learn how things work at your firm specifically. The best way to navigate the twists, turns, and mistakes and turn them into victories for your firm is to have top associates and talent guiding them.
Show your aspiring talent you will prioritize their ongoing growth, and you’ll have loyalty and commitment from them to work hard.
Not everyone you’ll hire will be lawyers, but they’ll still need to know the requirements of law they’re working within. There’s been an uptick in one-year master’s programs offering Legal Studies, which helps prepare students for the business aspects of dealing with courts and law. This could be a useful incentive for employees.
Of course, take time to assess the needs of your current workforce first, but when you look to other positions, you could offer tuition reimbursement for a certain amount of tenure at your firm. Not only will this help with retention, it will demonstrate your commitment to their ongoing improvement and career excellence.
While money is not the end all be all when it comes to hiring new talent, it certainly can get their attention. As stated in the aforementioned report, a competitive base salary can make a huge difference when looking to recruit top talent. Be sure when recruiting to offer salaries that meet and exceed the job market trends – this will help attract star players who have the potential to enrich your firm’s services.
This isn’t a one time thing, either – as salary trends are constantly changing, it directly affects employees’ feelings of worth about their jobs. When it comes to promotions and market level compensation, if you’re not adjusting based on their performance and worth, there’s a chance they’ll end up going somewhere else that will.
In order to survive through the digital age, you’re going to want talent that will drive your business and its clients forward. Since this educational gap doesn’t look to be filled in the near future, it’s up to you to create incentives and help bolster your incoming talent to be the very best.
We hope these tips helped you keep on top of recruiting top talent for your firm, and that you’re ready for the continued digitization of day-to-day processes.
Have questions on digital services for your firm’s matters? We’re here to help. Centerbase works with hundreds of law firms to improve processes and speed up the billing cycle while still keeping true to accuracy. Learn more by subscribing to our blog or contacting us today.