Recruitment biggest challenge for law firms

It would appear to be a good time to be a lawyer, particularly one in a thriving practice area. That's because law firms rank talent recruitment as their biggest challenge today. So you might want to update that resume, given how law firms also say demand for their services is going up too.    

More than three in 10 lawyers (31 percent) recently surveyed by Robert Half Legal said recruiting highly skilled legal professionals is the greatest practice management challenge facing their firm. Caseload or workflow management ranked second, with 19 percent of the survey response.

These concerns come at a time when many law firms are seeing an overall increase in business. More than eight in 10 lawyers (83 percent) surveyed said that demand for legal services from their firms has grown either somewhat or significantly over the past 12 months.

Lawyers were asked, "What is the greatest practice management challenge facing your law firm today?" Their responses:

Recruiting highly skilled legal professionals 

31%

Managing caseloads/workflow

19%

Offering alternative billing fees

14%

Staying current with new technology

13%

Improving employee retention rates

12%

Enhancing client service levels

11%

   

"Compensation alone is no longer enough to gain a competitive advantage in today's candidate-driven job market," said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Employers need to go beyond merely advertising open positions and put greater focus on promoting the benefits of joining their organization."

Sullivan suggests that firms consider offering top applicants an opportunity to meet with current employees. "Gaining firsthand insight into what makes your firm a great place to work, such as its core values, advancement opportunities and work-life balance perks, can improve hiring efforts while bolstering staff engagement," she said.

Robert Half Legal offered the following tips to help firms optimize their recruiting efforts:

  • Showcase corporate culture. A negative workplace is a deal breaker for many job seekers, so it's important to emphasize the positive attributes of your office environment.
  • Promote professional development. Highlight mentorship and training programs that help employees hone critical skills and prepare for future leadership roles.
  • Offer perks that matter. Work-life balance is top of mind for many job seekers. Promoting benefits such as flextime, telecommuting, on-site amenities and paid time off for volunteer or pro bono activities can attract top legal talent.
  • Amp up staffing options. Engage legal professionals on a project or consulting basis to ease caseloads, access specialized skills and evaluate candidates for full-time positions.
  • Deepen the talent pool. Tap current employees, professional networks and specialized recruiters to obtain candidate referrals and expedite hiring.
  • Be willing to bend. Employers are challenged to find highly skilled legal professionals who meet all the requirements for an open position. To boost recruiting efforts, adjust your criteria to focus on the essential skills for success and emphasize on-the-job training.   

Survey Methodology  
The online survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 175 lawyers in the United States and Canada who work full time at law firms with 20 or more employees.

About Robert Half Legal 
Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal provides a customized approach, including managed review, legal project management and eDiscovery services, to help organizations handle constantly changing workloads. The company offers in-demand expertise across practice areas, as well as highly skilled legal professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis. More information about our full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions can be found at roberthalf.com/legal.

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