Features & AnalysisLaw Firms

How law firms attract and retain talent amid the ‘Great Resignation’

Technology can play a vital role in making legal staff’s jobs easier and in turn improving work/life balance, helping to minimise the tedious, time-consuming tasks that drain their time and increase their stress.

The Great Resignation is upon us. According to Microsoft more than 40% of workers around the world are considering quitting their job or changing their profession. This could be positive for the legal sector as it could be an opportunity for fresh blood to enter the industry. However, it could also be detrimental as talent could walk out the door if law firms don’t play their cards right. So, what can firms do to attract and retain talent?

Make hybrid ‘work’

As an industry that has been notoriously known for long hours in the office, the global pandemic and shift to hybrid working has given lawyers a taste of a better work/life balance. Now that the genie is out the bottle, law firms will need to ensure flexible working isn’t simply a one off and is now a permanent part of their employment strategy. According to Deloitte research, nearly 75% of millennials say a “work-from-home” or “work remotely” policy is important and 69% say a physical presence in the office on a regular basis is unnecessary. To make hybrid working a success, firms will need to put in the right processes to enhance working practises and employee wellbeing. The ones that do not will be fighting a losing battle for talent and will risk falling behind the competition.

At the same time, to make hybrid working a success, law firms must do their best to prevent burn-out. Many who shift to remote work find it hard to establish boundaries and separate work from the other aspects of their life. For example, fatigue could be caused as legal staff find it difficult to ‘switch off’ and respond to emails late at night or at weekends. Burnout and working too much are constant threats for lawyers, so it is important that firms put in a process to stop this from happening. Doing this will ensure law firms can reap the benefits of hybrid working and be more productive in the long run.

Finding the right tools

Law firms must also ensure legal staff are equipped with the right tools to do their jobs effectively. A survey from Wolters Kluwer shows 84% of legal professionals expect that greater use of technology will improve productivity. Technology can play a vital role in making legal staff’s jobs easier and in turn improving work/life balance, helping to minimise the tedious, time-consuming tasks that drain their time and increase their stress.

There are various technologies that law firms should be looking to invest in to help improve productivity:

Task Automation that can completely automate processes that would otherwise require hours of mindless work. These could include client intake, document creation, and manual processes.

Email Management can help to correctly file the dozens, if not hundreds of emails, legal staff receive every day that would otherwise drain their time. Having a system in place that streamlines the process means legal staff have more time and flexibility to practice law and serve clients.

Document Management – A document management system (DMS) makes it easy to store, organise, and work on documents while saving time and money, while also eliminating frustrating, repetitive tasks.

By investing in technology that helps legal staff to do their jobs effectively, they can focus on doing what they love and use their skills. This will put law firms in the best position to attract and retain talent.

Opening up a wider pool of talent

Not only will hybrid working ensure better work/life balance for legal staff, but it can also open a wider pool of talent, as location becomes less of a consideration when hiring. By implementing cloud-based collaboration tools that enable flexible working, firms can look to hire people with the relevant skills rather than worrying about how far they live away from the office. This can be a real opportunity for law firms to attract candidates with the best skills for a role, without being restricted by them having to live in a specific location.

It has never been more crucial for the legal sector to adjust and adapt their working practises and invest in the right technologies. With legal business leaders estimating that staff will be in the office just two days a week on average in this new working world, law firms must ensure that their employees are equipped with the right tools to be able to work effectively. Those that don’t, risk watching their talent walk out the door and will struggle to replace them.

Andy Baldin, VP of International Business at NetDocuments

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