How do you, as a leader of a law office, show your commitment to the firm?

It isn’t easy to manage a business, such as a firm of lawyers. Driving it to meet growth and profit objectives is even more challenging. Attracting and retaining the best legal talent is a priority for running a successful firm.

Thomson Reuters Institute 2022 Report on the state of the legal market says that some firms face more than 25% turnover of their associates. These firms risk losing 125% more associates than the pre-pandemic standard of losing half their staff over five years. Have you addressed the needs and concerns of your legal professionals to maintain a stable, healthy workforce? Reviewing key questions will help you assess your firm’s outlook on attracting and retaining talent.

What kind of culture do we have?

The term culture is used to describe all work environments. It is essential to make a strategic, thoughtful commitment to creating and defining a culture that promotes healthy employees. What values does your company embrace? Do you prioritize billable hours or profits in your firm (either implicitly or explicitly)?

Is there a mentorship/growth opportunity available for my team?

Many leaders of law firms credit their mentors for their success. While a mentoring relationship may seem personal, it is not the same thing as having a friend counsel you. A formal mentoring program will democratize a mentor’s power and provide the most excellent value for the mentee and mentor. Sometimes having more than one mentoring is essential.

Kate Reder Sheikh, MLA, writes: “Law firms who select one partner as ‘the mentor partner’ for many of their associates miss the point. Strong mentoring relationships must be one on one.” Every young associate at Big Law should be assigned a mentor from within their department. A second one on a different team. The mentor that does the same job can guide the associate, answer legal questions and keep track of staffing issues. A mentor who is located elsewhere in the firm can be a person you can vent to. They are also a problem solver and coach for life at the firm .”

Is there an excellent work-life balance in my team?

We realized that the work-life balance was fragile in law firms long before there was a pandemic. Allowing your staff to relax, unwind, and recharge is not only a great way to keep them happy but also to allow them to return to work with renewed energy. Thomson Reuters/Georgetown Law found that only 9% of lawyers cited compensation as the thing they liked best about their firm. The people and culture of their current firm along with the work-life balance was cited by those who were more likely to remain at their current firms.

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