3 Post-Pandemic Challenges Facing Law Firms

July 27, 2022

At a glance

  • The main takeaway: Overall, the legal industry managed to stay rather resilient the last two years. However, internal disruptions from the pandemic are beginning to catch up to law firms.
  • Impact on your business: Like so many industries, law firms are now faced with fierce competition for retaining and attracting new talent.
  • Next steps: Aprio’s Professional Service Advisory team can develop a tailored approach and creative opportunities to help your company breakthrough in the race for talent.

Schedule a consultation with an Aprio Professional Service Advisory team today.

The full story:

It’s no surprise that the discussion of recruiting and retaining talent is still top of mind for nearly every industry. The pandemic set off the Great Resignation as people reevaluate their priorities and what they are willing to accept and not accept out of their careers. This is especially true for law firms.

The associate turnover rate for some law firms is exceeding 25%, according to Thomson Reuters Institute’s 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market. While law firms have remained overall resilient in terms of their client base, the industry faces growing challenges in retaining and recruiting top talent. Fortunately, there are solutions to help your law firm breakthrough the competition for talent.

Burnout is no joke

Yes, working from home has its perks. For one, you can’t beat the commute, especially with the recent surge in gas prices. However, sometimes there is no “off switch” and the line between work and home can become blurred after working remotely for long periods of time. Prior to the pandemic, leaving the office and heading home was that “off switch” many employees needed to officially end their workday.

Employers are towing a delicate line as to how they should approach the subject of returning to the office. The once exciting benefit of working remotely has become a sensitive topic that is attracting mixed emotions from employees, which makes it hard for employers to come to an effective decision. For some, they miss the comradery and collaboration that comes with being in the office and they look forward to heading back. However, for others, they may not be willing to give up the convenience and newfound “free time” to sit in traffic to and from the office. So, what’s the solution? It starts with giving each employee the autonomy to make the decision that best suits them. If you take away their choice to choose, you run the risk of your employees leaving. Additionally, consider enhancing up your benefits by offering well-being programs, summer hours and life coaching sessions for employees.

Career development must be intentional.

A smart company continuously invests in their employees. With most of the corporate world still working remotely, it’s not always easy to virtually replicate the casual “stopping by your desk” to check in with employees and see how things are really going. Yes, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have come in handy, but they are not without limitations.

For law firms, it has become apparent that face-to-face interaction was highly beneficial for training, especially for junior staff members who are missing out on spontaneous training opportunities that used to come naturally with working in the office. So, how can you work around this? Consider creating a buddy program to pair junior talent with seasoned employees for virtual job shadowing, invite junior talent on calls and to in-person meetings to listen and learn and create chat channels via Teams. Additionally, take it a step further and organize social, in-person team building events for employees who are interested in attending.

The right technology makes all the difference.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom have dominated the market helping companies overcome challenges transitioning to remote work during the pandemic. While these platforms have enhanced the work-from-home life and geographical reach, the need for confidentiality and privacy is an important aspect for law firms.

Not every company uses the same integrated platform, which can cause issues since it’s common for multiple firms to work together on depositions and arbitrations. In an ideal world there would be a single platform specifically for law firms that could meet all the collaboration needs from private one-on-one client breakout calls to transaction deals between multiple firms. For now, establishing best practices (i.e., everyone automatically muted) for managing hybrid and collaborative meetings will help the things run smoothly and protect all parties involved. Technology issues can be frustrating not only for clients, but employees. Getting the right technology allows your employees to work more productively and efficiently.

The bottom line

Law firms of all sizes are feeling the pressure to retain and attract top talent in a fiercely competitive market. As employees reevaluate their work/life priorities, law firms need to be laser-focused on breaking through the competition to stay in the game. Aprio’s Professional Service Advisory team can develop a tailored approach and creative opportunities to help you build your team.

Schedule a consultation with an Aprio Professional Service Advisory team today.

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