Midsize law firm leaders speak up on attracting talent, employee retention, and planning for succession

Midsize law firm leaders speak up on attracting talent, employee retention, and planning for succession

On April 3rd, Thomson Reuters hosted an informal breakfast panel discussion for mid-size law firms to share and discuss practical consideration of succession planning, attracting and retaining talent, and how to differentiate from the competition. Our featured diverse panel of legal professionals included;



Neil Guthrie

Neil Guthrie

Director of Professional Development,

Research & Knowledge Management

Aird & Berlis LLP

Amir Torabi

Amir Torabi

Associate

Wildeboer Dellelce LLP

Christl Mittendorfer

Christl Mittendorfer

Chief Operating Officer

Ricketts Harris LLP

Kathleen Killin

Panel Moderator

Kathleen Killin
Legal Automation Consultant

Thomson Reuters



Thanks to our active panel and a well-curated mix of hot topics, the conversation had no trouble kicking off. So what, you may wonder, are the issues and positions that are top of mind for mid-size law firm leaders like these? We’ve captured some of the most active topics and insightful observations that came out of the discussion below.

 

Recruiting talent from large law firms

 

Those on the panel who have had success in this area mentioned hiring associates from larger firms as well as non-traditional markets and smaller cities for lateral recruitment. One reason a mid-size firm would be more attractive to top talent is the greater opportunity for associates to immediately contribute to the firm as well as exposure to emerging markets at the ground level such as cannabis and e-sports.

 

Beyond that, one of the biggest selling points noted by the panel was offering a more agile, collaborative and flexible workplace. Many firms taking part in the event mentioned the value of having policies in place that promote a more balanced lifestyle.

 

Associates in mid law firms are given a window into the business of law

 

Amir Torabi shared how quarterly partner-driven meetings can make a difference for associates. These sessions give associates visibility into the mechanics of running a law firm. By giving them a chance to review financials, business development and succession planning strategies, associates become more valuable to the health of their firms in the future, and identify where they can add value in the near-term.

 

There is a shift in the kind of skill sets firms are looking for

 

When it comes to attracting talent, the classics still matter. For example, a good educational record is important. But modern skills like aptitude for technology and an entrepreneurial spirit make a difference as well. Also mentioned, knowledge and passion in certain emerging areas (like blockchain, for example) are gaining more importance in the hiring process particularly if these are areas of interest for the firm.

 

Technology influence continues to grow

 

Unsurprisingly, technologies that increase efficiency, collaboration and support of a flexible working style are imperative to support mid-size firms’ lower fees and flexible rate structures. Advancements in legal technology continues to affect the value and efficiency of law firms. What’s noteworthy, however, is the role this and similar technologies plays in attracting start-ups and young businesses from emerging industries. These potential clients are often technologically sophisticated themselves and demand certain features competencies from the law firms they work with.

 

Looking across all of these observations, a single theme comes to light: Law firms that succeed cannot be looking backwards. Advances in technology, trends and expectations of associates and the need for conscientious future planning were all apparent to our panel.  With such an active discussion and a variety of issues to explore we are looking to follow up the event with more continued education events, webinars and initiatives.

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