As the pandemic continues to cause business uncertainty across all sectors, law firms and barristers’ chambers are battling with how to effectively recruit, train and support new legal professionals through a hybrid working model and new working practices.
Post-COVID, it’s predicted that the legal industry will continue to see a trend in hybrid working. 86% of UK legal professionals claimed that they wanted to keep some level of remote working and flexible workdays.
It is therefore vital that the balance for employees and law firms is right to effectively manage clients & services from anywhere, at any time and retain legal talent through a supportive approach.
In this article, we discuss the impact on recruitment, hiring and new legal professionals in a hybrid world and how technology can help to protect your legal firm from losing valuable members of the team and increased costs.
Retaining and attracting new talent in the legal profession
Along with promotions, many legal employees have spent the pandemic considering how they wish their careers to pan out, and whether the flexibility of a remote working position is more important to them than a high salary or status within the company. Such strength of feeling has prompted ‘The Great Resignation’, which has been hugely disruptive for the legal sector.
When it comes to retaining talent, technology will continue to play a vital part in achieving a work-life balance and flexibility for employees with the use of virtual collaboration tools helping to streamline workloads and enable staff to feel connected as part of a team, even when they are not in the office. Access to files, services and tools is a must to ensure employees have everything they require, regardless of location and hours.
For recruitment, law firms and chambers are no longer limited to a geographical proximity. Your legal firm can scale up or down to suit your business needs. This can open up the potential to hire excellent candidates from further afield or even different time zones – if you’re willing to let them work from home. However, law firms and chambers need an agile recruitment process that is digitally efficient, with smart onboarding tools for the virtual environment. Technology can streamline the recruitment process and make it more cost effective through the use of tools such as video conferencing, interviewing online and digital HR platforms to track performance.
Supporting trainees and new starters
According to Legal Cheek, many trainee solicitors are anxious about the idea of staying at home, which means it’s vital that the right support is available to retain talent and avoid wasted costs.
Trainee or junior lawyers who would typically spend time shadowing partners, listening in on calls and enjoying lunch with senior team members in the workplace are experiencing a disconnect when trying to learn ‘on the job’ at home.
However, remote supervision can be carried out using regular phone and video calls using a secure and reliable connection. Channels for feedback, supervisory meetings and regular catch ups should be maintained at all times to ensure any issue is dealt with promptly.
Remote training opportunities
Legal firms must ensure a support network is in place without neglecting vital 1 on 1 training with senior members of the team while ensuring younger employees have the appropriate equipment and working space for remote working.
Shared screen feedback and 1-2-1 virtual chats are essential in helping employees develop and build confidence. Conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom allows workforces to virtually meet on any desktop, mobile or tablet device. Meetings are automatically synced to calendars that everybody can see.
Creating a diverse and inclusive hybrid working environment
It can be much harder to stand out and progress your career to be considered for promotion when you’re not visible to senior fee-earners. As well as trainees working from home who may not have had a chance to impress on a face-to-face level, there are also concerns that females and those with disabilities will be disadvantaged by hybrid working.
Recent research suggests that 69% of lawyers who are also mothers would like to work from home at least once a week, in comparison with 59% of fathers.
Law firms need to be mindful of how they approach growth opportunities and their own selection policies for promotion when weighing up team members who are physically present in the office, vs those who are just as productive at home.
The future of hybrid working for legal firms
By adopting long-term hybrid working practices for both remote workers and office workers, law firms can boost productivity and employee retention while attracting new talent. Listening to your current employees is vital to ensure you are investing in areas that encourage growth and retention within the business.
CTS can assist your legal practice by designing IT solutions to meet the specific needs of your firm. Contact us today or call 0345 872 4400 to explore how your company can meet its full potential in a hybrid world.