Employee Retention Strategies for Law Firms

Experienced IT leaders know that skilled technology professionals are hard to find. And these days, they’re hard to keep. A recent study conducted by Microsoft indicated that more than 40% of workers worldwide said they are considering quitting their job or changing their profession. However, in today’s market tech employees have never had more opportunities to advance their skills online and work remotely. With significant IT turnover and a growing reliance on legal technology, firms’ efforts to grow and modernize may lag if they aren’t able to attract or retain staff to meet their needs.

Reasons for turnover are varied, but one common motive expressed by legal professionals pursuing new roles is the constraints of law firms’ traditional work environments. Many tech professionals prefer modern, flexible work environments. They crave innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Law firms and legal departments shouldn’t change the way they do business or overhaul internal processes, but a few thoughtful shifts can create significant improvements. Consider the following approaches to retain top legal talent.  

Encourage Learning and Skills Development

Retention strategies should include continued training and skill development opportunities. Tech talent are more inclined to stay at a company or firm that invests in their skills. Subsequently, by offering trainings and other regular learning opportunities, team members will feel valued and job satisfaction will increase. Boosting tech team’s understanding of advancements in technology also gives firms a competitive edge. Team members should be encouraged to learn new skills to prepare them for changes that innovation inevitably brings.

Update Hardware and Software

The legal industry is notorious for slowly adopting new technology. However, outdated technology is frustrating for everyone and may even prevent tech talent from taking a job at a firm that doesn’t value innovation. Choosing the latest and most favorable tools, programs and systems at the firm or company provides an added incentive for top talent to stick around. Additionally, beyond employee retention, updated technology also fosters productivity, security and increased billable hours. It’s a win-win.

Recognize and Reward Tech Teams

IT personnel often remain behind the scenes at law firms and in legal departments. They support the legal work and are an integral part of daily operations, but still may be easily overlooked at the close of a case or other matter. Publicly recognizing employees for a job well done has a direct impact on happiness, which has a direct impact on retention. Remember to recognize and reward tech employees for their work. 

Offer Flexibility

The pandemic proved that remote legal work is not only possible but also preferred by many professionals.  Much legal IT support can be provided remotely. By using cloud networks, clear processes and thorough ticketing systems, tech teams can accomplish tasks and support attorneys from anywhere. Location flexibility has become a huge benefit that job-searchers and employees actively seek from their employers. Therefore, offering remote or hybrid work-models may encourage tech talent to stay at the firm.

Outsource Extra Help to Support the Tech Department

Technology departments that need specialized help, like eDiscovery services, should enlist a legal technology service provider to help handle projects. Many outsourced technology partners can be hired on a project-by-project basis and support the expertise of firms’ in-house IT personnel. This will help relieve pressure, close skills gaps, and position the legal matter for the best chance of success.

As your firm seeks to attract and retain talented professionals, remember that high pay and benefits are not the only factors to consider. To, keep your top legal talent from looking for other opportunities, make thoughtful culture adjustments, remain open to new technology and provide additional support when necessary.

Gulam Zade is the Chief Legal Officer of Frontline Managed Services, the leading global provider of outsourced solutions to over 600 firms in the legal and accounting markets. 

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Reprinted with permission from the Saturday, August 6th issue of the Pro Mid-Market on Law.com©. 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.