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Law firms identify recruitment as their biggest challenge for the year ahead

08/06/2017
Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Sourcing legal talent has always been a concern for law firms, however according to the Law Consultancy Network, recruitment and retention is the single biggest challenge facing law firms over the next twelve months.

The survey, which was produced in partnership with the Law Gazette, found that 50% of law firms identify recruitment and retention as one of the top three challenges facing them in 2017. Cash flow was the second most cited challenge, with 21% of all firms surveyed indicting this would be a challenge over the next year. Respondents also highlighted improving profitability, succession planning and growth as key concerns for the New Year.

Commenting on the findings Andrew Otterburn, Partner at Otterburn Legal Consulting and member of the Law Consultancy Network said, “It is interesting to see that once again the key issue is recruitment and retention of staff – the key issue for most firms over the last two or three years. Cashflow and profitability is also a major issue, and many firms are vulnerable to any slowdown in property, which has boosted income in recent years. It is important that firms build a reasonably strong cash position now, in advance of any potential slowdown.”

Somewhat surprisingly, political uncertainty was only the third most cited option, with just 18% of respondents indicating that it is one of their top three strategic concerns for the next year. However, it is clear that Brexit remains a long term concern for most law firms, with 74% of respondents indicating they are either ‘slightly’ or ‘very’ concerned about the impact Brexit could potentially have. Just one in four respondents claim that they aren’t concerned about the effect of Brexit on their business.

Two thirds of respondents had considered the possibility of a merger in the last six months, the highest figure recorded since the second half of 2014. Firms are also more optimistic about the potential of a merger taking place, with the number of approaches made or received up from 42 in the previous half to 47 in the latter half of 2016.

It’s unsurprising that recruitment and retention of top legal talent is a key concern for law firms. As the legal market becomes increasingly crowded, legal employers need to ensure they are able to create effective talent pipelines and prevent leading lawyers from moving to other firms, after all their profitability depends on the hard work of their partners and associates.

What are the key concerns for your law firm in 2018?

Read out blog for our 8 steps to successfully recruiting legal talent.

To discuss your recruitment needs with one of our experts, call the office on 01772 259121 or email enquiries@clayton-legal.co.uk or Register a Vacancy directly online.