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Building Leadership Skills in Your Law Firm

The last few years have been challenging for the legal sector. Dealing with the fall out of the pandemic, increased workload, and the impact of overworking on employees’ wellbeing means that many firms also now need to uplevel their leadership skills alongside recruiting new lawyers into their team to lead their firm moving forward.

In turbulent times, everyone looks to great leaders for guidance. Leadership resonates throughout a business, and the quality of your leadership can be the difference between your firm’s ultimate success or failure.

Good leaders exhibit specific traits which allow them to inspire, motivate, engage, and boost the productivity of their legal team.

Today’s post shares five key leadership skills for today’s legal workplace to develop in your team and those to look out for as you recruit.

The Ability to Set Goals Based on a Vision

Great leaders have a vision. All successful law firms were started because the founder had a vision of what they could create.

As you build your legal team at every level, remember that employees often join firms because of the vision and direction shared during the interview, as well as fair pay and conditions, and the opportunity to work with great clients. Unequivocally, elements such as this should be communicated as part of the hiring process.

Innovating and reacting to change is part of a law firm’s growth and is necessary for development. So, it’s vital to deploy your strategy to manage challenges while considering that you need a solid business plan that indicates where you are adjusting and setting relevant goals.

Effective legal leaders ensure everyone is on board with the strategic plan and its ultimate objective – alignment across the firm will be key to success.

Greater leaders can tap into team creativity, developing a sense of purpose that develops an inspired team.

Setting goals in a S.M.A.R.T.  way can also increase performance – specific objectives that are challenging yet achievable are more likely to inspire your team and give them something to work towards collaboratively.

Clear Communication Skills

Part of sharing the vision is the ability to communicate both authentically and with authority.

Law firm leaders must develop the ability to communicate with people at every level, from a stressed-out client to every member of their wider legal team.

Effective leaders must be able to express ideas and information to the people they want to lead.

Successful communication also involves clarity of message, which happens when leaders ditch the jargon and listen to what is important to their team.

As human beings, before we mentally agree to follow someone, we need to feel listened to by our leaders.

Decision-Making Ability

It is easy to assume that everyone in the legal profession has good judgement alongside the ability to make decisions. This occurs as lawyers handle complex caseloads, though not always when addressing challenges in the team or performance managing a difficult employee.

Lawyers are generally confident individuals by nature. However, making decisions in a team setting isn’t always as black and white as it might first appear, as highlighted by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning professor who developed prospect theory which shifted opinions on decision making.

To make a good decision, you need to understand how different choices change the likelihood of various outcomes and how desirable each of those outcomes is. In other words, decision making requires both prediction and judgment.

Focus on listening and gathering data from your team as you would for any case you are handling, and you will notice how your decision-making ability improves.

Create a Learning and Development Culture

Here at Clayton Legal, we often ask candidates applying for roles whether the law firm hiring has a development culture and one where the team is encouraged to grow and develop. A stronger leader will make this part of the plan for their firm.

With advancements in digital platforms, online learning is easy to implement alongside more formal events in your firm.

Create a training program for your law firm’s team that allows them to engage at their own pace and with topics that interest them personally. These topics should be largely focused on the team member’s speciality and what your firm needs from them, but it’s also valuable to offer the opportunity to learn about areas outside of their speciality.

Being Accountable

Being accountable for both actions and results is the hallmark of a great legal recruit. This is even more vital when we consider the approach of our legal leaders.

Leadership accountability in your law firm is an essential component of a healthy culture. But what is an accountable leader, and how do they drive business results?

Being accountable suggests that leaders are ultimately responsible for outputs, which is true.
There are multiple layers of accountability, including business performance, company culture, client experience, and the legal workforce itself.

For leaders to be accountable, they need to be committed to the business and its people. They must take their role as people leaders seriously, building trust among team members. Accountable leaders clearly communicate their goals and objectives to their teams to foster alignment and team focus. They accept responsibility when things go wrong and give credit for success where it’s due.

What Next?

The legal sector experienced increased growth last year. Many firms are looking for new legal leaders and hires for their teams. This is where Clayton Legal can help. For a conversation about your legal talent growth plan, do not hesitate to contact one of our team.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Standing Out on Social To Attract The Legal Talent You Want

Love it or loathe it, social media continues to have a major impact on the world, from breaking news to building businesses.

During the first part of 2020, the number of people using social media hit an all-time high. We all clambered for connection and collaboration to understand what was going on in the world and how this might impact our professional and personal lives.

Data from Statistic, the number one global business data platform, reveals how many people use social media currently in 2022.

Social Media Stats That Might Shock You

I am writing this post in May 2022, so the figure for most channels will have increased depending on when you read this.

With roughly 2.91 billion monthly active users as of the fourth quarter of 2021, Facebook is the most used online social network worldwide. There are approximately 42 million U.K. Facebook users.

With the U.K. population being around sixty-seven million, over 75% of the U.K. have a Facebook account.

Instagram has 1.1 billion users worldwide, with approximately 31 million of these residing in the U.K.

LinkedIn has 810 million global members. In March 2022, LinkedIn had over 33 million users in the United Kingdom, of which 56.5 per cent were aged between 25 and 34 years old. Overall, 23.5 per cent of users were aged between 35 to 54 years old.

Twitter is losing popularity, although there are still over 200 million users globally with just over 18 million active accounts here in the U.K. It remains to be seen what the impact of Elon Musk’s recent interest will be.

The latest social platform everyone is talking about, TikTok, has over a billion users, though only 8.9 million registered U.K. accounts as of January this year.

The term ‘social’ is general and covers multiple channels.

So, if you consider the likes of YouTube, with over 2.6 billion users and podcast listeners growing exponentially and predicted to hit 120 million listeners this year, I suspect the volume of users you could access with your business and talent attraction messages may have surprised you.

Many law firms invest in marketing and business development, and I am sure your legal marketers understand how pivotal social media is as you build brand awareness. Alongside a Google search, social channels are often the first place a prospective client can find you and get a sense of whether you are the law firm to work with.

You only need to look at your own behaviours as you search for a supplier. I suspect you will check them out online first before engaging with them.

Here is the thing; this is exactly what legal candidates do before they agree for us to send their CV across. They want to know if you are the law firm that ticks all their boxes.

No matter your personal opinion of social media, the multiple channels we all have access to can enable law firms across the U.K. to control the narrative of their brand to impact their business growth, AND in relation to talent attraction, highlight your law firm as the one to join.

Let us explore how you might do this.

Understand What Legal Talent Wants

Here at Clayton Legal, we have placed over 5,000+ legal professionals during the last twenty-three years, and every day across our team, we are in consultation with hundreds of candidates who share what they now want in their legal roles.

The best legal talent knows their worth more than ever and are looking for a position that challenges them yet also where they are part of an inclusive culture and have great clients to work with while having the ability to reclaim balance in their lives.

Knowing what legal candidates are looking for, how are you communicating ‘why you’ across your social channels?

Picking Your Channels

Earlier in the post, I shared all of the current main social channels worth considering as you build the conversation about your law firm.

Legal talent and clients can potentially find you anywhere; therefore, make sure you have claimed and are using all the channels I have mentioned. A quick Google search of the U.K.s top law firms reveals they have a presence across the board on social media.

Because of the volume of users of social having a presence will also improve your visibility on the search engines. Clifford Chance is a well-recognised and respected firm that dominates page one of Google with its LinkedIn, Youtube and Twitter channels.

Build a Content Plan and Use Multi-Media

LinkedIn is a natural vehicle to build your profile. The current platform allows you to have a company page, a newsletter, and personal profiles for every team member.

Your company page is easy to follow and allows you to share the level of clients you work with and your firm’s culture.

Share your CSR activities and celebrate the team and what they are achieving consistently.

And if your partner’s profiles are not communication channels for your law firm, they need to be. As we all know, the legal market is a tight-knit community, and your firm’s leading lights can be a magnet that attracts the level of candidates you want.

As an experienced legal recruiter, we can find the top talent you want though confirming you are the firm to join needs your input.

Video, photographs, podcasts, and content can be huge convincers of what it could be like to join your legal family; therefore, communicating consistently is key.

Social media is the ideal platform to communicate your employer value proposition; we wrote an article last month on how to re-energise your legal employer brand that you can access here.

Remember that all social channels are free to join; however, you can advertise inexpensively on all major platforms.

The acceleration of the capability of A.I. means that you can increase the reach of your impact to clearly defined audiences across the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Your Recruitment Partner Can Help

When it comes to understanding what legal candidates want and how to communicate this out into the market, we can help. We have detailed knowledge about what is important and key now; therefore, we can help you navigate the process and create your plan.

Because of our time and connections in the market, we can find the talent you want; however, your input is needed as you demonstrate what a career move could be like when they choose you.

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth last year, the legal sector was not one of them. Therefore, it is vital to stand out in your market more than ever. For a conversation about your legal talent growth plan, do not hesitate to contact one of our team here.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Why Does Your Legal Firm Need an Employer Branding Strategy?

  • June 15, 2019

What is Employer Branding?

First coined in the early 1990s, Employer Branding has become widely adopted across global management, gaining momentum as the preferred way businesses differentiate themselves in the marketplace to attract the best talent. Employer Branding focuses on your legal firm’s reputation as a place to work, the value proposition of its employees, and company culture.

Put simply, it is the essence that, according to LinkedIn, ‘lives and breathes in the minds and hearts of your former, current, and future employees’.

Why Do You Need to Build an Employer Brand?

All employers have an employer brand, whether they are aware of it or not. The trick is to control your employer brand and ensure you are creating a strong presence, establishing credibility in the legal arena. It’s a useful tool to have, helping you showcase your brand and attract the best legal talent to work for you. Without it, recruiting can become challenging, especially in candidate short practice areas such as commercial and property law, to name just a couple.

You want to attract and hire the best legal talent to drive your practice forward, and so it’s crucial to have not only a great salary offer but added benefits such as career development opportunities and an inclusive culture to attract people to want to work for you. This will build your reputation and encourage staff retention, saving you time and money in the long run.

Improving Your Legal Brand – Key Steps

Define your message with your tone of voice. Consistency is imperative across all marketing from your website to correspondence, advertising to individual conversations. It should reflect your status and your role as a professional legal practice.

Be clear on company culture. The culture your workplace offers will make or break the hiring and retention of great legal staff. More and more, Millennials hitting the workplace now are looking for more than a good salary offer; they are attracted by company culture.

A recent Deloitte report states that 83% of Millennials become actively engaged in a job hunt if they believe the organisation fosters an inclusive culture experience. Also high on the list are career development opportunities, teamwork, a good work/life balance, and a cooperative and supportive environment.

Understand the perception of your brand. How do others see your firm? Are you maintaining your firms branding across online platforms? As these are often the first point of call for candidates (and your competitors) its essential to present a streamlined and consistent approach. Consider whether your brand reflects your aims, facilitates awareness and encourages brand loyalty.

Don’t underestimate Word of Mouth. Brand advocacy can influence how people perceive you. Getting the thumbs up from your employees is the icing on the cake. We live in a world where employees past and present can review their opinions on what it’s like to work for you online. What would your employees say about you? From the Receptionist or Paralegal, to a Legal Analyst or Senior Partner, it’s crucial to ensure that everyone is a brand ambassador, helping to positively build the firm.

It’s a fact that more people trust a recommendation from friend or colleagues than general marketing and advertising claims – peers, friends and acquaintances can tell you about their first-hand experience of a legal firm, so make sure yours is a great experience.

Move with the times. Technology can streamline your operations, ensuring a good experience for candidates and clients alike. It can save you time and money, and help build your brand as a positive experience. It also shows that you are quick to embrace progress and receptive to new ideas, planting a subconscious seed in the candidate’s mind that you are a progressive legal firm with their eye on the future.

Communicate like a real person. Let candidates see your human side. Profiles of the team including Heads of Practice and Senior Partners, and engaging testimonials from satisfied clients, will help attract talent that’s a good fit for your legal firm. Use social media to connect and showcase your brand to your target talent.

How Do You Know It’s Working?

It can be problematic to measure employer branding awareness. However, a drip feed method of communication using the brand does result in better brand recall. It can also heavily influence an
in-demand Senior Commercial Litigator’s decision to join your firm or your competitors.

There are several ways to measure employer brand awareness ROI, including traditional surveys and analytics. Conducted face to face, by email, or on your website, surveys are one of the easiest ways to check your employer branding is working, simply by asking your clients and candidates.

Analytics can measure blog shares (like this one!), an increase in social media engagement, external links, higher footfall to your website and improved online ranking via refined SEO. For more information on how to track these, see here.

The good news is that a few fundamental steps like these can improve your employer brand and help you attract, recruit and retain great legal employees who will want to stay with your firm. If you’ve found this advice helpful and would like to talk more about developing your strategies to recruit better candidates, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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How To Build Your Legal Talent Pipeline This Year

  • February 25, 2019

How to build a talent pipeline for your legal practice is a question many of our consultants are asked.

Logical when you consider that developing your team and the talent within your organisation will be key to your growth this year.

What Is A Talent Pipeline?

Contrary to what you might expect to read on a legal recruitment website, building a talent pipeline involves developing your current employees in addition to recruiting legal talent to ‘plug’ skill or experience gaps or fill your expansion needs.

Both will be critical for your success.

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Business Strategy

The first question to inform your talent pipeline is focused on your current business growth strategy.

Are you planning to move into a new geography or perhaps offer a different aspect of your service?

You might have focused on business services such as property or corporate and commercial law and now want to expand into home and family; perhaps even consider wealth management.

The question is, do you have the capability in these areas currently or do you need to bring in a director or consultant to build a new vertical and/or develop new fee earners who are keen to move?

Considering these questions, how will you now plan your recruitment and within what time frame?

As a legal recruitment company with twenty years experience, we notice that many clients when they first come to us haven’t thought through their long term plan.

Remember to factor in budget and time to hire to hit your growth goals and be prepared for people leaving, which will produce gaps which need to be filled.

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Your Current Team And Their Development

In today’s current legal market and depending on the size of your firm it’s unlikely that you will be overstaffed with employees, ready, willing and able to be developed into a different role.

However, if you have a robust training and performance development process, it is more than possible that members of your current team will be able to move into different roles. Depending on your timelines it may be viable that some members of staff can develop to fill your growth gaps over the next one to three years.

Remember in today’s workplace; Millennials rule and are increasing in numbers across the globe. Something they deem key in their work is the opportunity to be developed. Therefore factor this into your talent development strategy and your future recruitment plans too.

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Your Employer Brand

We have recently carried out research with candidates on why they choose to work with certain clients and not others.

Employer branding, culture and approach were giving as three influencing factors. One candidate even shared a story how after she came out of the interview she had been overwhelmed, in a positive way, by the  ‘feel’ of the organisation and their approach and was ‘keeping everything crossed’ that they made her an offer.

This isn’t an uncommon story, and the impact of your employer brand is more critical than ever. If you would like to know more about this important strategy we have written a complimentary report which you can download here.

A strong employer brand showcases the values and company culture in your organisation – all essential for attracting talent to your legal organisation and engaging your current staff.

More than 59% of managers say that branding is one of the critical components of their HR strategy.

While there are many different definitions for “employer branding” depending on whom you ask, they all mostly say the same thing. Your brand is the way that ‘potential new legal team members’ in the business world perceive you, and your opportunity to showcase what makes you unique.

Otherwise known as an “Employer Value Proposition”, your brand can help both you and your legal recruitment partner truly attract talent to your organisation while ensuring that you fill your team full of people who share the same values.

For more insight into Employer Value Propositions click here to understand how they can help give you stand out when recruiting in competitive markets, particularly post-pandemic.

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Using A Specialist Legal Recruiter

The majority of clients we work with here at Clayton Legal come to us to help them build their talent pipeline because they have neither the time or connections to do the job as well as they would like.

Recruiting is our job; unlike most law firms who have to attract and work with clients, develop their fee earners and growing teams and then, as the business dictates recruit new members of the legal team.

A challenge for an already time-pressed individual.

Though it is great to recruit from within, it’s also key to bring in new ideas and perspectives from key hires who might have a different portfolio of experience and results.

Finding these individuals in a skill short market takes time.

Though we would always encourage building a network and leveraging your existing contacts and old law school connections, this doesn’t always produce the results you want.

For instance, James who you have met at various social law gatherings may have a high profile, however, might not have the detailed attributes your role description indicates is pivotal.

This is why working with an experienced recruitment company in the legal sector will make all the difference in building your talent pipeline.

Utilising all these different ideas and suggestions in your legal practice will enable you to start the process of building a strong legal talent pipeline this year.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 3,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help.
Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

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