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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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The Four Day Working Week: An Option For Law Firms?

The last few years have created a shift in how we work like never before. Working away from the office became the norm in 2020, with hybrid working being adopted by many last year.

New’ human centric’ ways of working have been a topic of conversation for some time. Iceland was one of the first counties in the world to trial the four-day week between 2015 and 2019.

This took place in trials run by the Reykjavík City Council in Iceland, between 2015 and 2019 to move workers to four-day weeks. Over 2,500 workers were involved across multiple industries.

The trial reports revealed less stressed workers and a lower level of burnout.

Many employees moved from a forty-hour week to thirty-five hours, working longer on the days they did work. Iceland’s working patterns are overseen by a significant union presence who have negotiated different working patterns for over 85% of the population.

Similar trials are now being held in various counties worldwide, including the U.K.

The U.K. Uptake of a Four Day Week

The four-day working week campaign started in earnest as this year began. The Guardian shared that several U.K. companies had signed up to a six-month trial to work a four-day week.

Other companies, including several law firms, have spontaneously changed their working hours.

The organisations in question spread across many sectors, training, telecoms, software, video games producers and medical imaging. All are moving from a forty-hour working week to thirty-two hours without loss of pay.

Academics will facilitate the trial at Oxford and Cambridge plus Boston College in the U.S. and the think tank ‘Autonomy’. The campaign group, 4 Day Week Global, oversees the research project.

Companies taking part in the U.K. study vary from twenty to over a hundred staff.

Let’s explore the rationale behind this move and discuss if this truly is an option for busy law firms across the U.K.

The Evidence For a Four Day Working Week

The four-day campaign cites many reasons why working four days is beneficial for all, and I’ll share them in a second.

However, surprisingly the campaigners haven’t shared that historically our ancestors didn’t work very hard at all. Before capitalism hit the world, we had a lot of leisure time, though, to be honest, not a lot of money!

Daylight drove our working hours alongside regular breaks and, drum roll, an afternoon nap. If you want to read more on this subject, look at this fascinating report on working hours from MIT.

Coming back to today, the four-day campaigners cite many logical reasons to shift the way we work in the U.K., not least the fact that we work longer hours than most of Europe.

In light of what has happened with remote and flexible working, is it time for a review?

The five-day working week was developed over a century ago here in the U.K. when John Boot was the chair of the Boots corporation.

He demonstrated that two days off each week reduced absenteeism and positively affected productivity. Therefore, the weekend became official Boots policy in 1934; maybe as we approach the 90th anniversary of this change, it is time to shift again.

Both employers and employees can experience the benefits of a shorter week.

We all get a better work-life balance. The four-day week can give us time to live happier, more fulfilled lives and allow for those non-work parts of life that often are neglected.

For example, spending time with friends and family, on fitness pursuits or time in nature.

Then, of course, there’s always that life admin that we all have to deal with, like; shopping, cleaning, sorting out the bank, along with the many parenting duties we can experience.

As an employer looks out for higher performance and profits, trials have demonstrated that a shorter working week can increase productivity. A Henley Business School study pre the pandemic found that 250 firms participating in a four-day week saved an estimated £92 billion a year because their employees were happier, less stressed, and took fewer sick days.

Our economy could benefit too, which is undoubtedly needed. Incredibly, the U.K. suffers simultaneously from overwork, unemployment, and underemployment. A four-day week could be an intuitively simple way to rebalance the economy and address many problems.

Productivity is a concern for many. Google how to improve productivity as a critical business driver, and you will find multiple research papers that reveal that working less could be the answer to achieving more.

The Four Day Working Week and Law Firms

We are currently in the grip of a skills shortage in many sectors, especially when it comes to finding legal talent.

We are receiving more role instructions than ever at Clayton legal, and many firms we work with are reviewing their EVP to make their role offer irresistible. If you want to attract dynamic lawyers, could a four-day week work?

A recent post in The Times also suggested that firms keen to embrace flexible working might even be persuaded to abandon the billable hour.

In a post on Legalfutures, the CEO of one law firm in Kent revealed that his 22 strong team had started working a four-day week at the end of 2020, except two customer service staff who worked Friday and took Monday off.

His underlying premise of the four-day week was that productivity gains could be found by reducing or eliminating unproductive time in the traditional five-day week.

He gave as examples “unproductive meetings”, meetings with “too many people who did not need to be there”, unnecessary social conversations or staff spending time sending personal messages or on social media.

All logical observations considering a U.K. study in 2018 had found that up to 40% of workers’ time in a traditional working week was unproductive.

Admittedly moving to a trial of a four-day week would also mean additional work for your firm, at least initially, as you outline the process, including delivering billable hours, customer service and other vital business drivers.

However, it is clear that the world of work is changing for all professional service sectors, including law. The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated changes into where individuals work – is it time to review how, when and how often?

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.

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Posted By

Laura Lissett

Marketing Consultant

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A Guide to DEI and Your Law Firm

  • February 2, 2022

Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is a priority for employers in every sector today and is a key part of good people management where everyone is valued in an organisation.

The Black Lives Matter movement, the George Floyd tragedy in 2020, and the terrible treatment of three England football team members during the Euros have been pivotal in highlighting how far away we are from being a fair society for all.

From a work context, this is even more disappointing when the data from multiple sources confirm that diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforces drive better business outcomes. Yet, despite a significant focus on DEI in the workforce, some law firms still have work to do.

In today’s post, I want to share some fundamentals of DEI and how this may impact your law firm moving forward.

DEI Definitions and U.K. Legislation

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a term used to describe policies and programmes that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures, and sexual orientation.

As I prepared to write this article, I came across an excellent way to describe DEI from the Chief Diversity officer at the University of Michigan, Robert Sellers.

  • Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party
  • Inclusion means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist
  • Equity means that everyone has the opportunity to dance

This metaphor by Robert is a way for us to understand that the DEI policy we have for our organisation must work in practice. For example, there is no point in employing female lawyers if they are never invited onto the board, which is the same for every minority group.

The CIPD confirms that while U.K. legislation sets minimum standards overlaying disability, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation, among others – an effective DEI strategy goes further than being legally compliant. DEI implementation benefits employee wellbeing and engagement while adding increased value to an organisation.

DEI and Business Growth

McKinsey have produced several research reports on the business case for diversity since 2014. The latest published report confirms that the case remains strong, and also, the connection between diversity on executive teams and financial outperformance has strengthened over time.

There is a strong business case for gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in leadership teams. The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.

“Companies with more than 30 per cent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn, these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives or none at all.”

Good news about what is possible with support and focus, though the challenging times since March 2020 have impacted diverse groups.

A McKinsey study late last year found that diverse team members have struggled the most during COVID-19 and a lack of awareness around diversity, equity and inclusion issues negatively affect employees right now.

The pandemic has challenged the nature of work, job roles, organisational culture, and business strategy, and from this shake-up, we can carve a new path towards increased success in DEI.

The data confirmed that diverse teams achieve more. Therefore, it is logical to assume that law firms want to attract diverse talent in a competitive business environment.

Interestingly our changing workforce increasingly wants to join teams that embrace diversity. A post last year on the LinkedIn talent blog revealed that employers that posted more about diversity received 26% more applications from women.

This data backs up The Psychological contract concept that first emerged in the 1960s related to our beliefs and expectations of our employers, confirming that employees want to work for employers with good practices where they also feel valued.

Developing Your DEI Strategy

So, where do you start when it comes to developing a DEI strategy for your law firm? Taking a sense check on your current practice is always a good idea, especially in light of remote and hybrid teams.

The is a well-versed quote from the personal development world that what you focus on grows. The converse is true.

Perhaps the last couple of years have meant DEI, and its implementation has taken a back seat in your firm.

Maybe comments go unchecked on Zoom meetings, and your talent strategy and DEI hasn’t been discussed yet with your legal recruiting partner.

As recommended by Stephen Covey, start with the end in mind. Assess your current state and where your desired state will be.

Your overall strategy needs to cover: behaviours in your ‘workplace’, whether that be remote or hybrid working; communication, both the what and the how; your L & D process and finally, how you will review your progress as you reinforce that your firm is the inclusive place to develop your legal career.

Remember that this process will take time, and a diverse team needs an inclusive environment to thrive in your overall strategy.
DEI needs to be a theme across your organisation that aligns with other initiatives such as workplace wellbeing, investors in people and how you are developing your employer value proposition which we will cover in a future post.

Learning and Development

DEI is still a new concept for many, and consequently, we all require a deeper understanding. Start with your management team, who will be pivotal in implementing the process across your firm. Naturally, it goes without saying that ‘walking the talk’ must always start with your leadership team first.

Include diversity concepts and understanding into your induction and onboarding process and programmes. Make sure your values and policies around DEI are transparent and monitored.

Many firms are ahead of the curve and invest in external training to facilitate this process.

Behaviour in Your Firm

Once your staff are trained, they now understand how to include and engage with everyone in the team. Ensure everyone understands the desirable behaviours a diverse team exhibits and be clear about the importance of personal accountability to uphold your firm’s standards and process.

Open Communication Measure and Review

I have recently watched several stories on the news where certain individuals have felt unable to speak out about the uninclusive treatment they received in their workplace.

Don’t let this happen in your firm. Encourage and demand open communication. Develop an open culture with good communication channels.

Use your company-wide meetings, media, and newsletters to reinforce and remind how important DEI is in your firm.

Some partners we are speaking to about DEI also include DEI objectives and behaviours in their performance reviews.

Finally, consistently ask for input and feedback and act on it. Use employee surveys and your audit and benchmark your process against other firms.

What Next?

DEI strategy implementation is becoming more important and must form part of your recruitment strategy as you move forward. Clayton Legal is experienced in partnering with firms to ensure they have a diverse candidate pool to choose from.

Contact Clayton legal here if you would like support to develop your legal recruitment strategy or job search.

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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Legal Talent Attraction: Energising Your Employer Value Proposition

  • February 1, 2022

If you’ve never heard of an employer value proposition or brand before, now is the time to expand your education.

According to the CIPD, an employer value proposition is a way your law firm will differentiate itself from competitors when it comes to attracting talent.

The question is, what characteristics do you need to demonstrate to attract talent in the legal sector today?

The U.K. is currently in the grip of one of the worst skills shortages in the last twenty years. Skilled candidates are in the driving seat of their careers, and many will naturally  pick a company based on their brand presence in the market and the narrative related to how they treat their employees.

The last few years have seen talented people re-evaluate their careers and the expectations of the companies they work for. Today, employees will consider moving to get what they want, as highlighted in our recent great resignation post. That might be better pay and conditions, development opportunities and the option to work remotely, amongst other reasons.

Considering the commercial value good legal talent brings to your firm, perhaps it’s time to energise your current employer brand to attract the talent you now want to take your firm forward.

Let’s explore this more in today’s post.

Definitions: EVP versus Employer Brand

According to various sources online, employer branding became prevalent in the early 1990s. Since then, it has become a recognised term in both H.R. and recruitment circles.

An employer brand is an impression your law firm gives as a good place to progress your law career to current employees and key players in the external market. From a talent perspective, these would be active and passive candidates.

So, EVP versus employer brand, what is the connection? The CIPD reminds us that we have an employer brand whether we have consciously developed it or not.

If we were to sit around a table and talk about Wetherspoons or Uber, we would all have an opinion about their brand and how they treat their employees.

The employee value proposition for both these brands could potentially do with some work when it comes to their EVP; in other words, “why would I want to work for Uber of Wetherspoons?”.

EVP is, therefore, the conversation and communication points around why I would want to work for this brand.

Building a Stronger EVP

The topic of this post relates to energising your current EVP to attract and keep legal talent.
Fundamentally an employer value proposition is a list of specific and unique benefits an employee can expect to receive when they join your firm.

Vision, motivation, development, acceptance, a diverse and inclusive environment , benefits, pay, wellbeing, and community. The CIPD defines EVP in a simple and jargon-free way: “The value proposition describes what an organisation stands for, requires and offers as an employer.”

If your people are leaving your firm, your recruiting partner is offering feedback about your perception in the market, and your job offers are being turned down, it’s time to look at your EVP and how you are communicating ‘why you’ into the market place.

Considering the changed expectations of legal talent today, which parts of your EVP need a revamp?

If you want some ideas, look at Microsoft’s Workplace Trends Index. The report highlights an important point that over 40% of the global workforce are considering leaving their current employer for an opportunity to work remotely.

Remote work has created new job opportunities for some, offered more family time, and provided options for whether or when to commute.

Review and Redefine Your EVP

The much-used term related to talent wars is based on the current volatile market and a shortage of skilled applicants for your roles.

More now than ever, it is critical to communicate your compelling offer and make the connection in a candidate’s mind that you are the firm to join.

As a specialist recruiter to the legal sector for over twenty years, we have seen past clients struggle because they have not given their EVP the importance it deserves.

Our role is to showcase your firm to prospective candidates, but it’s not easy if your EVP isn’t an attractive offering in today’s marketplace.

So how do you become more attractive?

As a starting point, review your current state and EVP as you plan your journey.

  • What is our vision and mission; has it changed?
  • When did we last conduct an employee survey?
  • What is our purpose and ‘why’ as a law firm?
  • How engaged is our current legal team?
  • Do we have a strong leadership team to represent our brand?
  • Why would people join us, and why do they stay?
  • Do we have an attractive development culture?
  • Is our current offer relevant and on point for the talent we want today?
  • Do we have an experienced legal recruitment partner that can support our growth goals?

Create an Action Plan With Milestones and Timelines

Once you have assessed where you are, it is vital to take the necessary action. It is all too easy to procrastinate and blame what has happened and assume the current market will change; it won’t.

We are in an age of rapid innovation and digital disruption, with a workforce expecting more from their employers, including support, vision, direction, and development.

Knowing that candidates’ expectations from you, their employer are different, how will you change?

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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Hybrid, Home, and Hub Working in 2022 – What Does The Future Hold?

  • January 15, 2022

The world of work has undeniably changed during the last two years. Flexible working opportunities, including work from home, hybrid work, and hub (office) working, are rapidly becoming the new norm.

Consider this alongside the new flexible working bill revealed in June 2021, and work environments might change beyond recognition for firms across the legal sector.

The flexible working bill introduces several considerations for firms in search of talent for 2022. That means evaluating working practices for the legal industry, including if and how people return to the office.

Employers will be required to offer flexible arrangements in employment contracts and explain what work schedules are available when advertising job vacancies.

While the data suggests that employees who work in the professional and commercial sectors, such as law, can be just as efficient in a flexible working environment, the right talent growth strategies will still need to be in place to ensure a firm’s ongoing success.

Fail to provide the right working opportunities, and you could risk losing current staff while having your hiring offers rejected.
As a first start, let’s clarify the various working opportunities we are talking about here.

Defining Flexible Working Models

To ensure you’re prepared to welcome the new age of work, you’ll first need to understand what different flexible working modes entail.

    1. Homeworking

Otherwise known as remote working, home working involves allowing employees to work from home or remotely consistently in their role. This may include having video conferences with clients, fellow team members, and other departments for legal professionals.

    1. Hybrid working

Hybrid working combines home working with time in the office. It involves employees coming into the office and working remotely when their role allows.
Hybrid working has been available in many firms over the last few years, with partners working from home one day a week.
This is now changing, and even though employers and employees have enjoyed the benefits of working from home, the pandemic has also highlighted the wellbeing and connection needs of everyone. Many people find that a few days in the office helps boost their mood whilst improving collaboration.

    1. Hub working

Hub working often refers to situations where a specific legal team work together as a resource to each other to improve collaboration and communication. One partner may work in an office in Preston, the other in Carlisle and another from home on the outskirts of Leeds.
The move to flexible working is likely to see this style of approach becoming more prevalent.

For most legal companies, the hybrid working method is likely to be the preferred option for both partners and employees.

Approximately 70% of employees want flexible working options to continue, while 65% require more time with teams. In the legal sector, collaboration in-person and interactions with clients may require staff to be present in the office at least part-time.

Is the Hybrid Working Model Suitable for Legal Sector?

The rise of technology has facilitated a rapid transition to flexible working for many professional service and commercial organisations. E-signatures and contract management tools online allow a lot of the back-end work carried out by legal professionals to happen outside of the office.

Legal employees often feel comfortable working in a hybrid environment, as it allows them to split their time between the office, and the home environment, where they can have more quiet and focus. A recent Thomson Reuters survey reveals that 63% of legal professionals want to work flexible hours now, compared to only 22% pre-pandemic.

Notably, the desire for flexible work doesn’t lead to a decline in job commitment. Lawyers in the U.K. previously worked an average of 10 hours per day on weekdays and now express a desire to work up to 10.1 hours with flexible schedules.

Are There Benefits to New Working Styles?

Working from home, in a hybrid environment, or even as part of a flexible hub appears to have several benefits for today’s legal professionals. With fewer long commutes to worry about, time is saved in getting to and from the office and increased productivity has been documented consistently throughout the last two years.

On top of this, many studies are beginning to indicate hybrid and remote working can positively impact employee engagement satisfaction too.

The ability to work flexibly is something many legal job seekers have as a criterion before considering accepting an offer from a new employer. According to the Microsoft global work trends study, 40% of the worldwide workforce is now thinking about leaving their jobs in exchange for a career with more flexible options.

How to Implement New Work Styles

To ensure your firm stays ahead of the latest trends, it’s critical to start looking at flexible working options that make the most sense for your team. Consider which roles are suitable for hybrid, remote, and hub work and which might require a more traditional schedule.

Hybrid working has multiple benefits, but it can be challenging if not planned correctly. For most firms, the introduction of hybrid working will require a culture shift alongside new working methods.

We can learn lessons from working from home during the pandemic; however, hybrid working will make greater demands of managers and firms on an ongoing basis.

People working in a distributed environment can easily suffer from feelings of isolation and disengagement. There’s also the additional concern of cyber security and compliance to think about when team members are working online from multiple environments.

Employers will need to:

  • Consider their options: Look at the different working styles available and which ones are reasonably suited to your current employees.
  • Provide training: Ensure legal professionals have the tools and training they need to continue providing excellent service in a remote or hybrid environment.
  • Invest in constant optimisation: Use feedback from team members to constantly improve the hybrid or remote working strategy.

The recruiting team at Clayton Legal has been working with many law firms to adapt their talent search and job specifications in line with increased demand from job seekers for flexible working.

If you would like a conversation about how we can support your particular firm, do get in touch.

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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The Great Resignation: Are You Prepared?

  • January 12, 2022

In the last couple of years, all segments of the job market have experienced significant changes.

The first stages of the pandemic, in many sectors, resulted in a hold on recruitment. On the other side candidates decided to stay put with their current employer as economic uncertainty took its toll across the UK.

Cycle forward to today and we are looking at a different scenario.

The back pressure of employees who would normally move and the experience of more flexible working options being possible, has resulted in more employees considering a move as confirmed by a number of recent research reports by both Microsoft and Randstad.

A concern for all legal employers; First let us look at the data in more detail.

The Microsoft Work Trend Index report based on over 30,00 responses from Microsoft partners and employees revealed that 46% of respondents plan to move because they can now work remotely.

Confirmation of this move of human capital came from research revealed on a recent Randstad UK, presentation where Christine Armstrong a management consultant and bestselling author shared that 69% of employees felt confident about finding and moving to a new role within a few months.

This was based on data from a poll of over 6000 adults in the UK. The survey found that those in construction, manufacturing, tech, and logistics were among the most confident in the country where 74 % said they felt confident about moving to a new job now.

HR, legal, and accountancy professionals were among the least confident in the country although call centre workers were the least confident at 59%.

The disparity between groups is not huge and it still demonstrates that many people in our workforce are confident about moving to a new job.

Vacancies created by the pandemic, combined with new flexible working options, has created considerable new opportunities for legal professionals. Consequently, Law firms will begin to feel the pressure of the “Great Resignation” in the coming months

Let us explore a few definitions here.

 

What is the “Great Resignation”

The “Great Resignation” is the term used to refer to the increase in the number of people leaving their existing roles after the COVID pandemic.

Factors like excessive burnout during the pandemic, unhappiness with work/life balance, and the rise of new opportunities in most sectors have pushed many employees to reconsider what they now want from their careers.

The number of open jobs in the UK surpassed 1 million for the first time ever in August of 2021, and all industries face a threat. Many job seekers, according to Randstad, are not concerned about the task of actually finding a new role either as they see the number of roles available for skilled employees on multiple job boards and recruitment company websites.

Data provided by the ONS government website shares that around 9% of people changed jobs each year between 2000 and 2018; this ranged from a post-recession low of 5.7% in 2010 to a high of approximately 10.9% in 2017 and 2018.

Logically, you would expect a stall on staff movement in the preliminary stages of Covid, which is what happened; therefore, you would expect a natural upturn in people moving.

But is a mass exit predicted in the headlines simply speculation at this stage? Whilst it is arguably still too early to tell, especially with the latest developments in the ongoing pandemic, figures from ONS’s recent Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows resignations and job-to-job moves are already at their highest in 20 years based on data from quarter 3, 2021. What remains to be seen is the further impact the end of furlough had on the data moving into this final quarter although it is fair to say that the stats so far, alongside the rapid change in employment opportunities for today’s professionals, mean there is enough information available to prompt employers to sit up and take notice.

While not every law firm will necessarily see a mass exodus of staff, all firms will need to be prepared for managing a change in working preferences and expectations.

 

What Can Employers Do?

Even if the great resignation is not having an immediate impact on your firm, legal companies need to be prepared. The problems causing mass resignation in various industries are as significant for law firms as any other sector. Firms will begin to see their talented staff looking for more flexibility, support, and recognition from new employers.

The most valuable thing legal firms can do to stay ahead of the current market is to build their employer brand so that their communication out into the market highlights their culture as a caring and compassionate firm with a commitment to developing their people at their core.

In line with building a compelling brand firms need to be future focussed as they plan for the growth of their team. Though gaps and resignation can occur without warning developing an organisational talent plan can minimise these events. If you require help in developing your talent plan do get in touch as we are working with a number of firms currently on their talent plan.

Alongside working with the right legal recruitment team, law firms will also need to consider other strategies for retaining and attracting talent, such as:

  1. Extending remote work options For many employees in the legal field, the last couple of years has been clear proof the physical workplace is not a necessary ingredient of productivity. Surveys have found 39% of people would consider quitting their role if their employer wasn’t flexible with remote working. Now could be the right time for your firm to consider remote and hybrid working opportunities and how they might work for your team.
  2. Provide the right training Employers and managers need to feel empowered to work well in the existing remote landscape. Managers will need the training to ensure they are still engaging legal teams wherever they might be. Legal professionals may need assistance to use the tools crucial to their remote work practices as effectively as possible. Ongoing training and development will make your team feel like you are investing in them and their future, improving retention.
  3. Improve Workplace Wellbeing Today’s team members are less willing to remain with employers who they feel are not putting their best interests at heart. Today’s staff members are feeling increasingly overwhelmed and burned out in their legal careers. If your legal team feel overwhelmed by work and you are not giving them enough support, they are more likely to look elsewhere. Investing in tools to improve your employee’s well-being and taking their unique needs into account will be essential.

 

What’s Next for Law Firms?

Handling the potential threat of a “great resignation” in the legal industry can be a daunting prospect. Legal professionals can take a lot longer to source, recruit, and onboard than any average staff member, presenting significant problems.

The best way to deal with the great resignation is to get ahead of it as quickly as possible. Assess the sentiment of your legal team towards your culture and determine what kind of things might cause them to seek alternative employment, such as lack of flexible working opportunities or limited recognition from business leaders.

Conducting a series of “stay” interviews rather than waiting for exit interviews should allow you to understand better what is keeping your professionals around.

 

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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Virtual Legal Hiring Is Here to Stay: Are You Prepared?

  • November 24, 2021

Virtual hiring using video technology, for at least some of the recruiting process, isn’t new. Many organisations have used video screening since Skype first landed on our desktops back in 2003.

The use of video technology increased in popularity as pressure around time to recruit became a challenge, especially during the initial screening phase.

Over the last twenty years, reliable video has improved so much that many recruitment organisations, Clayton legal included, started to use video to enhance the recruiting process for both candidates and clients.

However, virtual hiring only became commonplace across multiple sectors during the Covid 19 global pandemic.

Last year according to a report by Gartner involving over 300 HR leaders, 86% of organisations conducted virtual interviews to fill their vacancies, and current evidence suggests virtual hiring is here to stay.

Now, however, the virtual hiring experience is rapidly emerging as a “new normal” for businesses and candidates.

Onrec, the respected recruitment resource website, recently shared data that revealed more than half of employers would continue to incorporate video interviews into their recruitment process.

In this workplace climate, both legal job seekers and employers are under increasing pressure to adapt or risk missing out on that potential new role or team member.

So today, let us look at the many benefits of virtual hiring and, importantly, what you need to consider to make this an effective hiring process for your firm.

 

The Multiple Benefits of the Virtual Hiring Trend

While the concept of continual virtual hiring may be daunting for some, the benefits are significant.

Virtual hiring accelerated as a needs-driven response to the pandemic, and consequently, its many benefits have become more visible; here are a few you might not have considered.

 

Visual Impact

Communication happens at many levels. Written prose is level one, and visual media is level three. The impact of hearing and watching someone speak is different to reading their CV. As human beings, our communication and effect are improved when we use our visual and auditory capabilities.

Albert Mehrabian is a psychology professor from UCLA known for his pioneering work in non-verbal communication, in other words, body language.

He identified the 7-38-55% communication rule. Fundamentally an individuals body language and communication ability has more impact than the words they are communicating. Not surprising then that video interviewing is so effective in helping you identify individuals ideal for your legal role.

 

Hiring Speed

Virtual hiring equals speed; 45% of recruiters revealed that video interviews helped speed up their process.

Video screening doesn’t need to be live video either. A candidate can record a video and send it to their recruiter for onward transmission and first screening by the hiring manager in question.

A win for everyone.

The candidate can record a video and put their best foot forward; deleting any stutters and stalls until they record a video they are happy will represent what they have to offer to their potential new firm.

At the same time, the hiring manager can watch the video when they have a gap in their diary. The initial screening interviews to create a shortlist can then take place in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. Vital timesaving for a hiring manager who is probably already juggling a high caseload.

With time to recruit as an important metric for many firms, virtual hiring suddenly makes absolute financial sense.

 

Decision Making and Carbon Footprints

Video interviewing means more people can be involved in the process from multiple locations; no more waiting around for a decision from a senior partner in London who can’t get to the interview because a court date was changed.

As I write this, many of us have been gripped by the COP26 conference in Glasgow. Yes, climate change and carbon footprints are real, and consistent actions like minimising travel will make a difference.

 

Preparing for the Virtual Hiring Revolution

Both legal professionals AND firms will also need to continue to navigate the age of virtual interviewing.

Video technology and the skill to present and interview effectively are critical.

Video tech and software have developed significantly over the last three years. The majority of the legal profession are now familiar with Zoom and M.S. teams as a medium to conduct interviews. Yet still, a challenge for many is using these applications to best effect.

Let me share a few obvious examples that are easy to forget.

Remember, someone is going to be looking at what is or isn’t behind you. Only last week, I was distracted by a member of parliament and their book collection during a BBC interview.

This should not be an issue anymore, with virtual backgrounds being freely available.

As a client, if you have a glass-walled office, remember seeing people walking past is distracting for a candidate ‘trying’ to answer your questions.

Agreeing on a standard video interviewing procedure for your team that you also share with your recruiting partner will avoid the classic mistakes we have all seen shared online.

Invest in a good camera and microphone and use them.

The connection between human beings is key in the interview process. Make sure you know exactly where the camera aperture is and look into it. It is most off-putting when you are staring down at a screen instead of into a camera, which is the same for all parties concerned.

Being good on video is a skill, and luckily one you can develop- practise does make perfect.

Every social platform allows you to upload videos. LinkedIn will allow you to upload a video straight from your phone, provided it is less than ten minutes in length.

As a hiring manager, share videos about your team, firm and culture and the good work you are doing; you will be surprised how confident you can become.

As a candidate, It is easy to profile yourself ahead of an interview by uploading a video that profiles what you have to offer an employer. The latest platform to embrace this phenomenon is Tik Tok, with younger job seekers posting their ‘Careertok’ C.V.s.

Being proficient in communicating with video isn’t only for candidates; it’s critical for your brand, too; let me explain.

 

Is Your Employer Brand Compatible With Virtual Hiring?

In an environment where much of the recruitment journey is now happening online, employer brands are more valuable than ever. Legal firms will need to ensure they have a presence on the right industry forums, social media channels, and other platforms to attract the right candidates.

It doesn’t stop there.

More than ever, in a skill short market, legal candidates choose the companies they want to work with. Fact: Your culture and flexibility could now be the deciding factor.

Earlier, we talked about communicating well with video. The question now is how can you share your culture throughout the virtual hiring process?

Having freely available culture videos on your website, as themuse shares here, demonstrate your inclusivity and work environment.

Another idea is to provide a virtual experience during, before or after the virtual interview.

What about a Zoom coffee catch up with different departments or an office walkthrough?

Technology really does make anything possible.

 

What’s Next?

The legal industry is on the verge of a virtual hiring revolution. For some time now, recruitment has been growing increasingly virtual.

Before the pandemic, the Clayton group had already begun utilising video interviewing for our client and our candidate recruitment, with great results.

We have invested in the latest video technology that provides an unparalleled recruitment process for both our legal clients and jobseekers.

Contact the Clayton Legal team today if you would like support to develop your legal recruitment strategy or job search in the virtual age.

 

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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The War for Talent: Tips on How to Succeed in a Candidate Drought

  • June 25, 2021

The job market in 2020 was undeniably challenging with across-the-board hiring freezes, redundancies, and re-structures that hit many professional sectors; Legal being no exception. And, whilst much has been documented about the inferred bounce-back this year (ourselves included with our Regional Analysis of Private Practice Vacancies back in April), the still-present backdrop of the global pandemic, and ongoing economic support measures such as the Job Retention Scheme masking the true impact of COVID on the sector, it’s clear that it’s not plain sailing just yet for those in the hiring seat.

The legal market in hiring terms is certainly buoyant as we near the second half of 2021 following a real step-change in vacancies advertised from February when volumes far surpassed the hiring activity of 2019. Yet, the wide range of choice for Candidates – real golden opportunities across all practice areas – is coupled with market uncertainty and jobseekers that are cautious about a move in the current climate. Whilst this competitive landscape certainly creates strategic organisational challenges, there are steps that Firms can take to ensure they tap into active and passive talent pools and focus firmly on their retention strategies to ensure their existing talent is not being lost to competitors.

Don’t discount the cost of employee retention

While there is certainly a renewed appetite for hiring and recruitment of new talent across the sector, it goes without saying that Firms should keep a keen eye on staff retention and attrition particularly those operating in practice areas or regions that have a short supply of qualified professionals. We highlighted only last year how firms can retain their talent during a skills shortage, and whilst generally speaking we’re not seeing illimitable job-hopping (at the moment at least), the commercial cost of losing A-grade employees can be significant as well as impacting team productivity, and the loss of knowledge and skill from the business. To rely solely on recruitment would be unwise; instead, concomitantly focusing on employee engagement, remuneration and rewards, clear progression, and staff development as part of a wider retention strategy is essential in the current climate.

Be aware that your reputation (and brand) will precede you

A strong employer brand undoubtedly aids recruitment strategies to attract top-tier candidates, especially in competitive markets where a candidate may have multiple opportunities, and offers, on the table. Jobseekers will always be mindful of your brand, market position and reputation as well as prestige amongst their professional networks.

Employees, perhaps more so in the last decade, are engaged by laser-sharp Corporate and Social Responsibility programmes that give the organisation (and their work) purpose, a sense of worth and impact on the wider society – so it’s imperative that jobs advertised go above and beyond the basic role profile. Successful hiring campaigns should focus on what the candidate can expect as an employee of that business – there should be an element of ‘selling’ the benefits, the culture, and the development opportunities available.

Savvy jobseekers will no doubt do their research and lift the bonnet on the inner workings of your Firm – so ensuring your employer brand is reflected well across review sites (Glassdoor, Google Reviews) and across your own social channels will help to bring advocates within your existing workforce to the fore, and really add to the credibility and authenticity of your brand. Directing jobseekers to internal success stories and case studies on your site, or a vibrant ‘Work for Us’ section will really help to bring the role to life and give creative insight that allows candidates to visualise themselves working for you and being part of the fabric of your business.

Don’t discount re-train contracts

We often speak to candidates who are considering a move to another branch of law. And, whether that catalyst is redundancy, a change in personal circumstances or because of a prolonged career break – we do advise that it is indeed possible – although not always easy or straightforward.

It is often par for the course that Partners and Hiring Managers will primarily look to attract candidates with proven track records, specific sector-experience, and demonstrable evidence of suitability for the role – but offering re-train opportunities if you are able could really open the door to candidates that are a great fit culturally, and willing to upskill.

At a recent panel event organized by Legal Cheek and The University of Law (ULaw), attendees heard from Lawyers who had made the leap into the sector from other industries altogether, illustrating that certain skills and strengths are transferrable especially across professional services.

The onus may not necessarily be on the end Hirer to provide or run the retraining course – organisations such as CLT (Central Law Training) offer conversion courses and certification for practitioners wishing to change specialisms so as hirers, being receptive to candidate profiles that indicate more recent training, or discernible industry knowledge could pay dividends.

Casting the net wider…consider home/remote/hybrid options

The pandemic has certainly brought about a lot of change for the legal sector, not least the urgent acceleration in technical solutions to support homeworking en masse. And, after arguably a shaky start, the sector has on the whole embraced the advancement of systems development to support everything from case load management to internal communications channels to drive business forward across a fragmented workforce.

We are still, even over 15 months on from the first national lockdown, inundated with headlines focused on what the perceived ‘end’ to the pandemic will look like, especially on how (and where) we work. Hybrid working certainly seems to dominate and seen by many as the most likely future state across many professional sectors. In a recent survey we conducted within our networks, nearly 70% stated a preference for hybrid once restrictions are lifted, although only three quarters of these respondents predict that this will actually be the case. Interestingly 8% of respondents envisage working exclusively from home. We are already seeing a marked increase in home- and hybrid-contracts being offered, especially for Firms who are looking potentially outside of their locality or where options may have already been exhausted. Whilst this solution may not work for every business and does come with much-documented challenges on a longer-term basis, it does mean that traditional recruitment based on commutability is cast aside and can really open up opportunities to a much bigger pool of legal professionals.

Whilst reporting around ways of working rumble on, including a leak from Whitehall on a new Government flexible working taskforce that is considering legislation to make homeworking a default option, business lobby groups have argued that it is ultimately down to the firms themselves to decide where that work is done. Whatever the outcome, the work-from-home guidance is likely to end next month, and businesses will be left with three choices – ‘home, hybrid, or hub’ – a mantra coined by Lloyds Banking Group who have shared their model and how they believe it will allow their people to work more effectively. Whilst there are some business owners that ultimately may wish to return to ‘normal’, casting the net wider by reviewing the feasibility of home- and hybrid- contracts may be a wise commercial move – especially as, put simply, it is what many employees want.

Make them an offer that’s hard to refuse

We see time and time again the recruitment process fall down at the final hurdle – when the interviews have taken place, the Candidate ticks all of the boxes in relation to the role, and the offer is put together…. only it just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Taking time to consider an offer that is compelling is vital, although equally it’s important that the individual in question is not left waiting unduly; particularly if there are other Firms, (your competitors) in the side lines also vying for attention.

The Financial Reporter recently recounted research conducted by analytics company, Visier where over half of financial employees in the UK are reported to be actively looking for a new role in the next 6 months. And, akin to the sector research we conduct each year in our Salary Survey, the reasons for moving are mirrored to those we see amongst legal professionals – namely a role that addresses work/life balance, progression and career development opportunities, training and upskilling programs, and fair remuneration. It is also good practice to review salaries and wider benefits packages across your own competitors for benchmarking purposes. After all, what may seem like a compelling offer may turn out to be a damp squib if some due diligence on market rates isn’t conducted at regular intervals.

Only this week, HR Professionals from Forbes Human Resources Council defined what makes a successful job offer including the following pointers:

  1. Start conversations around salary early so no one is left guessing.
  2. Be transparent about things like bonuses, benefits, and compensation.
  3. Build a relationship throughout the hiring process – building trust and having open and honest conversations from the get-go.
  4. Don’t compete solely on ‘the package’ – a holistic employee experience that is instilled in the culture is more of a focus than ever. Highlight this wherever possible.
  5. Do be open to special requests – understanding what is important to candidates and listening to the ‘whys’ is good practice and may offer competitive edge if taken on board.

For more detailed advice on how to make an irresistible offer, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide – read HERE.

Don’t panic hire

Hiring during a skills shortage can sometimes instigate rushed or knee-jerk reactions particularly when recruitment projects have been running on longer than anticipated, and especially when the unfilled role is impacting the bottom line. Once hiring budgets have been approved and the job specifications are written and published, there is often, in our experience, an element of urgency to move through the process – yet moving too quickly and not taking due care and attention with a thorough review of candidate profiles can be costly in the long term.

In a survey from People Management, some 39% of hiring managers realized that they had made the wrong decision within two weeks of the new recruit starting. What they may not be aware of however is that in most cases* the true cost to the business of this decision is roughly 3.5 times their annual salary – which in the current climate will be difficult to absorb.

Working with recruitment specialists will allow Firms to enhance their search capabilities to get the right ‘fit’ first time, every time. With the rapid acceleration of video platforms and tech to support the likes of virtual onboarding, candidate screening, assessments and shortlisting can be further enriched and really add value to what can be a complex and difficult process. Being resolute around what type of individual or individuals are right for your business is still imperative and moving away from this or making compromises to get the role filled quicker may come back to bite you.

(Earlier this year we launched our True Cost of Hiring Calculator where you can quickly review and analyse the commercial cost of your recent hires, leavers, and financial impact of getting it wrong. It is well worth a look to inform and mitigate any further risks in your recruitment process).

Don’t go it alone – enlist the help of experts

Utilising a sector-specialist recruitment agency will undoubtedly give you a head start with your hiring campaigns – furnishing you not only with market insight and that helicopter view of the hiring landscape, but the inside track on movement and access to talent pools of active and passive legal professionals.

At Clayton Legal, our consultants can offer practical, honest advice on the fillability of roles, salary benchmarking and insight into requirements and drivers of jobseekers in the current climate.

Experienced, qualified legal professionals are often time-short and as such are increasingly approaching agencies to represent them in the market rather than go-it-alone. Skilled in ‘selling’ your Firm and elevating your roles through strategic marketing – it makes absolute commercial sense to bring in the experts when the hiring landscape remains complex, and the candidate, at least for now, is King.

It is certainly clear from conversations that we have daily with Law Firms across the country that many are actively rethinking their talent strategies at all stages of the employee lifecycle – to attract, engage and retain skilled professionals in a highly competitive job market.

If you are actively searching for legal talent, we’d love to speak to you. Click here to speak to one of our experienced Legal specialists or call 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can enhance your hiring strategy.

What’s Next?

The legal industry is on the verge of a virtual hiring revolution. For some time now, recruitment has been growing increasingly virtual.

Before the pandemic, the Clayton group had already begun utilising video interviewing for our client and our candidate recruitment, with great results.

We have invested in the latest video technology that provides an unparalleled recruitment process for both our legal clients and jobseekers.

Contact the Clayton Legal team today if you would like support to develop your legal recruitment strategy or job search in the virtual age.

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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Important Factors To Consider That Affect Your Legal Talent Planning in 2021

  • December 9, 2020

Talent planning in 2021 – how can law firms ensure they are attracting and retaining the best talent in a job landscape that has been altered significantly by the pandemic?

In recent years, the U.K. legal profession has changed to meet client demands in terms of staffing, regulatory changes, the services that they offer – all in an increasingly skills-short market.

Skills shortages have become the norm in many areas of law, with mid-level professionals the most sought-after demographic; digitally skilled employees are also in high-demand, particularly since the pandemic.

Rapid growth in certain areas of law this year, namely Property Law, Conveyancing and Family Law, has only added to the challenge of finding exceptional candidates who say ‘yes’ to your job offers.

Today, we look at what factors are going to affect talent planning in the legal sector in 2021, and what your law firm must do to react.

Planning Your Talent Pipeline to Avoid Potential Risk Factors

Starting the new year by focusing on filling your talent pipeline is a must for any law firm looking to make a success of 2021.

Identifying potential future roles for your changing law firm is a must. Think about how your organisation is likely to change, or areas you want to expand into.

There may not appear to be any signs of your current team leaving, but when you assume that no-one is planning to leave, this puts you in a risky position.

If your top family law solicitor handed in their resignation tomorrow, would you have anyone lined up to take their place?

With such a strain on many areas of law currently like family, property and conveyancing, the team’s workload would become unmanageable if a position lay vacant.

Working on your talent pipeline involves a focus on your employer brand; your online presence. Are you promoting your brand online as a great employer? Is your website mobile friendly? Do you regularly engage with legal professionals across your socials?

Building your talent pipeline takes work, and it’s easier when you work with a legal recruiter who will guide you through all the various stages involved.

Don’t let the potential risk of an unexpected vacancy get in the way of your success this year – start planning your talent pipeline now.

Finally, let’s look at how 2021 budgets could affect your legal talent planning.

Getting the Most Out of Your Budget

Legal business leaders understand just how essential budgets are going to be in 2021.

You will only have a set amount towards recruitment, and in our post-pandemic world, budgets are getting tighter everywhere.

One way businesses try to save money is by slashing budgets, but what smart law firms do is make sure that they are getting the most out of the funding they do have.

This means working with a recruiter who guarantees your investment and offers money-back guarantees to ensure peace of mind, like Clayton Legal.

When you are working with a tight recruitment budget, getting the best ROI is vital.

The cost of a bad hire can run deeply into your business. From interruptions to workflow, wasted time and training costs, and the cost to re-hire – wherever you are spending your recruitment budget in 2021, it needs to be with a recruiter who will guarantee your investment.

Talent Attraction – What do Candidates Want in 2021?

Knowing what you want from your legal candidates and finding them are two very different things. Our recruitment services are often called in when employers are struggling to find candidates with the right skills, attributes and attitude – the right mix can be hard to find, especially in a world where legal job roles and priorities are changing.

From the candidates we speak to, we have identified three areas to focus on which will help you attract and retain top legal talent.

Training and development – The pandemic might have got in the way of learning and developing in your law firm this year. Still, the most valuable candidates are looking for companies where they will be continually developed.

Digital focus – Alongside legal and personal development training, legal employers who are keeping ahead of the digital curve will also attract the best talent. Law firms that struggle to offer comprehensive digital tools and training in a world where remote working is on the rise could fall behind.

Flexible arrangements – Since the pandemic, employees are more aware of the benefits of a hybrid working culture. Employers who can offer the choice to work from the office, from home or a mix of the two will attract a broader range of candidates.

In an ever-increasing skills-short market, failing to offer what candidates are really looking for could affect your recruiting process.

Getting your recruitment offer right is just one factor involved in talent planning.

Talk to Clayton Legal today about how we always guarantee your investment, and how our expert recruitment process will add value to your law firm.

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.

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5 mindset changes for Partners and Legal Managers in a Covid workplace

  • November 10, 2020

As legal firms navigate the ongoing Covid-19 situation, tackling novel challenges with a new mindset is a must.

Partners need to take a step back and look at how their teams have changed.

The pandemic has changed significant parts of our lives, and such a shift requires a change in mindset too. Today, we look at five ways to ensure to your mindset has changed to manage the new normal.

1. Prioritise People

Fear has been a big part of our daily lives this year, but as we continue to battle the virus, a mindset shift towards gratitude and putting your people first will enhance the whole team.

Many legal firms have been in precarious positions in the last few months, but legal leaders now are aware of how resilient their teams are, after coming through this challenging period.

As the Covid situation continues to change and new restrictions are imposed and lifted across the U.K., make sure that your team are your number one priority. Excellent management includes making sure your team are clear on the direction that your firm is moving and that they have everything they need to flex and work from home and that they feel supported by you in their roles.

2. Encouraging Innovation

The U.K. legal sector is rooted in historical regulations and practices, but this year has been the year where everything was turned upside down.

Being open to new practices and encouraging innovation in your legal team is an excellent way to enjoy continued success in the post-Covid era.

Some firms saw remote working as an unfortunate but necessary step in controlling the virus. Still, it is now time for legal leaders to accept that their teams and operations have been changed forever by the virus. What more can you be doing to encourage innovation and new ways of working in your post-Covid practice?

  • Do you need to provide more digital training?
  • Invest in new software to aid remote collaboration?
  • Refine your sales process to use video conferencing?

3. Setting New Expectations

Until the start of the year, most legal firms will have had in place familiar role expectations and progression opportunities – now is the time to revisit these.

Between increased remote working, teams that may have expanded or been made smaller, and increased business in certain specialisms, there is a lot to think about in terms of your post-Covid team and their roles.

It’s a good idea to have one-to-ones with individual team members (on Zoom if necessary) to go through with them if their roles or expectations have changed. Team members might have taken on extra work without a formal discussion about it and will be wondering what the future of their role looks like.

Additionally, keep your legal team in the loop at all times about changes to the business – if you plan on expanding in certain specialisms and your broader plans for the business.

4. Being Cautious, but Not Paranoid

The pandemic has caused many of us to be on high alert for potential dangers – to our jobs, our health and our families.

But now your legal team need you to be a strong manager and lead with caution instead of paranoia.

Focus on the positives and look at how far you’ve come through the pandemic – making it through to this point even if you have faced significant challenges is a ‘positive’ to remember.

Even with further restrictions, there are ways for your team to keep delivering your excellent legal services and to stay safe, but cautious.

Make sure your team know that their health is your number one priority – provide flexible working options and ask your team for suggestions as to anything else you can do to help them feel safe.

Despite the virus, many legal teams are thriving, albeit in a strange and new environment. Embrace the change and look forward to the new opportunities that the post-Covid world will bring. Growth figures for the legal sector are still down on last year due to the lockdown months, but they are recovering with four out of five firms confident about the year ahead, according to a recent sector survey.

5. Adopting a ‘Growth’ Mindset

What kind of mindset you have will determine your success; most people (and teams) have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

If you want to read more on the subject look at Dr Carol Dwecks extensive research on the subject.

Moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is one way to lead your team to success in our post-Covid world.

Let me explain the differences –

  • A fixed mindset is: believing things ‘are the way they are’ and feeling unable to change, and this type of person does not like being challenged on their beliefs
  • A growth mindset is: believing that change is possible, wanting to learn and seeing mistakes as positive and an opportunity to grow

Adopting a growth mindset has never been more important, as the coming months look set to be filled with continual challenges for your legal team as we adapt to the ‘new normal’.

On a Final Note

Do you need new legal talent for the challenges that lie ahead? Do you need employees with the skills to propel your firm forwards in our post-Covid world? Are you planning on expanding in certain specialisms?

We can help.

Get in touch with us today by calling us on 01772 259 121 or emailing us here to find out how we can help you recruit your new generation of post-Covid legal talent.

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 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.

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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