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5 Key Essentials to Note When Onboarding Your New Legal Employees

The Legal landscape has changed drastically in the last couple of years. Job opportunities are becoming more flexible with the rise of remote or hybrid work and the four-day work week, which started as a trial in the UK in recent weeks. 

Even the way law firms source and assess new candidates for roles has evolved, with an increasing number of virtual and video interviews as well as new software being developed since the pandemic. 

On top of all these changes, hiring managers and employers are also facing new challenges in employee retention, with the “Great Resignation” now causing significant talent turnover.  

In a skills-short legal environment, it’s important to ensure you’re taking every precaution to not only find the right new legal professional but prepare them for long-term success within your law firm.  

A successful onboarding strategy could be the key to providing your new team member with all the support, guidance, and insights they need to thrive at your firm. 

Here are the onboarding strategies you can use to empower your legal hires. 

1. Start with Preboarding

Employee “preboarding” is essentially an introductory step before the more intensive onboarding process begins. Today, as the competition for top legal talent continues to grow, talented candidates are increasingly looking to work with employers who make them feel valued, not those just paying the highest salary. 

Just as your new team member will be working hard to prove you made the right choice by bringing them on board, you want to demonstrate they’ve made an excellent choice by deciding to work for you. An introduction email as soon as your candidate accepts your job offer can set you off on the right track to building a great working relationship. You can even use this email to give your new employee some useful information such as parking on their first day, start times and any other useful information that could help them out.  

Start by welcoming your candidate onto the team and let them know the names of some of the people they will be working with. Next, include valuable information your employee might need, such as videos highlighting information about your brand identity and general updates about the new firm they are joining.  

2. Adjust the Onboarding Process for Different Roles

Do you have an onboarding plan? View our report here on a Quick Guide To Onboarding New Legal Talent.  

Certain parts of the legal onboarding process will be the same for all employees. You’ll need to introduce every new team member to the company culture in your business and the kind of values you’ll expect them to adhere to. However, this doesn’t mean an onboarding process should be entirely one-size-fits-all.  

Adjust the steps you take in the onboarding process based on your new employee’s needs. For instance, ask yourself what kind of software and tools the team member will be using from day one, and provide them with training support or video guidance on setting up new accounts.  

Think about the specific members of staff your new employee is going to be working with and arrange for a video or group meeting where you can all get to know each other in an informal and friendly setting.  

Creating a streamlined and personalised process for each employee will ensure your new candidates aren’t overwhelmed by information that may not be pertinent to them when starting their new role.  

3. Focus on Inclusion

The needs of today’s employees are beginning to change. While all team members want access to great development opportunities, a good salary, and fair benefits, they’re also looking for an immersive company culture and a sense of inclusion within their teams.  

Today, 64% of employees say diversity and inclusion is a crucial consideration in their decision to take a job offer. As soon as a new candidate agrees to join your team, start focusing on how you include them.  

Ask new hires about their preferred pronouns and names and introduce them immediately to the people they will be working with. Allow your employees to sit in on video meetings even before their role officially starts if you’re not going to be sharing sensitive information and add them to your group messaging boards. 

Make sure every team member feels like a crucial part of the team, regardless of whether they’re working in the office, remotely, or on a hybrid schedule. 

4. Build a Training Plan for Development

Great onboarding isn’t just about welcoming a new legal employee into your team and ensuring they have all the information they need about your business. You should also be looking for ways to build a foundation of a long professional relationship between your law firm and your hires. 

Around 93% of employees say they would happily stay with a company for longer if they felt their managers were investing in their careers with training and development. During the onboarding process, you can begin helping your employee see a future with your brand by working on a professional development plan together. 

Set up a one-on-one meeting where you discuss what the future might look like for your new team member and what kind of goals they would like to achieve while with your firm and in later life also. Discuss how you can help your employee reach new heights in their career and what your training opportunities look like. 

5. Collect Feedback Regularly

Finally, the only way to ensure your onboarding process is having the right impact on your legal employees is to ask them about it. Collecting feedback is an excellent way to determine whether you’re giving your new team members all the support and guidance they need.  

Ask your new hires what they feel you did well in the onboarding process and what they would like to change if given a chance to go through it again. Pay attention to productivity levels after your employees start their new role and look at how they might change when you add further steps to the onboarding process.  

The feedback you get should guide your future onboarding strategies, helping you build a more comprehensive experience for every new hire.  

Great Onboarding Starts with the Right Hire 

Remember, a great onboarding process can be a powerful tool, capable of improving new hire retention by around 82%. An excellent onboarding process will always start with the right hiring decisions. Improve your chances of bringing the right people on board by working with a specialist legal recruitment team like Clayton Legal. 

We can help you improve yours by taking care of the pre-onboarding and sourcing of talent. If you want to find out more call us on 01772 259 121. 

 

Next Steps 

If you’re reading this article because you are looking to hire your next legal hire, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help and market insight, your hiring process can be smoother and quicker – and get you the outcome you’re looking for. 

 

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. 

Whether you are building your legal team or are 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 (Real) Cost of a Bad Hire in the Current Legal Market

  • March 25, 2022

Before the events of 2020 unfolded, many hiring managers and legal employers ‘thought’ they knew the dangers of hiring the wrong candidates.

With hindsight, we can now see that hiring decisions in our post-pandemic world are more crucial than ever.

The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been when it comes to having the right team in place; Covid has changed the way that employers need to approach their recruitment and retention strategies.

Today, we look at the real cost of a bad hire in the post-Covid recruitment market and what you as an employer can do to mitigate any risks in your recruitment process.

Plus, we have recently launched the 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.

The Consequences of a ‘Bad’ Hire Now

Fact – making the wrong hiring decision costs your firm money.

What’s shocking is the number of poor hiring decisions that are made. A 2018 survey found that 39% of hiring managers realised they had made the wrong hiring decision within two weeks of their new recruit starting.

Why is this so important now in our post-Covid legal market?

Due to the growth of the legal sector in certain areas, some law firms this year have struggled to find the right talent to meet their needs – this means rushed hiring decisions and lots of them.

That’s not to mention the time and resources spent on training, all of which goes to waste when your new Solicitor or employee leaves just three months after starting with your firm.

With Covid to consider, there is also the added challenge of recruiting and onboarding when some parts of this process are happening remotely/virtually.

Are you now conducting remote interviews, or onboarding via Zoom? This creates an extra risk factor that your new employee will not integrate well due to them not being a good fit for your organisation, or never fully settling in their role.

The key is finding the right candidate for your vacancy and culture, who plans on staying with your firm for a long time. This is more difficult to achieve in our post-Covid world, and that is why it is key for employers to ensure they are reducing the risk of hiring the wrong candidate.

So what should you be looking for in your post-Covid legal hiring decisions?

Post-Covid Changes to the Legal Sector – What to Hire for Now?

It’s time to start thinking about what you are looking for in your legal hire and also, what they will be expecting from you.

Only when these two elements come together will you get the right ‘fit’; finding the ideal candidate, who wants to stay and develop their career with your firm.

But – what legal candidates are looking for has changed. Since the pandemic, candidates are increasingly looking for employers who understand the value of flexible working and can offer flexible working arrangements for both now and the future. Hybrid working models are likely to become the norm for many law firms, who, having remote working thurst upon them, are seeing the benefits this can bring to the business and their employees alike.

Additionally, candidates are increasingly looking for honest and transparent employers who have an excellent employer brand and have looked after their employees throughout the pandemic.

If you aren’t making the ‘right’ offer to talented legal employees, you will find yourself faced with candidates who don’t meet your expectations. And then when you’re pushed to make a hiring decision, the chance of you making the ‘wrong’ recruitment decision is higher due to your reduced talent pool.

Getting Your Post-Covid Job Adverts Right

It might be time to revisit your job roles, too.

Many legal firms will hire the same type of individuals for the same roles over and over – but now is the time to rethink this strategy.

Making the right hire all starts with attracting the right candidates, and you do this with your job adverts.

Are you showcasing your employer brand and excellent culture in your job adverts?

We recently wrote about the importance of an EVP (Employer Value Proposition) for Law Firms to really create standout and aid in attraction top talent in competitive markets.

Since Covid, have the skills and personality traits you are looking for in your employees changed? Many legal specialisms have exploded recently; are you ensuring that you are making a great case legal specialists to work for your firm?

Remember that if you want to avoid making the wrong hire, you need to find candidates who are truly a great fit, not someone who will be looking for a new role in a few months.

Finally

Often, we hear responses of 70-75% retention said with pride but we’d ask you to turn this statistic upside down – and consider 25-30% is actually therefore a failure with a direct hit on your bottom line. Therefore, we’d encourage you to make use of our True Cost of Hiring Calculator, particularly if you have hired legal professionals in the last 12 months, and have unfortunately found that some have left before their 1-year anniversary. The presentation of your results and accompanying report contains a wealth of information to further demonstrate why getting that fit right first time is imperative.

Of course, another way to protect your recruitment ROI – guaranteed – is to work with Clayton Legal to make your next hires.

We offer a full money-back guarantee, so if for any reason the hire doesn’t work out, you won’t lose out. And with recruitment costing you valuable time and resources when you go it alone – it’s always a safer option to work with a dedicated legal recruiter you can trust.

To find out more about our guaranteed legal recruitment service, call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here.

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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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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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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How your value proposition can attract standout legal professionals to your law firm

  • February 2, 2021

The job market in 2020 was undeniably challenging and unpredictable with record redundancies of 14.2 per thousand recorded only last November. And, whilst there is much uncertainty as we look ahead – particularly amongst those industries hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the Legal sector, particularly in the second half of last year, appears to be gaining momentum once again with proactive hiring in practice areas that require additional support due to demand or are victim to talent shortages more generally based on niche roles or specialisms.

Conveyancing, Private Client and Family in particular, are practice areas where we are witnessing demand outweigh supply – perhaps in part due to low inertia from those candidates and a genuine nervousness around change at a time when change itself has been the only constant.

Nevertheless, Law Firms that are beginning to future gaze and take actions today that will impact business and the bottom line in the next few months have two clear strategies to implement and/or refine – particularly in those sectors that have live jobs but are simply not getting the interest from talent in the market: retention and recruitment.

Retention and a Renewed Focus on the EVP

Robust staff retention and attrition strategies for Law Firms are imperative in competitive sectors, particularly those that have a short supply of qualified professionals within the region or in that practice area. We highlighted last year how firms can retain their talent during a skills shortage, and businesses that invest in developing their ‘Employee Value Proposition’ (EVP) will certainly benefit from employee engagement, advocacy for the firm and brand, and turn the heads of additional talent that they’re looking to hire.

But what is EVP? And why is it worth investing in developing this within your Law Firm?

Pioneer of employer branding research globally, Brett Minchington defines EVP as “a set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization.” In simple terms, a unique set of benefits that a legal professional receives in return for the skilled work that they do. However, a focus on ‘perks and pay’ just won’t cut the mustard any longer with a savvy workforce that simply demands more from their employer.

As standard, this may include a distinct focus in the following areas:

Remuneration & Rewards

At a basic level this would include the main hygiene factors of a fair pay packet as well as a considered bonus structure and any other performance-related or behaviour driven reward schemes.

Workload

Aside from job descriptions and the day-to-day expectations of the role profile, looking more generally at the variety of work on offer, levels of autonomy and whether the work gives the employee a sense of pride and purpose. Employees benefit hugely from knowing that the work they do has a positive impact on the rest of the business – so communications channels that focus on this transparency are hugely beneficial.

Career Progression

At the heart of any retention strategy should be a focus on endorsing ‘moving up’ to mitigate moving on. And, whilst progressing ‘up’ a corporate ladder may not be for every legal professional, a strong EVP would have clear routes of progression to cover all bases – lateral moves, cross-departmental exposure, and internal mobility as well as personal development matched to individuals own goals and aspirations.

Internal Culture

The culture of any business is always inherently hard to articulate, yet it is often a driver and motivation for moving on if it is not defined or indeed experienced by the workforce. Employees will consider the Firm’s values – whether they are not only communicated but ‘lived’ by their colleagues. The beliefs and behaviour of employees and management and how they interact internally and externally with clients and stakeholders will also impact the type of cultural framework the business has. Mobilising these factors to actively monitor and manage culture over time is key.

Employer Brand

A strong employer brand undoubtedly aids recruitment strategies to attract top-tier candidates – and it is instrumental as part of the wider EVP. Employees will be always mindful of 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.

Whilst the above is by no means exhaustive, Law Firms who have a clear value proposition that is informed by, and experienced by their employees will undoubtedly have competitive advantage – mitigating flight risk internally and creating standout in the market.

Employer Branding, EVP, and Recruitment

It goes without saying that if a Legal Practice has an established and valued EVP that is unique and compelling, it is also a key driver of talent attraction. It provides a consistent platform to communicate the benefits of working at the firm that goes far beyond a job advertisement.

In a report from 2019 Deloitte looked specifically at what employees want and there is much written about distilling employment packages in a way that attract individuals to an organisation, with the intention of keeping that expertise engaged and preserved. Perhaps in a post-COVID world such factors will evolve once more to address the seismic changes we have seen in how legal professionals work, and how things like culture and internal brand can be measured and driven when remote working has replaced Boardroom meetings, and firms rise to the challenge of engagement through previously under-utilised digital channels.

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 competitive, if a little turbulent, job market.

If you are actively searching for legal talent, we’d love to speak to you about your employer proposition that we can really sell to our pool of active candidates. Contact us or call the office 01772 259121 to speak to one of our experienced legal consultants for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can enhance your hiring strategy.

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.

If you would like to access our free guides, view them all 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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What Skills Gap Do You Have In Your Post-Furlough Legal Team?

  • October 12, 2020

As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme officially comes to an end in September 2021, many legal practices will already have an idea of about who will be returning to their team full time and others who may not be after furlough.

There are many reasons why there may be skills gaps in your legal team right now, whether COVID-19 plays a part or not.

The Redundancy Problem

27% of UK employers are expected to make job cuts due to coronavirus, and while the UK legal sector is generally more resilient than other industries, some firms have had to make cuts.

Giles Murphy, head of professional practice at accountant Smith & Williamson said in the FT recently, “as the full impact of the economy hits firms, activity levels are likely to fall and firms will need fewer staff. At that point the expensive ones might be at risk”.

Is your firm thinking about making redundancies? It is critical that if you do, you do not leave yourself with skills gaps in any areas. At the end of this article is a guide to help you recognise if you are at risk of leaving yourself with critical skills gaps.

Expansion, Creating New Skill Gaps

For every firm that has had to make redundancies, there are others that are expanding their products, services and even specialisms. Rapid growth since the end of lockdown in property, family and employment cases has meant that some firms are struggling to get through their work with the teams they have.

Despite the headlines, some firms within the UK legal sector are performing better than ever. The Global Legal Post reported that some law firms are having their ‘best year ever’ with the UK legal sector records its second-strongest July on record.

This expansion is another way that skills gaps can appear. You might be having a record-breaking year but do you have the right amount of staff with the right skills in place to be able to capitalise on this?

Retraining Your Current Employees

Currently, there is a big demand for staff and low supply – in the areas that are booming since Covid. Property, Family, and Employment Law have all seen a drastic increase in the need for their services, which is set to be the case for the foreseeable. It might be time to consider retraining some of your current team in areas which you’re struggling to find employees. Retraining is a great way to utilise your current team and can help you avoid redundancies. Speak to your team to find out which areas any of them would like to retrain in – now is the perfect time to put this plan into action.

Digital Skills Gaps

It has proven essential for law firms to adapt digitally to our new remote world.

Sheffield based personal injury firm Irwin Mitchell recently identified 100 roles which were potentially at risk because of digital changes that the pandemic caused.

Have you introduced new software or technology to allow employees to manage work from home? And if so, are you confident that all employees are proficient in the skills needed to work efficiently from home?

With a potential new lockdown on the way and the government guidelines asking employees who can, to work from home – are you digitally prepared for employees to work remotely for the foreseeable?

We have covered the topic of our digital adaption in a separate blog, with tips for other businesses, which you can read here.

So finally, let’s look at how to perform a skills gap analysis in your law firm.

How to Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis

For many legal practices, restructuring, rather than redundancies, are causing skills gaps. And not the kind of restructuring that we usually hear about; instead, it’s a true type of restructuring caused by the enormous changes to the world since Covid.

A change in working practices, shifting business models, unprecedented cases – all of these have increased the need to have the right skills in the right place in your legal team.

So how do you find out if and where you have skills gaps?

Here is the three-step process.

Step 1 – Identify the skills needed in your practice (both now and in the future)

Due to Covid, have you or are you planning on expanding into a new specialism, or have you been dealing with an increased workload in certain areas?

Think about the future trends of work – are there skills that are becoming more prevalent such as digital skills? Are there currently employees taking on extra duties to cover a vacancy or new tasks that keep emerging? Are you aware of any new positions you will need to create?

You should end up with a list of the key skills your legal practice needs, and the different roles that your firm needs to continue to manage your cases.

Step 2 – Pinpoint existing skills

You might be waiting until the end of the year to conduct performance reviews but right now, after furlough and before the end of the year is the perfect time to conduct a skills audit.

For each employee, determine the skills they possess in regards to the roles needed in your company.

You may find that you have a team who all possess similar skills, but there is a lack of individuals with the skills you need to drive your business forwards, like the aforementioned digital skills or training in certain specialisms.

Step 3 – Determine where the gaps are

Finally, you will know the skills and roles you need in your firm, and you know what you currently have; the gaps are where you need to bring in new talent.

There may be gaps in places you didn’t expect. For example, your team might be coping with remote technology right now but lack the skills to do so long-term.

Finally

If there are critical gaps in your legal team, and you need to make a plan to bridge these gaps, we can help.

Call us on 01772 or send us an email here. We will work with you to help you find options for your gaps and can provide help for restructuring and recruitment in 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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The Hidden Costs of Hiring Legal Roles in a Post-Covid Market

  • September 14, 2020

The U.K. legal sector is going through a period of change as it recovers from the disruption caused by the Coronavirus.

It is one industry that was significantly affected by the pandemic, as initial restrictions caused property, conveyancing, and family law to come to a standstill.

Initially, there was a concern that the legal sector was going to take considerable time to recover; in reality, the opposite has happened.

At the start of the pandemic, it was feared that legal roles in the housing sector were under threat, but in a surprising U-turn, July 2020 was the busiest month for property in a decade.

With such an unpredictable few months ahead of us, what legal employers must focus on now is ensuring they’ve got the right talent in place for critical roles.

Despite the pandemic, growth in the sector has been constant. This has created several recruiting problems for employers.

Today, we look at the current recruiting problems legal employers are facing and what they can do to overcome them.

The Current Recruitment Process is Not Sustainable

Legal employers looking to recruit now are discovering an increased number of candidates applying for each role.

This Independent article states that the job which received the most applicants on a well-known CV site last month was a paralegal role, which attracted 4,228 applicants.

Having this number of candidates to sift through is not a sustainable recruitment method – let me explain why.

Your options are limited when you have so many applicants for a single position – how can you make a truly informed recruiting decision without looking through every single application? But if you don’t look through each application, you could be missing out on the best candidate.

It’s a catch-22 situation.

If you don’t have a dedicated H.R. or internal recruitment department, which many legal firms don’t, especially in the wake of Covid, time spent recruiting is time spent not focusing on your regular tasks and your firm’s billings.

The average recruitment process in the U.K. takes 28 days – that’s almost a month spent on recruiting. And with added Covid challenges such as some firms conducting interviews via video, or social distancing making the process longer, it is currently an even more time-consuming task for employers.

As you can see, any legal employer looking to recruit in-house right now are faced with numerous challenges.

And with a sea of candidates all with different backgrounds and motivations – it takes some delicate interpersonal skills to assess if each one would be ‘right’ for your firm.

Finding the ‘Right’ Legal Candidate Instead of the ‘Right Now’ Candidate

Despite the recent success and resilience in the post-Covid legal sector, the pandemic’s disruption has unsettled people in terms of their lives and their careers.

There has been a lot of movement in the job market, both out of necessity and out of choice.

When you post a legal job and get many great applicants, there is no way of knowing what their future plans might be.

Most candidates will tell you that they plan to stay at your company for a long time, but this is not necessarily the truth.

Legal employees who believe their jobs might be under threat are looking to safeguard themselves; speculatively applying for new roles that they think are ‘safer’.

Only a few months ago, conveyancing came to a standstill, and there was talk of legal firms reducing their property departments in line with what was predicted to be a slowing down on the housing market – paradoxically, these jobs are in more demand than ever. So it’s hard to predict where legal candidates are focusing their career aspirations, due to the unprecedented way the sector is changing.

A specialist recruiter will ascertain what a candidate’s honest career plans are. This way they will only match candidates to roles which suit them for the long-term.

When you recruit in-house, you must take each candidate on face value.

You run the risk of hiring a great candidate only to have them leave shortly afterwards for a different role. The cost of this happening is estimated to be in the thousands.

Let’s look in more detail at the ‘true’ cost of hiring.

How Much Does the ‘Wrong’ Hire Cost?

A recent study by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found that 85% of H.R. decision-makers stated that their company had hired someone who wasn’t right for the job.

The truth is that making the wrong legal hire can cost three times the cost of the individual’s salary; for a legal role with a salary of £42,000, this could be up to £132,000.

It can be, at first, difficult to understand why hiring the wrong individual can cost your business so much because the real cost is hidden.

As a busy business owner, it is impossible to see day-to-day how the true cost of the wrong hire can be impacting your business.

Here are some of the ways the cost of a bad hire stacks up.

  • Paying to re-advertise the job.
  • The time spent assessing C.V.s and conducting interviews; it is always longer than you think.
  • The cost of training a new hire – even internal training costs in time (and thus, revenue).
  • It can take up to half a year for a new employee to settle into their role and start adding to your bottom line – this is not something you want to have to do twice in a year.
  • If you can’t find the right hire for several weeks or months, members of your current team will be covering extra duties, watering down the value they would usually be adding in their role.
  • Employing someone who doesn’t fit in with your firm’s culture can cause H.R. issues between employees and can cause demotivation in your current team, which again will impact morale, productivity and consequently, revenue.
  • If you make the ‘wrong’ hire, but they stay with your firm for several months, they can become disengaged; disengaged employees are thought to cost the U.K. between £52-£70 billion per year in lost productivity.

There is so much to think about when making a recruiting decision for your legal firm, and as you can see, there are plenty of circumstances where making the wrong hire can be incredibly costly for your business too.

But sometimes, the pressure of having a vacancy can lead legal employers to make a hire they suspect are not exactly right for the job, but they feel employing this individual is their only option.

Thankfully, there is another option – working with a legal recruiter for a fee which is much lower than the cost of making the ‘wrong’ hire – to recruit the right individual the first time around.

Working with a Legal Recruiter

Recruiting your next legal employee is about much more than sorting through C.V.s and conducting interviews.

We are currently in the most business-critical period in a generation, your hiring decisions and the dynamics of your team have never been more important. You must make the right hire, and thankfully the legal candidate market is buoyant right now.

We can help you hone your recruitment process and find the perfect candidate for the needs of your legal firm.

Get in touch with us here with the details of your legal vacancy, and we will get back to you with information about the ‘right’ candidates.

How Can We Help?

Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please get in contact with 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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Strategic Business Planning for Your Legal Practice Post-Covid

  • July 25, 2020

Business disruption is something that was once a little-discussed clause in contracts and insurance documents; now, it has become the main focus of legal matters in the UK since the pandemic.

As businesses acted quickly to protect their assets after the first ripples of the disruption caused by the pandemic, this has now given way to a recovery stage, in which we now find ourselves.

The challenges businesses are facing right now as a result of the pandemic can be narrowed down to a few areas. It is these areas where legal firms will need to focus their efforts to take advantage of the fluctuating workloads, and adapting to clients’ needs to cement a trusted business partnership.

Today we look at the picture that is emerging from the legal sector; where firms are struggling to meet demand, and which areas are still on hold due to the pandemic.

First let’s look at the main challenges facing businesses right now, which is impacting on the legal sector.

Pandemic Problems

Many businesses, as I’m sure you’re aware, have had to suspend or heavily restrict their operations.

Even now, four months after the start of lockdown in the UK, estate agents are nowhere near back to normal in terms of sales and lettings, with social distancing proving a problem for showing prospective customers around properties.

Other businesses are facing cashflow problems, struggles with contractual obligations and having to look at restructuring. We already see an increase in litigation in certain areas, as the full effects of Covid-19 on businesses come to light.

We are also observing an increase in legal cases being brought against the government, for their reaction to Covid-19. For example, the Independent Workers Union are suing the government for ‘failure to provide Covid-19 support for precarious workers’, and a number of cases involving individuals bringing legal action due to deaths from Covid.

We can expect to see a host of precedents being set in the legal cases emerging from the unique pandemic situation.

New Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

Despite efforts by the UK government to protect businesses from going under, the picture that is emerging is that sadly, there will be some businesses that do not survive the pandemic.

Businesses who have failed to make it through the recent troubling time will now be seeking help with insolvency and all associated legislation.

To help businesses with their unexpected closures, there is a new Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill which came into effect on 26th June 2020.

The measures in this act aim to relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and allow them to focus their efforts on continuing to operate during a period of insolvency, to take urgent steps to restructure, seek new investment or evade immediate creditor action.

Virus-Related Litigation

Once businesses have made headway in deciding where they stand on contracts that were created pre-Covid, we can expect that there will be a wave of litigation to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Insurance companies are currently locked in a battle with their clients in the aftermath of Covid over what constituted ‘business interruption’ as many contracts didn’t explicitly mention government-imposed closures. Clients believed that this should have been covered, insurers stated otherwise.

The Financial Conduct Authority has started proceedings with eight insurers and 17 of their clients over the wording of their insurance policies. Many companies have been unable to claim in some cases tens of thousands of pounds over the dispute of whether the government-induced lockdown was covered in their policies – highlighting the importance of wording in legally binding contracts.

Does the wording of your contracts need looking at to ensure they are pandemic-proof?

When Temporary Housing Laws Expire

The unprecedented mortgage holidays and blocks on tenancy evictions are shortly to come to an end, which will increase activity in property legislation which has been stagnant since the UK lockdown was imposed.

Real Estate Litigation vacancies fell by 53% in April. Still, with mortgage holidays ending in October and rent evictions frozen until the end of August, we can expect to see a sharp increase in these areas as the full effects of Covid are exposed.

Recent data found that 13% of renters have fallen behind with their payments, compared to around 4% before the pandemic. This means a potential increase in rent evictions of up to a third.

As courts are still operating in a socially-distanced way, court cases can expect to take longer, as the waiting time for court dates is prolonged. As this is the case in other areas of law, we can expect drawn-out proceedings for the time being. Perhaps once courtrooms return to normal, the legal sector will be over the worst of its disruptions and things can carry on in relative ‘normality’.

Planning and Restructuring

Looking at the direction in which the legal sector is going, is it time to look at where you need to make changes to your legal practice?

If so, we can help.

We are currently working with law firms in the North West to help them secure the best talent to ensure their practice can offer what the market is looking for.

Restructuring is going to be vital for firms as businesses everywhere look to salvage jobs and avoid another deep recession.

If you’re looking for insolvency or dispute and litigation experts, get in touch with us today. We will put you in touch with the best available talent right now, to future proof your practice.

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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