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How To Build Your Legal Talent Pipeline This Year

  • February 25, 2019

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

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

What Is A Talent Pipeline?

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

Both will be critical for your success.

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Business Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Your Employer Brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building A Legal Talent Pipeline: Using A Specialist Legal Recruiter

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

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

A challenge for an already time-pressed individual.

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

Finding these individuals in a skill short market takes time.

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

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

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

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

About Clayton Legal

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

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

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

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Why partnering with a legal recruitment specialist could make 2019 your best year

  • December 13, 2018

As we head towards the end of the year and get ready to welcome a new one, it’s an ideal opportunity to reflect. That’s why we’ve put together this blog, to help you assess what difficulties the legal sector has faced this year, and how to plan so that 2019 gets off to a successful start.

Challenges and opportunities in 2018

Earlier this year we published research into the legal sector’s biggest challenges and opportunities in 2018. One of the main things that emerged was firms’ fears about how skills shortages might impact on growth. Conveyancing, both residential and commercial, was highlighted as a particular area of concern, as property specialists come under increasing pressure. There’s certainly no shortage of work for those that do specialise in property, and changes to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality scheme may add to conveyancing professionals’ list of things to do.

The other major challenge highlighted in our white paper, was the political landscape – no, we’re not quite on to the ‘B’ word yet! At the start of 2018 firms were facing uncertainty over what would happen regarding the so-called ‘whiplash reforms’. Thankfully, as we approach the end of the year there’s much greater clarity, with the reforms having been pushed back to April 2020. We reported back in October that we’d already seen a sharp increase in the number of personal injury vacancies emerging, which offers greater job security for those who specialise in that field, at least for the next year or so.

What’s happening across the market: plan now, succeed later

The good news on whiplash reforms isn’t the only piece of positivity that 2018 has delivered. While the legal sector, and many other professions, have found Brexit to be a challenge, firms have also reported that it represents an opportunity.

The changing relationship with Europe could actually mean that those who specialise in litigation may find themselves in demand, as businesses and individuals require advice. The best thing to do is to plan for all eventualities. Faced with uncertainty and skills shortages, firms’ best bet is to work hard to retain staff now. In fact, research carried out by CIPD shows that 26% of organisations are placing a greater emphasis on developing existing staff. Our blog, ‘Save Time, Money And Resources: Retain Your Best Legal Talent’, has tips on how best to achieve that.

Changes have meant that some situations have become clearer, for example the whiplash reforms. And while some things remain a little foggy – Brexit being a prime example – planning and retention strategies can help secure your success in 2019 and beyond.

Partnering with Clayton

Equipping clients with what they need to achieve their objectives now and in the future is what we aim to do, after all, we’re only as successful as our clients. In order to help you achieve your goals, we use two vital elements:

  • Each client has a dedicated legal recruitment consultant
  • We build strong, trusting relationships with clients by always taking the time to listen to your needs and challenges. Candidate relationships are key also and we have built up a large database of quality candidates

By focusing on your success, we have reinforced our own values of trust, relationships, and growth. These values are what clients appreciate, and we often share the same values as the firms that we serve, making for a stronger partnership.

We take building positive client relationships seriously, and also strive to build strong relationships with our employees too. So if you’re the kind of firm that is committed to building an employer brand that not only attracts but retains talent, then we could be a good match!

In fact, a prominent law firm was recently struggling to source quality candidates with the right skill set for the role. By upholding the two key elements above we were quickly able to fill the post. Not only did this reduce the demand on the client’s time, it allowed them to focus on their day job, which was much more beneficial for business. The client was delighted with the outcome and commented that “Clayton Legal understand what we want and deliver by taking the process away that leads us to being able to concentrate on the business.”

Of course, each client measures success differently, although 91% of clients have reported being really pleased with Clayton and the results of working with us.

Talent can be the scarcest resource, which is why our goal is to use our market expertise, insight and networks to ensure that we provide the right people to the right firms, so that they become their greatest asset.

Clayton Legal’s success stories

We’re delighted to hear such positive feedback and are proud to say that we have filled over 3,000 placements in our lifetime. We have worked alongside firms to recruit positions ranging from:

  • Partners to Legal Executives
  • Solicitors to Paralegals
  • Legal IT personnel to Practice Managers

Our ongoing dedication to and passion for legal recruitment means that we’re continually refining our knowledge of the market and improving the service we offer to clients.

As part of our continual desire to improve, we have achieved the following successes this year:

  • 2018 has seen our fifth continuous year of growth, which is testament to our MD Lynn, the work of the whole team, and the fantastic clients that we serve.
  • It’s not just in a financial sense that we’ve grown. From our base in the North West, we’ve expanded across the UK and are proud to be supporting clients as far afield as London, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, as well as the South East.
  • This year we’ve also introduced a service providing locum professionals across the legal landscape. We understand that sometimes your firm needs a helping hand without taking on the financial responsibility of an entirely new member of staff; a locum worker is a great alternative.

Looking forward to 2019

While we’ve celebrated some of our own successes here, it’s been a good time for the legal profession as a whole, despite various obstacles. Indeed, at the end of November the number of solicitors on the roll was 192,516, up on last year and at the highest point in 2018. The sector is proving to be healthy, regardless of its challenges.

This is reflected in our 2018 Salary Survey which highlights that, despite ongoing skills shortages in areas like conveyancing,  firms have felt more positive about the availability of legal skills in general. And while there have been plenty of challenges in 2018, they have been balanced with opportunities. We’re certainly looking forward to 2019 and continuing to support law firms with their needs.

And if you’re thinking of recruiting, it’s not too late to get things underway before Christmas. We’ll be here until the 24th of December and will be more than happy to help with whatever recruitment challenge you’re facing.

Whether it’s a last-minute locum emergency or a full-time employee for 2019 expansion plans, call us on 01772 259 121 and one of our talented consultants will be able to assist you.

In the meantime, you might like to find out more about what a specialist firm can bring to the table in our blog: Big firm, little firm…get the best from your recruitment provider.

You may also like to download our latest report on trends in law: The 7 critical recruitment trends in law that will impact your talent pipeline in 2019.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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8 steps to successfully recruiting legal talent

  • May 20, 2018

Hiring new legal staff is no easy task. You need to consider qualifications, hands-on experience, area of specialism, salary, bonus; the list of things to think about is endless. Add to that the fact that many areas of law are facing talent shortages and hiring becomes a real challenge. Solicitors are in short supply in a number of specialisms – the Law Society has published findings reaching critical shortage levels.

In the face of chronic shortages, you need to ensure that hiring is efficient and effective. If you can’t find the right person or if your hiring process just isn’t working then your firm will lose out in the long term. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to smooth any bumps in your hiring process.

Tips for hiring the right legal candidate

Follow these steps to help you get it right first time, every time:

  1. Act fast: When a candidate with an interest responds you must act swiftly. The longer you wait to get back to someone that shows an interest in working for your firm, the greater the risk of them being snapped up by the competition.
  2. Project your brand: Treat your potential employees like you would your clients – show them what’s so great about working with you and demonstrate that your firm is an attractive place to work. For a greater insight into employer branding our blog has everything you need to know.
  3. Avoid mistakes when hiring: It is absolutely crucial to get the hiring process right, not just from a business perspective, but from a legal perspective. While this is true of any organisation, it is especially true for law firms. We’re not teaching you to suck eggs here, but the importance of this cannot be overstated. Ensure that the person handling your recruitment is experienced and has a sharp eye for detail so that you won’t be exposed to accusations of discrimination or lack of due diligence. Not only do you not want to avoid hot water, the embarrassment factor of getting it wrong would be significant. Which takes us to our next point…
  4. Dodge recruiting blunders: Ensure that your recruitment agency is experienced and unlikely to make errors. Having an external recruitment provider cause an issue would be just as embarrassing and uncomfortable as if the mistake was made in-house.
  5. Be clear on how you will go about recruiting: Will the process be in-house or outsourced? Will there be a single point of contact within the firm, or will recruitment be handled by a group of people? Having a clear process in place ensures all parties know where they stand and will enable the firm to respond quickly to candidates, giving you the best chance of hiring the right person.
  6. Be transparent: If you’re going to attract the very best legal talent – and retain that talent – you need to be upfront and clear about everything: expectations, culture, the type of work available, salaries and bonuses. Any unexpected surprises could just put potential candidates off your firm, or see them jump ship shortly after joining you.
  7. Have a plan for the interview stage: A clear process for assessing candidates is crucial to screening the most suitable legal professionals.
  8. Ensure the recruiter understands the job spec: Nobody knows your staff or the vacant position you need to fill like you do. That’s why it’s so important to give a clear, detailed and accurate job description to whoever is doing your recruitment – especially if you’re handing the task over to an external recruiter. Ensure that they understand the job spec entirely, as being able to accurately represent your firm to prospective employees stands you in good stead for finding the solicitor with the skills and experience needed. Plus they’ll be able to filter out what you want to avoid. It may be a good idea to enlist the help of a reliable legal recruitment specialist who has experience of recruiting for the legal profession and is familiar with the intricacies of the sector.

Hiring the right person is tough for any organisation, especially so in the competitive climate of the legal profession. We hope these eight steps will make recruitment efficient and straightforward, so you can successfully appoint the right person to the post. Not only will a clear recruitment strategy and a trusted recruitment partner make the hiring process better, it’ll give your firm the boost it needs to thrive in the long term.

You might also like to read our blog on Talent pipelining for success, and if you’re looking to recruit now, get in touch with us by calling 01772 259121 or Register a Vacancy directly online.

Click the following link to download our latest report on trends in law: The 7 critical recruitment trends in law that will impact your talent pipeline in 2019.

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Talent pipelining for success

  • May 15, 2018

Developing robust and effective talent pipelines is vital for any legal firm looking to grow, or indeed not looking to fall behind the competition. However, according to research from Lee Hecht Harrison, a worrying 30% of employers describe their pipeline as poor or non-existent. But why is building long term relationships with potential employees so important and how can legal firms do it effectively?

The issue is particularly important in the current market because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find and recruit good people, at a time when a number of sectors, including law, are not only suffering from skills shortages, but the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is impacting hiring too. And in order to ensure your firm doesn’t reach a stage where it can’t find the talent it requires, the best practice is to build pipelines for all the areas you may potentially need staff in the short and long term future.

The importance of employer brand

By determining the gaps between available and needed talent, firms can identify the most effective strategies for acquiring and developing those individuals. After all, it’s not easy to tap into and engage with talent pools if they have no idea who you are or what you can do for them. In order to build up this relationship, professionals need to recognise and engage with your employer brand, which takes time. It can’t simply be done overnight.

By building an effective pipeline, your firm can shorten the length of time needed to fill positions, because it will likely already have a ‘warm’ relationship with people, meaning you won’t have to recruit from a standing start. It can also help you to engage with the enormous pool of passive talent in the UK. By developing a pipeline into your organisation you can engage with individuals who would be compatible with your firm, but aren’t necessarily ready to move right now.

Identifying future talent gaps

Another significant benefit of strategic recruitment like this is that it allows you to plan for your talent needs not just now, but years into the future. It’s highly likely that your firm could diversify and break into new specialisms or geographical locations, and employing professionals to work in these new departments and locations requires careful planning. If your firm plans to move into litigation, for example, you can build up relationships with talent in this field way before you’ll ever actually need to employ them. This means that when the time does come round to recruit, you will be prepared and ready, rather than scrabbling about looking to promote yourself to potential employees. It also allows you to gain a much greater insight into the people that you’re hiring and whether they would be a good cultural fit for your firm. Anyone can come across well in an interview, but by engaging and keeping a close on eye on the people in your pipeline, you’ll be able to see if they really would be a good match for your firm.

To read more insights from the team take a look at our other blogs. And if you’re seeking a recruitment partner we should be talking. Get in touch today to see how we can help your firm.

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