What It’s Worth

What It’s Worth

5 Methods for Retaining Young Lawyers at Your Firm

Author: Jason Dudley, EVP, Commercial Loan Officer
Published Date: 9/26/2019

Firms spend time and money on young lawyers, from recruiting to onboarding to training. As a result, it can get expensive when an associate leaves and firms must reinvest to hire another. Estimates state that law firm turnover costs the legal industry nearly $1 billion annually.

In order to run your optimal law firm, you must put time, thought, and care not only into which tools and software you adopt, but also your people. Firms that know how to connect with and motivate young lawyers will benefit from an inspired and harmonious workforce. Following are five methods firm leadership can implement to reduce the turnover of younger lawyers.

1. Create an Engaging Culture

Law firms must create cultures that allow young lawyers to feel supported, develop skills, connect with mentors, and receive meaningful feedback on a regular basis. Law firms can create an engaging culture by staying attuned to the latest innovations in the industry and offering the proper guidance and career development to associates.

Being open to innovation and early adoption of technology are two surefire ways to attract and retain the interest of associates. Young lawyers want to leverage technology to solve problems whether through the use of personal devices or time-saving apps they can use to collaborate within the workplace.

Creating a physical space for collaboration and socialization also contributes to an engaging culture. A lounge area or library provides books and other reference materials in a relaxed setting. In addition, young lawyers thrive on continual feedback and honest dialogue. Firms that foster inclusiveness and make sure to give individual employees a voice will win over millennials.

Once your culture is established, you must reinforce and reward behaviors that support the culture to create a community of connectedness between associates, partners, and staff.

2. Give Back Through the Practice of Law

Today’s young lawyers want to make a difference in the world through the practice of law. The impact they can make through their legal work often matters more than having an important title and a large paycheck.

You can cater to young lawyers’ desires to do good by offering meaningful pro bono work. Firms are also reframing their practice areas to focus on a higher purpose: justice, not just billable hours.

Winning over associates can be as simple as exhibiting a genuine desire to help your community and actively giving back. Firms that donate money and have volunteer programs in place are enticing to young lawyers who want their work to be meaningful and want to feel they are making a large-scale impact on the world.

3. Support & Mentor

Law firms have learned they can keep young associates by providing mentoring and training programs that include professional development opportunities, coaching services, career planning, stress management workshops, and CLE training options. These kinds of firm-wide training and mentoring programs make young lawyers an integral part of the team early in their careers while also providing proof that their firm wants to invest in them.

Executive coaching offers young lawyers the opportunity to define their career goals and path. This kind of coaching is particularly helpful in reducing turnover and ensuring associates reach their goals as it promotes meaningful career success aligned with the associates’ values and strengths.

4. Be Open to Alternative Career Paths

Some young lawyers may seek alternative career paths to a partner position. Providing those career paths within your firm could help you keep a young lawyer longer. Roles in HR, professional development, firm business management, and technology are a few of the alternative paths offered. Allowing associates to work in different practice areas affords them the opportunity to experience different kinds of matters and learn additional skills.

5. Let Associates Be People, Not Just Lawyers

Lawyers have other interests outside the office that contribute to their effectiveness in their legal career. When firms give their associates time to manage their personal lives, they work more efficiently and productively. A strong balance between work and life significantly reduces turnover.

A number of firms offer flexibility in work location and the option of nontraditional hours. This allows for creative lawyering focused on process and results, not billable hours. Reducing focus on the billable hour is often a precursor to flexibility in law firms.

Preserving Your Assets

Understanding the nuances of your employees’ psyches is important to improving satisfaction and reducing turnover. By simply understanding the value young lawyers bring to the firm and providing them with the tools they need to succeed, your firm will excel in the legal marketplace.

Our experienced team at PlainsCapital is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to help you reach your business goals. For personal insight and support to help your firm take the next step, call a PlainsCapital representative today at 866.762.8392.

Tags: Commercial Banking