It’s that time of year again … and many law firms are investing a lot of time, effort and money into attracting the best and brightest new graduates and summer clerks. Slick mass marketing campaigns, attendance at multiple university career fairs, managing huge intakes of applications, not to mention hours and hours of time screening, interviewing, reference checking etc. We get it! It’s fun, great for the firm brand and makes sense for the business – there is no substitute for finding the shiniest new talent and ‘growing your own’ future stars. Many of these handpicked juniors will go on to become future partners so selecting the best young lawyers is critical for your firm’s ongoing success.
However, it is inevitable that some of these handpicked juniors will eventually leave the firm and vacancies will be created at other levels within the firm. What happens then? A mass marketing campaign, hours of HR and partner time invested in filling that gap? Unlikely. It’s more likely that the firm will simply place a job advertisement on their website, possibly on LinkedIn and a few job boards. Recruitment agencies may be called upon to assist. The firm will then sit and hope that some good quality candidates will apply. We know these traditional talent sourcing models no longer work, even for the most well-known brands.
Law firms do not seem to invest the same time and effort into securing the same quality of candidates at the higher levels of their organisations. This is intriguing, especially when one considers the immediate impact of new lateral hires. From day one (or not long after) these experienced new hires will be interacting and providing service to clients, mentoring those handpicked juniors and instantly having an influence on your firm’s culture.
The passive ‘sit and wait’ approach to securing senior talent seems in direct contrast to the active strategy to hire great junior lawyers. It brings a number of risks – not the least of which is having to survive lengthy periods with inadequately resourced teams. Under-resourcing puts pressure on existing staff and their workloads, leading to greater risk of burnout and further resignations, and may have an impact on the quality and timeliness of client work. The other major risk with this traditional model is that your firm may not end up hiring the best person for the role.
What’s the alternative? How can law firms ensure consistency of talent quality at every level of the organisation? We encourage firms to take a much more proactive approach. This means actively taking steps to develop a pipeline of the best possible people (those you’ve identified with the exact skills you need and will likely be a great fit or addition to your culture) and building relationships with these people well in advance of needing to place them in a vacancy. By doing this, you’ll have top quality senior talent (or talent at every level!) ready to fit into the organisation when you need it.
Changing your mindset and adapting your approach to lateral hiring in this way will ensure the calibre of your senior hires more closely matches the quality of your carefully selected junior talent. It will also safeguard the consistency and quality of your firm’s culture and client service delivery.
Connect with us at Insource to see how we can help https://insource.nz/contact/.