With the tech boom and the drastic expansion of Silicon Valley in the last decade alone, it is no surprise that so many companies are in need of legal teams and assistants of their own. With the demand so high, legal professionals have more choice and flexibility than ever when it comes to finding a firm that prioritizes diversity and issues that are close to home.
If you are in the process of recruiting legal professionals, incorporating your own working recruiting strategies can mean the difference between retaining top talent and missing out on potential opportunities entirely.
Here are seven smart recruitment strategies for hiring legal professionals.
1. Establish Your Case
Hiring and retaining legal professionals at your company or firm is not always as simple as choosing the most qualified candidate. Today, legal professionals in all areas of expertise have more flexibility and independence than ever, allowing them to say no to offers that do not suit them.
Simply offering a high salary is not always enough to attract high talent. In order to recruit the best of the best when it comes to legal professionals today, you will need to establish your case and demonstrate why your place of work is the best fit for them.
For instance, are you focused heavily on taking pro bono cases, or do you work with special non-profit organizations that may appeal to sentimental and philanthropic legal professionals? Consider the angle you will take as a legal firm or company when you begin your search for legal representation in your own firm or company.
2. Address any Potential Implicit Bias
The hiring process can be challenging, especially if you have demands for the candidates you are interested in hiring. Whenever you are running a law firm or you are in need of legal representation, it is important to establish the importance of competence, speed, and agility with any candidates you interview.
While it is essential not to discriminate against any candidate based on their age, it is important to stress which attributes are necessary to complete the job effectively and efficiently on a daily basis.
Searching for diversity, yet competence and capability are entirely acceptable, especially in a setting where the law must be adhered to and followed at all times, especially by those representing it. Setting expectations upfront can also prevent potential communication issues or preventable conflicts from arising in the future.
3. Establish your Remote and In-House Work Policy Upfront
After the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, many companies implemented a work-from-home policy that allowed the majority of workers the ability to enjoy the perks of remote work at some point or another. However, today, many companies are beginning to revert to in-house work, eliminating remote work opportunities for employees altogether.
Depending on your own company’s policies, it is highly advisable to inform prospective employees who are in the onboarding process of your current remote or in-house work policies. Some legal professionals may expect the ability to work remotely on-demand or as they please if they are unaware of workplace requirements otherwise.
Informing those in the onboarding process of your remote or in-house work policy can help prevent confusion or upset once the hiring process is complete. Establish clear working boundaries and policies upfront to also reduce absences and no-shows.
4. Don’t Always Rely on Salary Surveys
Even if you check surveys that are released regularly, they are not always accurate and/or up to date with the times. In the legal industry, salaries are exploding at an exponential rate. Rather than relying on potentially old or outdated surveys, turn to a more modern methodology or source. You should also compare local firms and existing positions in your region to determine the ongoing rate for legal professionals who are seeking roles that you are currently promoting.
It is also important to keep in mind that not all legal professionals are searching to fill a role solely for compensation or a high salary. In order to appeal to prospective legal professionals of high caliber, you may need to provide additional benefits or workplace perks.
Offering vacation time and cash bonuses or promoting the protection of non-profits or volunteer organizations can all lend to building a solid reputation for your own business, organization, or law firm.
5. Choose to Hire a Search Firm Over a Staffing Firm or Agency
If you are unsure of where you begin when it comes to finding the right legal professional for your firm or organization, you may be tempted to immediately turn to a staffing agency. However, this is not always the most optimal solution, as staffing firms may be limited to the number of candidates they have available in their own staffing ‘pools’, depending on the staffing agency you choose.
Rather than going with a standard staffing agency, one alternative path to consider includes working together with a search firm. Search firms not only have access to qualified legal professional candidates who are currently in the process of looking for work, but they also reach out to candidates who may not be actively looking but are extremely qualified.
Search firms will work with you to find legal professional candidates who are not only a solid fit for your organization but those who are also well-qualified to take on the roles you have available, even if they are not actively job-seeking at the moment. Search firms will also take on a more proactive role when it comes to reaching out and directly communicating with those who may be interested in the position you are currently promoting within your own law firm or company.
6. Don’t Wait
One of the biggest mistakes any recruiter or hiring agent can make is waiting too long to make a move on a potential candidate, even if they are not currently actively seeking work in the job market.
If you see a candidate who is qualified and well-suited for the role you have available, do not pass up the chance to make an introduction or to work with your search firm to make direct contact. Contacting your prospective hires as quickly as possible is essential in the ultra-competitive hiring market of legal professionals.
7. Be Prepared for a Counteroffer
As the legal industry explodes with diversity and plenty of opportunities, it is not out of the realm of possibility that you will receive counteroffers from potential candidates you are interested in hiring. Prepare yourself for potential counteroffers that you may receive, as legal professionals today have more say in the salary, benefits, and perks they are interested in with each role they take on and assume.
If you are in the process of hiring legal professionals in any capacity, it is important to prepare potential counteroffer responses ahead of time. You should prepare a potential salary cap that you are willing to meet as well as any other competitive benefits that you are willing to provide to new legal professionals you are interested in hiring.
Recruiting a new legal team or a freelance legal professional for any reason does not have to feel overwhelming or extremely complicated. Once you are familiar with how you intend to present the position you have available, you can then begin seeking legal professional candidates who are suitable.
The more comfortable you are with expressing your needs as a recruiting agent or representative for your organization, the easier it will be to find legal professionals who are a genuine fit for the role(s) you have readily available to fill.