Top Legal Talent is Costly and Hard to Find


Whether you’re a massive firm who needs to continue operating at maximum capacity, or you’re a small firm that needs to an extra hand or two due to rapid growth, the legal talent you hire ultimately determines your fate as a business.

The Cost of Attorney Recruitment

For law firms, recruiting top legal talent can be costly. The amount of time and resources that are poured into finding the right fit for your firm can undermine your business and detract from the bottom line. A 2014 report conducted by Right Profile and JD Match concluded that “the costs of attorney recruiting and attrition are taking an ever-increasing toll on each firm’s bottom line. The nation’s largest law firms spend billions of dollars each year to recruit, train, and ultimately lose lawyers from their ranks.”

In fact, when an attorney leaves a firm, the cost to the firm ranges from $400,000 to more than $800,000 (for experienced attorneys). Additionally, talent turnover costs the legal industry roughly $9.1 billion annually in just the 400 largest firms in the United States. With numbers this astronomical, it’s no surprise that firms are increasingly suffering financially when it comes to recruitment and attrition.

Finding the Right Legal Talent

Understanding whether a candidate is the right fit for your firm is another challenging piece of the recruitment puzzle. The right candidate must have the appropriate balance of technical skills, soft skills and personality traits that fit in with your firm’s needs and culture. This can be difficult to determine from a resume, and typical interviews also rarely identify them.

While it is difficult to do, law firms must make recruiting top priority. Regardless of your firm's approach, it is likely that there is an opportunity to manage your firm's current recruiting efforts even better. A good first step is to create a recruitment plan that includes goals, criteria for success, clear processes and procedures, and a realistic timeline with important deadlines or milestones for your ideal hire. This will help you identify what kind of talent you require in order to meet your clients’ demands.

And, because today’s law firms aren’t restricted by geography in terms of who they can hire, it’s important to ensure that you know which criteria you’ll be evaluating potential hires on -- and seeing how you can measure this at a distance. Use video interviews to connect and get a better feel for personality, passion, and cultural fit. Conducting live video interviews where you actually get to talk face-to-face with your interviewee is ideal, but if that isn’t feasible, you can also have candidates record video answers to a list of questions you send them.

When considering recruiting goals, perhaps staying flexible is the right strategy, in which case you may consider hiring contract attorneys. In finding and retaining top legal talent, there are tools that can match you with the right person for the job. Hire an Esquire gives you online access to a network of screened and vetted attorneys and a powerful recommendation engine. Each attorney’s detailed profile allows you to look past the typical resume you’d normally have to comb through, giving you a better idea of the person’s qualifications before you even reach out and talk to them.

By taking a more strategic approach to recruitment, you will ultimately save time and money, while ensuring your firm has the talent it needs to thrive.