Take steps now to be a victor in the ongoing war for legal talent

As needs for legal services become increasingly complex and sophisticated, law firms must attract and retain talent that has not only the requisite intellectual and legal skills, but also keen business acumen.

More than ever before, the legal world will compete with the corporate world to attract, retain and develop top talent. Until recently, too many law firms have regarded their people from the perspective of “what have you done for me (and my clients) today?” rather than, “what can the firm do for you today so that tomorrow we can provide greater value to our clients?” For years the corporate world has recognized that financial success is derived from the best and brightest talent. Law firms need to emulate this approach and invest as much attention in developing the careers of their professionals as they do in their client relationships.

The war for legal talent will continue unabated for the foreseeable future. This is due in large part to a projected 15% decrease in the number of 35 to 44-year olds in the United States over the next 15 years. This scarcity will put added pressure on law firms to attract and retain younger, capable associates who can fill the gap. In addition, hyper-competition for top-tier, experienced talent will occur as work continues to become more complex and specialized. At the same time, lateral hiring will become increasingly necessary for firms that want to grow.