Recently, the Lawyers Weekly reported that the risk of attrition in new lawyers is quite high with many leaving their firms in the early years of their employment. These figures come from the Legal Firm of Choice Survey (2019) by Momentum Intelligence, who found that nearly 40% of lawyers with less than a year’s experience intend to leave their current employer, whilst more than 50% of those with one to three years’ experience felt the same.
All of this research suggests that new young lawyers are becoming disillusioned very quickly, once they enter the workforce, so how can we reduce this attrition and encourage them to remain with their firms? After all, as stated by Momentum Head of Research Michael Johnson in Lawyers Weekly, law is a highly competitive market, attracting the best of the best, so it pays law firms to ensure that their lawyers are happy in their work and fully onboard with their firm.
The above mentioned research also found that the firm’s culture, leadership, recognition of an individual’s performance, and support of their employee’s mental and physical wellbeing are all drivers that influence the satisfaction rates of new young lawyers. You might have noticed that pay rates wasn’t included in these drivers, so clearly for new young lawyers, money doesn’t always equal happiness at work.
So how can you reduce the attrition of young lawyers at your firm? The solution is to provide the type of environment that young lawyers need to flourish and feel vindicated in selecting your firm in the first place.
Create a positive work environment
The culture of your firm must be one that supports young lawyers, helping them to gain experience and knowledge, knowing that they are a vital part of your team. Unfortunately, a positive work environment comes from the top, so if the leadership in your firm doesn’t actively support new young lawyers, attrition rates will continue to be high.
Quality leadership is an essential component of a positive workplace, so it’s the principal lawyers who need to set the tone for everyone else in the firm. It doesn’t take much to recognise the effort and long hours that a young lawyer has spent on a recent case, so why not recognise this effort with a simple ‘thank you’?
Parke Lawyers realise the future is just as important as the present and ensure young law graduates are given mentoring and knowledgeable advice in a range of legal areas, so they remain passionate from the get go.
Offering young lawyers the opportunity to broaden their skills is another way that leaders can encourage their lawyers to be the best they can be, and clearly it’s something that influences young lawyers in their employment decisions. Encouraging team building activities and weekly lunch catchups are both strategies where people can mingle and start to learn more about each other in a more relaxed setting, leading to a better workplace culture.
Supporting the physical and mental health of young lawyers is also important and can be achieved easily by adding a treadmill or a stationary bike in the lunch room, maybe installing bike racks for those who cycle to work, or even allowing them more flexi time so that they can attend the gym on the way to work. There’s also a lot to be said for a suggestion box!
Whilst each firm will work differently, it doesn’t take much to help your employees feel wanted and appreciated. Lawyers are no different to anyone else in the workforce, so why not ask them how you can make their time with your firm happier and more satisfying for them?