Here are a few ways to attract and keep the best candidates without compromising your firm's financial future.
Recruit and Hire Within Your Budget
An understanding of your firm's strategic vision and how to fulfill it is essential when dealing with burgeoning salaries. Your business depends on sound financial planning – it is important not to overextend by paying more than you can afford.
You can begin by enlarging your pool of available candidates. Naturally, every firm would like the top graduates out of the very best institutions. Yet excellent attorneys graduate every year from outstanding law schools and universities around the country. Consider expanding your recruiting efforts beyond the traditional top 10–20 percent of graduates from top-tier law schools. An attorney from a local law program or a lawyer looking to relocate to the region could be a valued staff member for a long time, given his or her interest in the community.
Also, use more qualitative criteria to assess what makes an attorney a good fit for your office. Look for attributes the firm prizes by deciding on the qualities that you want to foster, and hire based on who will best fit your needs and culture. Are most of your clients high-tech pioneers? Or is your client base rooted in traditional markets? Do your current attorneys work weekends regularly and is such a work schedule expected from new lawyers? You want associates who understand the requirements and are a good match for your firm's corporate culture and client base.
Turnover is costly and avoidable. You will save valuable time and money by hiring attorneys who likely will remain with your firm for several years or more. You can build loyalty by taking steps to keep your associates happy from their first day in the office.
Firm management should also promote the soft side of associate compensation to attorneys. For example, flexible work schedules are becoming more and more common in law firms. With today's technology, lawyers are able to telecommute from home.
Along with flexible scheduling options, there are other steps you can take to make your office more comfortable, such as instituting a business casual dress policy where appropriate.
By demonstrating that you value attorney contributions and by making your firm’s culture more attractive, your chances for locating and retaining qualified associates can significantly increase without costing you a fortune.