Hiring and practice expansions in the legal industry will continue to grow as law firms adjust to new environments by adopting changes suitable for the new normal.
FREMONT, CA:Although the past few years defied expectations for the legal industry, the coming years are likely to introduce new growth. The industry is preparing for the challenges ahead, with its leaders being relatively cautious. However, the best-run law firms and law departments will continue to invest in the future and focus on the development and retention of the talent they have worked hard to recruit.
Litigation, regulatory practices, and real estate will continue to grow. The combination of focused regional and specific practice area growth and narrowly focused geographic downturns will cancel each other out and cause the industry and law firm profits to remain flat. In this situation, law firm leaders should prioritise long-term strategy and growth even as companies and legal departments try to mitigate the slowdown's impact. Law firms are much better run today than they were during the last recession. The best organisation will allow short-term profits to drive long-term decisions. Investment in training, development, and talent mentoring is crucial as they learn to adapt to a new normal resulting from the pandemic, the economy, and remote work.
Return-to-office mandates and work-from-home policies are gaining traction in the legal sector. Although businesses and firms now have more leverage with employees than ever before, the majority of legal firms are concerned about returning to full-time work. Many organisations are trying to take a harder line for the benefit of culture and development. However, there is little evidence that firms are meaningfully enforcing these directives. If companies overplay their leverage with associates, the attorneys may seek more flexible work opportunities when given the opportunity.
Talent retention should remain a priority in the leaders’ minds. This begins with imbibing a strong workplace culture and supportive environment. Attorneys will have more break time between home and the office, with some working fully remotely permanently. Talented attorneys will find ways to sharpen their skills and seek learning opportunities regardless of where they work.
For instance, global law firms have been running distributed teams as clients leverage the best lawyers in a company, irrespective of their location. Transcending geographic location is established in the structure and business model of law firms, which explains why they were so quickly able to overcome lockdowns and pandemic restrictions compared to other industries.
In previous years, the legal industry achieved record profits. There is a significant opportunity for law firm leaders to apply lessons from the pandemic and make essential investments to position their firms and lawyers for long-term success. The firms looking to thrive during the changing landscape will continue to outpace their peers in the coming years.