The 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market published by Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters confirms that, despite record profits, law firms still struggle to recruit and retain talent.
Many firms have tried to solve the talent problem by paying lawyers more money (and, inevitably, charging clients more and pushing lawyers to ever-higher billable targets). But this recruiting strategy has begun “to collide with lawyers’ evolving work preferences,” according to the Report. As a result, higher salaries are not increasing retention. In fact, attorney turnover has risen to record levels, with some firms losing almost a quarter of their associates last year.
Many firms seem to believe they are facing a supply problem, i.e., that there aren’t enough lawyers. But the reality is that firms are experiencing a lack of demand for what they offer. Firms that pay more money–but do not offer mentoring, work-life balance, or a realistic chance of ever joining the equity partner ranks–will still struggle to find and retain talent.