How To Improve Employee Retention Rates At Your Law Firm


How To Improve Employee Retention Rates At Your Law Firm


A 2020 study, curated from data provided by over 900 law firms, found that, on average, firms lose around 15 associates for every 20 they hire. As a result, the attrition rate within the legal field falls significantly below the national average. These statistics are hardly surprising when you consider the fast-paced, competitive nature of the industry – meaning that it’s only natural for employees to want to progress quickly. 

However, poor employee retention can spell disaster for your law firm – for various reasons. For example: 

  • Hiring new employees requires a great deal of time, effort, and resources – not to mention the fact that it can be costly. 
  • New employees often require additional training and support to complete their work. 
  • Clients may form a personal relationship with their lawyer, resulting in them turning elsewhere in the future. 
  • A high turnover rate could discourage talented applicants from working with you. 

As a result, if you want to be able to successfully navigate some of the biggest challenges that law firms face and grow your firm, you need to start thinking seriously about employee retention. 

With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to get started! 

Give your employees the opportunity to grow. 

Working within the legal field requires constant growth. As a result, everyone from junior-level employees to partners needs access to the appropriate support, training, and facilities required to further their knowledge and expertise. Failure to provide this within your firm will quickly lead to dissatisfaction, meaning that employees are likely to begin their job search once again. Thankfully, there are various ways to facilitate growth at both a personal and professional level. 

  • Whenever you make a new hire, provide them with a clear time frame for how they can expect to progress within the company. While this may not be set in stone, giving them a vague idea of when they can expect a raise or promotion is a great way to manage expectations. This also serves as an excellent incentive for them to work to a high standard.
  • Subsidize the cost of any additional training or classes they may want to complete regarding their legal training. Not only does this give your employees a chance to develop their skills, but it also works to the benefit of your firm as your staff has more credentials under their belt. 
  • Put together in-house mentoring or shadowing schemes, where newer staff members can shadow more experienced or senior members of the team. This gives them a chance to learn important skills while on the job and can help them take great leaps in their career. 

Don’t overwork your staff.

Burnout is often cited as a key reason why employees (within any sector) begin to seek out new employment. As a result, you should ensure that you take all necessary steps to ensure that your employees are not overworked. This can be achieved by: 

  • Delegating work fairly across the task force, ensuring that no employee has more duties than can reasonably complete within their working hours. 
  • Ensure that overtime is fairly compensated – if not paid, offer time off in lieu. This helps develop a better working culture across the board, ensuring that employees have a break to recover from long workdays or high-pressure situations. 
  • Give your employees the chance to focus on what they are good at by outsourcing work when appropriate. For example, you can outsource accounting services so that your employees can spend more time focusing on cases and client relations than finances and bookkeeping. 
  • Ensure that your employees feel comfortable approaching you should they find their workload is too high. Host regular meetings where they can give feedback. 

Give them plenty of reasons to work for you.

If you want your employees to stick around long-term, you have to give them a reason to work for your company. This goal can be achieved by re-assessing your company culture – while a bit of competition between employees can be fruitful – you should also ensure that it remains constructive. In short, you need to complete a workplace environment where staff feel appreciated, supported, and respected. However, there are plenty of other ways in which you can encourage employees to stick around. This includes: 

  • Ensuring that your rate of pay stands up against other firms. In a field as fast-paced as law, being competitive is key. However, so long as your employees are fairly and appropriately compensated for their work, you should not run into any problems. 
  • Invest in your staff’s wellbeing outside of the workplace. For example, many firms now offer employees free well-being services, such as healthcare appointments or therapy. 
  • Offer bonuses or raises when possible, especially when employees have gone above and beyond in their work. 
  • Demonstrate your appreciation for your employees regularly – whether you host events or simply offer verbal praise to an employee that has done a good job. 

In short, there are various ways to begin to tackle poor employee retention rates within your company. However, if you are unsure of what steps to take – you should begin by simply having a conversation with your employees. Encourage them to be as honest as possible about why they may not be happy at your firm – and allow them to submit this feedback anonymously, so they feel confident enough to speak out. This feedback will help you decide how to progress forward and demonstrate to your employees that you truly care about them.