Securing the best talent for your law firm

As your career progresses so too does your interest in what you can learn from your peers and business leaders in others sectors of the economy, the methods they use, approaches they take and the qualities they possess to make them successful.

But one of the greatest challenges you face as you continue your ascent up the career ladder is how to choose the right people to work with you.

When Harriet Green was asked in an interview what advice she wishes she had been given early on in her career, the former CEO of Thomas Cook said: “Always surround yourself with people who are better than you. Whatever it is that you are not – surround yourself with them”.

Green, now CEO at IBM Watson, added that the secret to being a successful leader is “resilience, agility, and ability to lead speedy change: to be good with people.” After all, this is a woman who saved Britain’s oldest travel agency from the brink of bankruptcy and transformed it into a profit-making enterprise in the space of just two years. So she knows a thing or two about getting the most out of her people – the right people.

And that is the key – ensuring that you have the right people in place of course.

Recruiting new legal talent is a tough job – get it wrong and costs both in terms of time and money can be significant. Indeed, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development puts the average cost of a poor hiring decision at between £12,000-£27,000 per hire.

However, you can limit this risk and increase your chances of securing the right people.

One of the traps that many law firms slip into is not doing enough homework on each candidate being considered for a role. Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can provide a wealth of insight into the professional background and personality of the applicant, so check them out because trust us – they’ll be doing the same to you.

You also need to be very clear not just about the nature of the role but also your expectations of the person who will fill it. Knowing you need ‘someone’ is not good enough, be specific in what you are looking for in an individual so as to ensure they are a true fit for your team.

But before you even consider allowing a candidate into the room, make sure you have prepared your questions in advance. Remember, the candidate is assessing if your firm is right for them as much as you are assessing if they are a good fit for you. So think about the sort of questions that will unearth all you need to know about their suitability for the role.

Once you think you have found the person you want, don’t faff – make the offer quickly. Too many law firms delay making an offer because they need to “discuss” it with colleagues, but this doesn’t do anyone any favours.

The legal sector is becoming increasingly competitive and law firms are vying with one another to secure the best legal talent. Expecting candidates to undergo such a drawn out recruitment process is counter-intuitive. After all, if they are as good as you believe they are, they will be snapped up soon enough by someone else.

Having practised law for over 20 years for some of the regions largest and most respected law firms, we have seen at first hand the different ways that some practices approach the interview process. If you need support with your recruitment process, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.