Monday, 13 November 2017 09:55

Retaining talent ‘biggest issue’ facing legal sector

Motivating and attracting young lawyers – in the face of competition from corporations and hedge funds – can be difficult with the result that the legal sector needs to convince new recruits to buy into its values and philosophy

 Retaining and attracting talent is the biggest issue the legal services sector currently faces, according to the conclusions of the recent Iberian Lawyer Legal Summit in Barcelona. Attendees at the event debated the question of whether clients, technology or talent was the biggest challenge facing the sector and identified motivating young lawyers as one of the major difficulties the profession has to overcome.
Participants in the event – which was sponsored by iManage and Lexsoft – heard that members of the newest generation of lawyers do not necessarily have the same career aspirations as their predecessors. For example, it was pointed out that some young lawyers are not driven by the desire to make partner. Furthermore, attendees were told that young lawyers today view older generations in the profession as “slaves”, who spend too much time in the office and too little time with their families.

Shorter-term perspective
Law firms are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the brightest graduates, attendees heard. Cuatrecasas partner Héctor Bros (pictured left) said that law firms now “face many competitors for talent, including corporations and hedge funds”. Consequently, when attempting to attract young lawyers to your organisation, it is vital that you convince them to buy into its “values and philosophy”, participants were told. It was also concluded that the effect of the changing aspirations of younger lawyers is that, when it comes to careers, they have a shorter-term perspective. Attendees also heard that, while the ‘millennial’ generation are happy to contribute to the success of their law firm, they also expect to have that contribution properly recognised.

New career path
It was also suggested that the legal sector should have a rethink about how it structures the careers of young lawyers. Members of the millennial generation “need a different career path”, remarked one participant. It was also suggested that the legal sector needed more guidance and information about how best to manage and motivate ‘millennial’ lawyers. One attendee summed up the key challenge as how best to “enhance internal motivation”. Succession planning within some in-house legal departments was also raised as an issue with some general counsel facing the problem of having to replace aging teams.

Reducing legal fees
With regard to the issue of technology, participants were told that clients are using technology to reduce the costs associated with legal services. Michael Willisch (pictured right), the head of Davis Polk’s Madrid office, said that clients are using technology to “better control legal spend and internalise legal services”. This trend is having the effect of reducing legal fees, though attendees heard that clients are prepared to pay higher fees if they perceive they are getting good value. Meanwhile, participants were also told that if law firms use technology to improve the “legal discovery” process, they are then able to reduce prices for clients. However, it was also pointed out that the use of technology also has an impact on law firms’ headcount in the sense that there is a “reduction in the number of the people needed to do the job”.

Posing risks
Technology can only improve the service provided by lawyers if it is properly harnessed, the event heard. “IT is an opportunity [for lawyers] if they learn how to use it,” said Asier Crespo (pictured left), Spain and Portugal legal director at Microsoft. Meanwhile, other participants argued that artificial intelligence will be useful for law firms in the future as it will allow them to save time.
Yet the greater use of technology will also pose considerable risks for law firms. Participants highlighted that the way in which “technology and regulation intersect” means there are dangers related to the protection of data.

Convincing clients
Other event attendees argued that, while technology is an “important tool”, the real challenges facing law firms are client-related. One participant remarked that one of the biggest issues was how to “convey added value” to in-house legal departments. It was also argued that, in general, there needs to be more communication between lawyers and their clients.
From the clients’ perspective, it was pointed out that some in-house legal departments are now “internalising high-value work” and only going to external counsel for more simple, straightforward matters. “What clients want is value added and secondments,” one participant said.

Watch videos here:

Legal Summit part 1: What are the biggest challenges facing legal services? Clients, Talent or Technology?

Legal Summit part 2: What are the biggest challenges facing legal services? Clients, Talent or Technology?

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2
3
4
9
10
11
12
13
15
16
17
18
19
23
24
25
26
27
29
30
   

Click image

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the IberianLawyer website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more

I agree

What do I need to know about cookies?

A cookie is a small text file that’s stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit a website. We use them to:

  • Remember your preferences
  • Tailor our sites to your interests.

There are different types of cookies

First party cookies

These are set by the website you’re visiting. And only that website can read them.  In addition, a website might use a separate company to analyse how people are using their site. And this separate company will set their own cookie to do this.

Third party cookies

These are set by someone other than the owner of the website you’re visiting. 

Some IberianLawyer web pages may also contain content from other sites like Vimeo or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. Also, if you Share a link to a IberianLawyer page, the service you share it on (e.g. Facebook) may set a cookie on your browser.

The IberianLawyer has no control over third party cookies.

Advertising cookies

Some websites use advertising networks to show you specially targeted adverts when you visit. These networks may also be able to track your browsing across different sites.

IberianLawyer site do use advertising cookies but they won’t track your browsing outside the IberianLawyer.

Session cookies

These are stored while you’re browsing. They get deleted from your device when you close your browser e.g. Internet Explorer or Safari.

Persistent cookies

These are saved on your computer. So they don’t get deleted when you close your browser.

We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.

Other tracking technologies

Some sites use things like web beacons, clear GIFs, page tags and web bugs to understand how people are using them and target advertising at people.

They usually take the form of a small, transparent image, which is embedded in a web page or email. They work with cookies and capture data like your IP address, when you viewed the page or email, what device you were using and where you were.

How does the Iberian Lawyer use cookies?

We use different types of cookies for different things, such as:

  • Analysing how you use the IberianLawyer
  • Giving you a better, more personalised experience
  • Recognising when you’ve signed in

Strictly Necessary cookies

These cookies let you use all the different parts of Iberian Lawyer. Without them services that you have asked for cannot be provided.

Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • Signing into the IberianLawyer
  • Remembering previous actions such as text entered into a registration form when navigating back to a page in the same session
  • Remembering security settings which restrict access to certain content.

Performance cookies

These help us understand how people are using the IberianLawyer online, so we can make it better. And they let us try out different ideas.
We sometimes get other companies to analyse how people are using the IberianLawyer online. These companies may set their own performance cookies You can opt out of these cookies here.Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • To collect information about which web pages visitors go to most often so we can improve the online experience
  • Error management to make sure that the website is working properly
  • Testing designs to help improve the look and feel of the website.
Cookie nameWhat it's for
Google DoubleClick The IberianLawyer uses Google DoubleClick to measure the effectiveness of its online marketing campaigns.Opt-out of DoubleClick cookies
Google Analytics From time to time some IberianLawyer online services, including mobile apps, use Google Analytics. This is a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics sets a cookie in order to evaluate use of those services and compile a report for us.Opt-out of Google Analytics cookies