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2019 Law Firm HR Trends

2019 is shaping up to be a solid year for law firms, according to midyear reports compiled by Wells Fargo, Thomson Reuters, and Citi Private Bank. Here are some 2019 law firm HR trends that will likely carry into 2020:

Firm Challenges

The Multi-Generational Workforce – Today the typical law firm has four generations of employees. This law firm HR trend can be a challenge. HR must balance a generation gap of more than 50 years. These differences include attitude, culture, and expectations. 

Inter-Firm Poaching – Finding skilled legal professionals is at an all-time high. Some firms poach a senior attorney or two. Other firms may plunder an entire practice group. It is more important than ever to have effective retention programs. 

Growing Practice Areas

Cybersecurity – There is an increased demand for attorneys who specialize in cybersecurity. Blockchain technology, data privacy regulations, and heightened security measures are contributing to this law firm HR trend. 

E-Discovery – The paper trail is now the data trail. Corporations must navigate an ocean of ESI to locate and preserve information. Experienced E-discovery attorneys will continue to be in high demand. 

Cannabis Legalization – Cannabis is now legal in over half the U.S. Law firms must stay current on state and federal enforcement policies.

Green Law – Environmental law or green law is a growing practice area. Many law firms are establishing sub-practices in fair trade, renewable energy, green building, and climate change.

In-Demand Candidates

Tech-Savvy Legal Support Staff – Legal professionals at all levels need strong computer skills. Litigation experience, document management, and E-discovery experience are in demand. This law firm HR trend is important to run a law firm.

Lateral Hires – Many firms use lateral hires to grow practice areas. Consider enlisting professional help to attract quality attorneys. 

Temporary or Project Professionals – The majority of major law firms now use temporary or project attorneys. These qualified workers are cost-effective and help firms meet fluctuating caseloads.

Changing Compensation Packages

Money Matters – Money is often the first thing a candidate will consider. Law firms need to make sure salaries are competitive. Offering bonuses is also attractive to candidates. Other financial perks might include student debt repayment, retirement savings plans, and profit-sharing programs. 

Continued Development – Millennial workers want a defined career path and development opportunities. For older workers and support staff, continued training will maintain the firm’s competitiveness. 

Work-Life Balance – The legal profession is known for high rates of burnout. Some of the most requested items in compensation packages have to do with work-life balance: flexible hours, alternative work arrangements, telecommuting, part-time work, phased retirement, temporary leave, or compressed schedules. 

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