Collier Legal Search

Legal Hiring Practices in 2021

Hiring looks different in 2021.

A global pandemic, a fragile economy, and combative politics have set the stage for a bumpy road to recovery in 2021. For law firms, COVID-19 forced a dramatic change in operations. Many firm leaders took the opportunity to reassess entrenched systems and eliminate inefficiencies that have festered for years. To survive, firms had to run leaner and smarter than ever before.

As the economy recovers and businesses ramp back up, law firms expect an increase in corporate litigation, seen in the form of broken contracts, fractured supply chains, bankrupt companies, and challenged agreements. Law firms and legal departments must adapt their hiring processes to meet the unique demands of 2021.

Here’s what you need to know about legal hiring practices in 2021.

A Shift in the Hiring Landscape

  • Candidate-Driven Market – In early 2020, the hiring landscape tilted in favor of candidates. Hiring managers couldn’t find quality employees, and positions went unfilled for months.
  • Employer-Driven Market – The pandemic caused layoffs and furloughs in nearly every sector of the economy. There are now more qualified candidates chasing fewer job openings. Employers have several advantages when there is a surplus of candidates. Companies have more leverage to negotiate salaries, and they can be more selective. However, hiring managers can quickly get overwhelmed by the high volume of applicants in an employer-driven job market.


Changes in Hiring Practices

In 2020, businesses changed their legal hiring practices and onboarding processes. Most hiring managers plan to continue some of the remote methods in 2021:

  • Pre-screening assessments – With an abundance of candidates, speed is critical in sifting through the applicants. Automated questionnaires at the very start can identify workers with the right experience. Aptitude and skills tests can find which candidates have the required technical skills.
  • Video interviews – Almost overnight, Zooming became part of our daily lexicon. Most white-collar professionals are now comfortable with video meetings. Recorded video interviews also allow different members of a hiring team to evaluate a candidate.
  • PPE and social distancing – In-person meetings will require social distancing and masks until the pandemic passes.
  • Virtual onboarding – Presentations, webinars, and training videos may take the place of in-person training, at least for some of the basics.
  • Recruiting outside the area – Companies have found that specific jobs can be fully remote. For tasks that don’t require the employee to be in the office, the best candidate may be in another state or country.


New Concerns from Candidates

Although we have entered an employer-driven job market, employers must still consider candidate concerns. Between the pandemic and recent social turmoil, particular employee concerns have moved to the forefront.

  • Remote work – Working from home became a reality for a vast majority of office workers. Many workers will expect a work from home option, even after the pandemic passes.
  • Health and safety – For the workers that return to the office, health and safety are top of mind. At the very least, employers should be compliant with CDC guidelines.
  • Social initiatives – Many companies pledged to support diversity and social justice. Candidates, employees, and customers want to see tangible action, not just words.
  • Job Security – After the tumult and job insecurity of the past ten months, current and new employees are very concerned about their employment stability.

Collier Legal Search is a full-service legal staffing company. We place well-credentialed partners, associates, and legal professionals at every level in law firms and corporations. Our experience, connections, and unique approach to building our candidate database deliver consistent results on which our clients can depend. We are committed to the success of our clients and our candidates. Find out what we can do for you. Contact us at 832-239-5253.