A recent survey of law firm practices in Bloomberg Law’s 2021 Law Firm Benchmarks Survey may reflect what employers are currently considering as the pandemic recedes. In 2020, law firms, along with all employers, were trying to manage the largest shutdown of the U.S. and worldwide economies in memory.
Throughout 2020, law firms were most concerned about attorney well-being (44% of firms were concerned), diversity (40%), remote work issues (39%), and lead generation (31%). Many other concerns were well in check. This is likely due to the focus on the needs and demands of clients during this unexpected and urgent time.
Now that the client urgency has passed, more firms are concerned about multiple issues within the workplace. In 2021 the concern about attorney well-being shot up to 55% of firms noting this as a focus. Retaining talent rose from 12% to 39% being concerned. Low morale scored 37%, up from 11%, and tied with low office morale, which in 2020 only merited a response from 17% of firms. While the concern about diversity dropped slightly, from 40% to 36%, it is still the fifth highest in the 12 subjects listed, and the drop could be due to others taking focus. Other notable issues coming to the attention of the law firms include having enough employees to do the job, keeping those employees, and finding new employees.
These employee-centric issues in law firms seem to be universal. Employers are having to both carefully consider employee needs, and search for talent to fill open positions. Employers expecting many more applicants once federal employment benefits run out in September might be sadly mistaken. Other reports indicate that older workers who had not seriously thought about retirement did so in 2020, realizing that their need for material items was not what they once thought it was. It is not surprising to see those of retirement age dropping out of the workforce, which appears to be a large number.
What are your concerns? How are you planning to care for your workforce while retaining and attracting the talent you need and meet your business objectives? Look to your Employers Council membership for help during this challenging time. We can help you look at the current state of your workplace and put plans in place for success in the future. If you need hands-on HR assistance or management, we have the resources you need.