How Law Firms are Falling Behind in the War for Talent

August 29, 2019 Tanya Lord

This article first appeared in the Summer 2019 Issue of ILTA's Peer to Peer.


In today’s war for talent, law firms – like most companies – are struggling to fill critical roles and build strong, modern teams. Low unemployment, talent shortages and skills gaps make it increasingly difficult to attract and retain quality employees. And although the number of new students attending U.S. law schools recently increased by 3 percent, that growth followed nearly a decade of declining enrollment.

Many firms are left wondering how they’ll stand out from the crowd and convince potential talent that law, practiced at their firm specifically, is where these graduates should build and grow their careers.

The challenge to recruit top talent and encourage employee loyalty isn’t unique to the legal space. Over the last year, we at One North have heard more and more of our professional services clients voice their desire to develop or hone their talent and employer brands. We decided to conduct an audit of leading PSOs to determine how they are approaching the art of nurturing and winning talent.

We analyzed 30 professional services firms within legal, consulting and accounting verticals, paying close attention to five key criteria:

  1. Does the firm have a clear, differentiated value proposition and talent brand?
  2. Are the firm’s digital touch points aligned with the consumption habits and preferences of talent audiences?
  3. To what extent does the firm engage with current or potential talent on its social channels?
  4. Does the firm offer intriguing, non-traditional benefits or perks?
  5. What is the firm’s approach to onboarding and retention?

Overall, although the top 10 law firms scored 3 percent higher than the top 10 consulting firms, they trailed behind the top 10 accounting firms by 10 percent. Both accounting firms and consulting firms outperformed law firms in their ability to incorporate social media into their talent strategies.

To learn about some of the biggest gaps we noticed among law firms' use of social media, and to see some examples of how firms across all three verticals are using social media in really interesting ways to connect with their talent audiences, check out the full article in ILTA's Summer 2019 issue of Peer to Peer.

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Tanya Lord Head of Marketing Communications

As Head of Marketing Communications for One North, Tanya connects professional services organizations with the most innovative digital strategies, industry trends and thought leaders.  Responsible for leading One North’s marketing communications, she ensures the successful delivery of One North’s message by reinforcing the agency’s deep industry knowledge and vertical expertise. She can also keep you current on the latest celebrity gossip.

  • If I were a vegetable: I'd definitely be Zucchini – but only if it were fried.
  • Superpower I wish I had: I've always wanted to be a mind reader. I'm naturally curious ... and an eavesdropper!

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