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ALA White Paper Legal Industry/Business Management

Remote Working as an Effective Recruitment and Retention Tool for Law Firms Post-COVID-19

Executive Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on some in the legal industry. They have laid off or furloughed associates and staff and taken other steps to cut costs, such as reducing pay and benefits. Meanwhile, other law firms have done well during this time and found ways to pivot to retain business and keep things moving forward. They had a solid strategic business plan and other remote-working capabilities that they were able to enact to keep things moving.

Zuzana Geremes, MSLA

In the midst of the pandemic and its far-reaching consequences, law firms can learn from the lessons of the past economic downturns. After the pandemic ends, some experts predict that there will be an unprecedented level of demand for legal services. One of the chief priorities for law firms during this challenging time should be to focus on their human capital, because people in a law firm are the law firm. When the times change for the better once again, law firms will need to implement their growth plans to achieve future business goals, which inevitably include recruitment and retention goals. The practices law firms have adapted to get through the COVID-19 crisis — such as working remotely and videoconferencing — are expected to continue to be utilized to help law firms adjust, adapt and advance in a post-COVID-19 world.

Before COVID-19, the legal job market was largely candidate-driven, characterized by talented applicants who knew their skills were in high demand. Recruiting highly skilled legal professionals was the greatest practice management challenge facing the majority of law firms before the pandemic hit. Beyond compensation and bonuses, many law firms said that flexible work arrangements were some of the best incentives for recruiting and retaining employees.

If history is our guide, law firms will once again face the challenge of recruiting and retaining talented employees. As law firms slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic amid the changing societal and work landscapes, they will once again be confronted with talent shortages. This paper will demonstrate how telecommuting and remote work can become a powerful recruitment and retention tool for law firms surfacing in the post- pandemic world.*


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