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LegalSeptember 27, 2023

Legal trends 2023. Law firm recruitment and remote legal work

In a climate of higher performance expectations and technological complexity, it’s never been more important to attract and retain talent. Wolters Kluwer’s Future Ready Lawyer survey shows that the legal industry is finding it harder than ever to hire and retain the people it needs, especially in the post-COVID era of hybrid working.

Of the trends impacting law firms and corporate legal departments over the next three years, the overwhelming majority (81%) of lawyers say the ability to recruit and retain talent will have an impact on their operations. Fortunately, most (80%) of both law firms and corporate legal departments say they’re ready to navigate recruitment demands.

Analyzing the challenges

Recruitment and retention difficulties are increased because many lawyers are looking for technology-enabled organizations that support their preferred way of working – hybrid or full-time remote.

Robert Ambrogi – publisher, LawSites blog/LawNext podcast – comments on the situation: – Law firms that lag in adopting legal technology risk losing not only clients, but also emerging talent. Professionals entering the legal market in the current environment want to join firms at the leading edge of innovation. They know those firms will be more successful in the long run and offer the greatest opportunities for career development. The connection should be obvious: the younger generation of tech-savvy professionals want careers in tech-savvy environments.

In addition, the profession is becoming more demanding, with more complex and specialized work. Lawyers also face changing demands from clients and leadership. As the volume of work lawyers handle is rising and becoming more complex, the survey reveals several insights into workload management.

Most lawyers (80%) from both law firms and corporate legal departments say they will be significantly impacted by heavy workloads. And yet despite this, the majority (80%) feel prepared and able to cope with the increased volume and complexity of information.

Increased demand for specialization

When it comes to the nature of work, most lawyers (78%) from both law firms and corporate legal departments expect increased demand for specialization and a decline in generalist work. The trend for law firms to expand their offering with a wide range of specialist niche services is becoming increasingly prevalent, and this is expected to increase.

Clients are also increasingly demanding specialization, with law firm respondents citing it as one of the factors they believe clients will use most to evaluate firms in the next three years. Interestingly, most lawyers in firms (78%) say they are prepared to address this trend, while 75% are prepared to offer greater specialization.

Against this backdrop, it’s no wonder that attracting, training, and retaining legal talent is key to a future-ready workforce.

To read the full legal industry AI report, download the Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer 2023 Survey >>
The Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer: Embracing innovation, adapting to change
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