Leading Strategies to Retain Your Top Legal Talent

Posted June 10th, 2024 by Urban Legal Recruitment

Over the past few years, the market for top legal talent has become increasingly competitive in Canada. For firms, this can result in serious inefficiencies, costs, and roadblocks to growth.

While a great legal recruitment strategy helps build great teams, ensuring stability in your legal teams requires a proactive approach to retention. Based on our experience, focusing on talent retention from the outset of a new employee relationship can help firms:

  • Boost company culture
  • Improve productivity
  • Build employee engagement
  • Offer a better client experience
  • Increase job satisfaction
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve market positioning

Over many years of speaking directly with people on both sides of these relationships, I’ve gained plenty of insight into what it takes to motivate lawyers to maintain long-term positions. Today, I want to look at some of the top reasons candidates take and keep positions, even in an increasingly competitive market.

Employee Retention Programs

One of the best ways to manage employee retention is to be specific and intentional about it. An employee retention program ensures employees know their talent, time, and energy are respected and appreciated.

The main goals of an employee retention program are to:

  • Develop a positive work culture and encourage strong relationships
  • Provide opportunities for personal and professional growth and development
  • Ensure people feel like part of an engaged and motivated team
  • Promote healthy behaviours and habits, with a focus on both mental and physical health

Whatever is included in a retention program, it’s essential that it’s promoted internally and updated continuously as a consistent reminder to employees that they are valued and being heard.

Competitive Compensation & Benefits

An attractive compensation package doesn’t only help get top legal talent in the door; it can also ensure great lawyers become long-term lawyers within a firm. It’s important that your compensation and benefits are competitive, but keep in mind that as the world develops, there are always new considerations when it comes to compensation packages. Just a few of the items a firm can consider so they stand out from their competition include paid time off, retirement plans, health spending accounts, bonuses and commissions, charitable matching, and home office budgets.

Encourage and Promote Work-Life Balance

While great compensation is important for retention, it’s not the only factor lawyers consider when finding the right place to nurture a career. According to a 2024 report by the Canadian Bar Association and Thomson Reuters Institute, 11% of lawyers from a Canadian sample ranked work-life balance as the most important factor in determining a firm’s success.

Businesses and firms can ensure they are providing great work-life balance for their legal team in several ways:

  • Understanding an employee’s individual goals and priorities (both within and outside the organization).
  • Providing health initiatives and challenges can significantly increase an employee’s individual happiness, while also building meaningful relationships and team spirit.  
  • Hybrid work models and flexible work arrangements allow people freedom and flexibility in their roles so they can pursue hobbies, manage family obligations, and enjoy social time and down time.

You can also head to our recent article about fostering work-life balance for your legal team for additional ideas and opportunities.  

Address Concerns Quickly & Provide Feedback

In any law firm or legal department, challenges can be expected to arise. Firms can take active steps to listen to employees, address their concerns, and encourage feedback and participation. Having specific policies and procedures in place helps ensure everyone knows what they can do and how to get support when they’re facing a challenge.

Work with a Recruitment Team that Knows the Legal Job Market

As recruiters with active, long-term relationships in the legal job market, we’ve gained invaluable insights into what our candidates are seeking in their careers. One of our primary objectives is to ensure we intentionally match the goals of a firm with those of a candidate, making a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship the most likely outcome.

If your business or firm is interested in learning more about employee retention in the legal field, our team is always happy to start a conversation. Or, if you’re seeking a position where you can build your legal career, let us know what’s most important to you and browse our available positions for partners, associates, and in-house legal counsel.