BigHand is a leading provider of technology solutions for law firms that provides busy legal professionals data to increase efficiency, profits, and value. BigHand has released a series of reports highlighting industry trends and how law firms around the world are responding to new challenges posed by changing market dynamics. With insight from over 800 law firm leaders, the series of reports showcases the varied strategies firms are using in the face of declining demand and a staff attrition crisis.
The results of the study make it clear that firms are still dealing with the cost implications of 2022’s record breaking numbers of open legal positions, with the US reaching 12,000 job openings alone. Competition for skilled staff proves to be an ongoing problem as many firms have highly skilled and experienced support staff that are nearing retirement.
The practice of lateral hiring and searching for like-for-like replacements is proving to be costly, which is resulting in many firms moving towards cutting support staff. The implications are resulting in more lawyers taking on administrative tasks and posing future problems. 87% of firms confirm that clients are more business savvy when buying legal services and lawyers need to spend their time using their expertise to provide excellent client work. Firms can’t ensure the right people are doing the right work and that lawyers can focus on client work without a proper support staff.
The research delves into just how bad the staff attrition crisis for the legal sector is. Key highlights from the report include:
- 49% of law firms saw an increase in associate attrition and lateral hiring over the last 12 months
- 49% of law firms expect 20-40% of support staff will retire over the next five years
- For 38% of law firms, they believe it could cost $10,000-$40,000 to replace support staff while 32% believe the cost is much higher and could reach $80,000
BigHand’s comprehensive market research provides valuable insights to law firms to better prepare leaders for challenging new dynamics. Staff retention is vital to any business and law firms are finally facing the long-predicted staff attrition crisis that has been looming over them for the last few years. While retirement for many skilled secretaries was foreseen, the level of attrition across all positions at law firms is unprecedented.