Firms that have decided not to try to match the highest salaries of their competitors are instead devoting big money to perks they hope will attract and retain new recruits.
A more customizable billable hour policy, stronger professional development programs and short-term travel options that allow associates to try working in other firm offices across the country are just some of the new carrots on offer. Competition for talent is fierce, and firms are working overtime to differentiate themselves in this market.
In the rush to spend conspicuous amounts of money on perks and benefits, though, firms may be neglecting to ask a simple and crucial question: What do these recruits actually care about?
According to the Young Lawyer Editorial Board of the American Lawyer, associates just want their new firms to be straight with them about how many hours they are expected to bill. And they don’t mean the published hours requirement. They want to know the real numbers they have to meet in order to advance their careers. They also want firms to take a serious look at how billing more hours does not necessarily lead to better work. What should be done for more efficient lawyers, who bill fewer hours but deliver excellent service? Is this system really rewarding the right people? For young associates, these bait-and-switch billable hour expectations are at the heart of the industry’s problem with poor retention, burnout and a growing mental health crisis.
The firms that hear this plea for fairness and transparency—and find ways to communicate openly about it with potential hires—will create a powerful value proposition for their next round of recruiting. Imagine how your firm would stand apart from the pack if you were the one brave enough to get real on billable hour requirements.
How can you take this stand? With your internal communications, the most powerful vehicle for demonstrating to new associates that you understand what matters to them. At many firms, human resources handles these communications. But is that the best team to oversee this important piece of your firm’s marketing strategy?
Your internal communications deserve the same consideration as your external marketing efforts. PR pros can help you tell a single story across all your channels, build your credibility and land your best new class of associates yet.