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Firms, facing worker competition from other industries, are scrambling for marketing, communications, IT and other business professionals.

Jennifer JohnsonIn an American Lawyer article authored by Patrick Smith, Calibrate Legal Founder and CEO Jennifer Johnson provides commentary on the causes for firm staffing shortages as well as potential solutions for law firm leaders, emphasizing the critical importance of a candidate-centric approach to recruiting efforts.

“Human resources is going to be the next big transformation in law firms. A candidate-centric approach and an overarching viewpoint of talent needs will help firms stop being reactive when it comes to filling roles.”

This candidate-centric approach entails firms first taking an introspective look into their own practices, identifying uniquities as well as areas for improvement.

“They need to understand what makes their talent pool tick,” Johnson said. “Why do they continue working there? Ask them. Survey them. If they look to leave, why?”

Johnson also notes the importance of embracing business professionals outside of the legal industry in the search for talent. “The hiring managers in the verticals (finance, marketing, accounting, etc.) seem open to people from the outside, but the lawyers are not. Firms need training and awareness that people not from a law firm can still help them.”

Further, Johnson suggests looking outside the legal community to larger corporations for guidance; many of which make use of organizational psychologists and modeling to determine their employer value proposition (EVP).

“Looking across the street at the law firm next door isn’t going to get it done. Take the best practices of other industries and use them. Firms think that once they have hired the best people, they are done. But business professionals, like attorneys, need constant motivation, engagement and encouragement.”


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