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Retention Tips in the Legal Sector

Retention Tips in the Legal Sector

Abacus are pleased to register a growing level of employment within the legal market in NI.

It continues to rise and expand with Abacus registering a 63% increase in legal placements.  Our specialist team feel this is primarily due to the widely publicised expansion of more large FDI firms in Belfast.  These organisations are appointing legal support staff in volume which provides a strong platform for many people with law degrees.

The volume of In-House jobs has also increased and it continues to draw a wide bae of applicants who recognise the advantages on offer compared to a practice or LPO environment.  The candidate’s perception is that these environments offer more regular hours, a varied workload, reduced pressures and zero fee generation.  In reality though the demands on the quality and quantity of work is equally high as traditional practice culture.

The highly established practice market has also lifted in confidence and is now starting to hire with increased momentum in the past 6 months.  Although predominately from large local practices in Belfast but we are also receiving many more jobs from regionals firms and SME sized practices in Greater Belfast.

This is most prominent in areas of commercial litigation, property and commercial law.  However corporate law is the key demand area for junior to experienced solicitors.  An uplift n liquidity and renewed commercial investment is giving corporate partners a strong base to build on and this will automatically lift further if corporation tax is lowered.

Feedback from practice partners is that they are getting bigger commitments from clients and as a result firms are starting to look beyond the short term when it comes to workforce planning.  Many larger practices are generating a healthy pipeline of work and increased activity reflected by the improved retention of apprentice solicitors.  In order to retain staff, many are re-introducing staff benefits to include bonus or performance related pay that were previously frozen.  This is another encouraging sign on the employment prospects in NI.

Regional firms are expected to bring in more general practice and private client solicitor but like many firms are still closely monitoring the continued impact of public sector austerity and the changing legal aid arrangements.  Overall though we would expect this positive momentum to continue to lift particularly if corporation tax is amended along with continued uplift in the NI economy and levels of productivity.  As a whole the Legal sector is looking prosperous.

Top 3 retention tips from Abacus:

  1. Identify your future talents and develop personal development plans (legal and non-legal skills)
  2. Staff management – develop yoru people management skills
  3. Benefits – consider (re-)introduction of small valued rewards such training, social events, car parking

More employer tips can be found within our 2015 Legal Services Salary Survey.  Alternatively to receive more information regarding candidates in the Legal market.  Please contact the Abacus Legal Team in confidence on 028 9031 3157 or call anytime (day/evening) by speaking to Stuart John, Glen Young or Roisin Moss.

In House Lawyers' Group NI