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Flexible recruitment strategies: Thinking outside the square

Flexible recruitment strategies: Thinking outside the square

Lower expectations don’t mean lower standards. Instead, flexible recruitment strategies are the key to finding the right legal talent. Briana Everett reports

Lower expectations don’t mean lower standards. Instead, flexible recruitment strategies are the key to finding the right legal talent. Briana Everett reports

Firms should consider flexible recruitment strategies to attract new lawyers in a contracting talent pool.
Despite a lingering prudence within the legal market, the first quarter of 2011 has seen significantly more activity and firms are now hiring multiple lawyers.

However, according to Hays, firms need to adjust their recruitment strategies to help them secure candidates more quickly and reduce competition from other fi rms in the hunt for talent.

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report, released in April, candidate levels are continuing to contract, with the number of quality lawyers on the market at the three- to five-year level as low, if not lower, than in previous quarters.

The report claims law firms are too rigid in their recruitment strategies and unwilling to consider candidates who do not match a very specific set of criteria in terms of the amount and/or nature of their experience.

“Our advice is to look more broadly outside of that inflexible square,” states the report.

“For example, where the expectation of a mid-tier law firm has been only for top-tier candidates with great academics, we suggest that they instead consider lawyers who have kept their jobs over the global financial crisis and who have more hands-on, directly applicable experience from a reputable smaller firm.”

The report notes that firms which adapt their expectations to match the candidates available will enjoy a greater level of success when recruiting.

“While some employers still cling to their wish lists, others are showing flexibility and will consider lawyers who can transition from one area to another.

A constricting market means such flexibility will become even more important moving forward.”

In the coming quarter, private practice teams are looking to expand, with solid ongoing demand expected for construction and property lawyers, as well as employment and finance lawyers.

In addition, demand for litigation lawyers is expected to continue due to ongoing litigation and a rising number of class actions.

On the in-house side, a continued focus on strong commercial and corporate advisory skills is expected, covering areas such as trademarks and intellectual property, contract negotiation, litigation/dispute resolution and regulatory issues.

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