LAW firms are turning the screws on productivity as the global economic downturn puts pressure on balance sheets and head count.
Over 61 per cent of law firms have increased their focus on employee productivity, suggesting many employees are having to work harder, according a new survey into law firm hiring and firing during the economic downturn, conducted by Hudson.
"A lot of firms are looking at utilisation rates of their lawyers," Stuart Ablethorpe, director of Legal at Hudson told The New Lawyer.
Firms are aggressively assessing productivity as they consider making redundancies, said Ablethorpe.
Those who do a good job are actively retained, the survey showed, with 46.7 per cent of respondents expressing high concern about retaining high performers.
"Low organisational productivity will only exacerbate the impact of a tough market," he said.
"Proactivity, innovatively and bravely approaching the new set of circumstances they face and fully engaging their people along the way will form the strongest team foundation to make it through to more prosperous times."
In an effort to drive productivity, firms are increasing lawyer training, the survey suggested. Almost a third of those surveyed, at 30.3 per cent, said they have increased their focus on staff training and development.
More than a quarter of law firms have encouraged employees to take annual leave and long service leave to avoid handing out redundancies, the survey showed.