Law firms are turning to ‘Pipelining’ to meet their hiring needs

From Insource’s experience in the current recruitment market, only a handful of lawyers are open to a move now

With the recent nation-wide lockdown Insource has had time to ponder the state of the current recruitment market. Our conclusion is that pipelining is needed now! 

Let us explain…

Insource continues to be in touch with a range of firms and lawyers in 2021. We have called on behalf of specific law firms and partners to specifically identified lawyers about incredible opportunities.  So why did most of those lawyers say ‘no thank you’?  Some more forthrightly than others!

Well, none of the reasons were new…

  • They have plenty of good quality work.
  • They are waiting for the borders to reopen so they can travel and don’t want to make an interim move.
  • They are relocating abroad to the UK, Canada, Australia (yes even in current times!)
  • They have purchased property and are unable to relocate.
  • They have already returned closer to home where they can access family support.
  • They are on parental leave or close to going on parental leave.
  • They have good flexibility in their current employment.
  • They are comfortable and just don’t want to. 

Valid, everyday reasons why lawyers decline to move roles.

And there has always been a section of the market that could not be moved.  But from our recent experience that section has grown much larger. 

In addition, advertising channels are not assisting to secure talent either.  Law firms have confirmed to Insource they have had no success through advertising, in many cases resulting in zero applications.

What Insource has found in the copious calls made this year is that career is no longer the main driver for most lawyers.  It is merely one factor, and no longer the most influential one.  No matter how good a career opportunity is, if it does not work with their wider life plans then lawyers will not move for it.  They are saying to talk to them again in six months or a year or a couple of years. 

Traditional recruitment is outmoded.  Pipelining is needed now!

Just as we’ve adapted to the recent lockdown in how we work, firms need to begin thinking about recruitment in a more nuanced way (if they aren’t already).  There is no time like the present to begin scouting your future talent. 

Where firms would have ordinarily recruited post resignation, the first half of 2021 has seen leading law firms adapt their recruitment strategy away from traditional recruitment methods. 

Waiting until there is a role to fill in this market will likely involve a long wait time putting additional stress on existing employees until additional resource can be secured.  This type of pressure can quickly lead to unhealthy cultures, job dissatisfaction and burnout – further exasperating a firm’s staffing woes.  Not to mention loss of revenue.   

Innovatively, law firms are now investing in online tools to provide better, and immediate visibility of legal talent. For example, since April 10 of the largest 15 law firms have already taken up a subscription to Insource!  (Shameless plug, but then we did write this Insight…) 

A number of these firms are also increasing the resource in their in-house hiring teams.  They are doing this by adding part-time resource or training up a savvy administrator to proactively resource the online tools they are investing in.  These roles then support the firm’s proactive approach to talent sourcing and building talent pipelines in advance before there is a hiring need.

What is a pipeline and how do you create one?

A recruitment pipeline is a prequalified list of lawyers whose drivers and timeframes for a move are known to you and can be worked in with your future hiring strategy.

By establishing and maintaining regular contact with those you have prequalified for future hiring needs you will have an established talent pool of lawyers at the ready when you have a gap to fill or an opportunity to grow the team.  Because you will have already won them over on the important stuff you won’t have to win their affection by offering an obscene above market salary, which some firms are having to do out of pure desperation. 

Pipelined lawyers will be more willing to make the move because you have aligned the opportunity to fit in with their timeframes and aspirations.  

What are you waiting for?

Start having conversations with potential laterals today!  Reach out directly for a chat.  Find out where they are at in their career trajectory.  What do they know about you?  Would they consider working for you in the future?  What are their timeframes for a move?  What would it take to move them? 

Pipelining may feel awkward at first but the alternative of continuing the status quo will leave you high and dry, under resourced and floundering for talent when you need it most. 

By building your talent pipeline you take control of your recruitment.  You avoid the demand versus supply challenges.  You avoid the pressure to reactively compete with every other firm to find the unicorn upon receiving a resignation.  An effective and dynamic talent pipeline provides critical support for your firm’s growth and development strategy.

How can Insource help?

Our team can assist you with your pipeline strategy.  We also provide the tool to enable you to create and maintain an effective pipeline of talent for future hiring needs. 

The Insource technology platform contains pre-populated real time profiles for over 30,000 lawyers (in New Zealand and Australia).  It enables firms to make tightly targeted direct approaches, maintain talent pipelines in real time and manage pipelined talent through to placement.  In addition, law firms can analyse the rich data within Insource to form insights about the composition of law firms and market movement to identify gaps and opportunities within your firm.

Get in touch for a conversation or via our website 

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