3 Strategic Ways to Think About Effective Talent Management at Your Firm

BigHand’s latest market research confirms 75% of firms saw a decrease in demand in the last 12 months and they expect the trend to continue.

The implications have been significant for profitability, especially as operating costs continue to inflate. To add more pressure, lawyer salaries have increased again thanks to the surge in lateral hiring. 

Talented lawyers and their client bases are moving to the competition every week. So, what will keep lawyers and clients from leaving? The latest research by BigHand, based on responses from over 800 law firm leaders around the world, reveals the answer lies within dedicated data-driven resource management to ensure equitable work for all lawyers. 

Here are three ways to drive effective resource management to retain talent and clients. 

1. Focus on DEI and Career Development

85% of law firms confirm they have received greater pressure for resourcing matters with a DEI focus in the last 12 months, up from 61% in 2022. The surge of lateral hiring hasn’t helped with retention or costs either as lateral hiring practices tend to create barriers for marginalized groups. So, how should firms start with addressing DEI? 

Alexis Robertson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Foley & Lardner LLP, in a previous BigHand whitepaper noted, “What ‘good’ looks like for law firm DEI is valuing all people equally so you avoid higher attrition, less opportunities or lower pay for diverse groups. Our people are the product we provide to the client, and so investment in them is vital.” 

Diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and more can help strengthen laws firms. A study from the McKinsey Institute found that companies that are diverse, equitable and inclusive are better able to respond to challenges, win top talent, and meet the needs of a variety of customers. Unfortunately, many firms (56%) have either no data or limited data about how matters are resourced based on DEI. Firm culture, change management and technology that surfaces reliable data are all key. 

Overall lawyer career development is a focus for firms with 43% increasing their focus on this over the past 12 months. Firms need to look closely at the career goals of each lawyer to ensure they are given work that supports their growth. 

2. Effective Work Allocation in a Hybrid Environment

One of the biggest obstacles to effective and equitable work allocation is the lack of visibility of lawyer skillsets and capacity. 59% of firms confirm they have no or partial data on associate skills and 56% are lacking information on associate capacity. Hybrid working has made it much harder to allocate work without bias, conscious or unconscious, as delegation is moved to an online space instead of in-person. Without the data, how do lawyers know the most suitable resource to allocate work to? 

Resource management tools that offer a deep look into lawyers' workloads, skillsets, and whether they are given client facing work, gives firms actionable data that can be used for effective and equitable work allocation. Improving visibility of work across all groups will improve work satisfaction in hybrid environments. Over a third of firms agree.  

Our client Wendy Tomlinson, Director of Talent at Taylor Wessing, said “When managing the transition to our hybrid working model, we wanted to ensure our work allocation was efficient and everyone had access to career enhancing tasks at the firm, regardless of their physical location. We also wanted to reduce the time taken by our partners to allocate work so they could focus on client service delivery.” 

Resource management technology helps meet client demands by providing the visibility needed to ensure the right work is sent to the most appropriate resource at the right cost while considering staff capacity, DEI, and individual career goals.    

3. Make Data-driven Decisions

As pressures from clients and lawyers increase, firms are turning to technology. 54% of firms now have a process and/or technology in place to identify skills and availability across teams, with a further 11% planning to implement specific resource technology over the next 24 months.  

Norton Rose Fulbright has recently implemented BigHand Resource Management. Sam Larkins, Head of Resource Management, says, “We now have the clear evidence to provide both clients and staff alike that all our matters are resourced fairly, equitably and with diversity and inclusion in mind.” They can provide clients with data on this because they have visibility.  

Technology will make your resourcing more effective and equitable. Consider the following when choosing a provider: half (50%) of law firms will opt for an existing technology partner or one they have worked with before. 44% also rely on peer recommendations and 42% rate domain expertise as a key factor in addressing the specific challenges facing the legal services market.  

Explore how to future-proof your law firm by retaining the best talent by signing up for BigHand’s upcoming webinar series. The series aims to give law firm leaders tangible tips to take away and use to better their firms.  

If you’d like to talk to someone about how BigHand resource management can help you meet the expectations of your clients, and your firm’s talent, schedule a demo with one of our experts today. 

About BigHand Resource Management

BigHand Resource Management is a legal work allocation tool that allows law firms to identify resources, forecast utilisation, manage workloads and add structure to career development for lawyers. The solution delivers real-time visibility of team availability, improved profitability on matters and supports DEI goals and equitable allocation of work.

BigHand Resource Management