What Will an Economic Recovery Mean to your Staff?

Kevin Eikenberry posts some interesting thoughts in video form about what will happen when the job market starts to recover, positing that your best and brightest will be the first ones out the door.

I actually tend to agree. I’ve been thinking, for quite awhile now, that when the job market bounces back and people start to feel a bit more secure in looking around, there’s going to be a mass exodus, especially from the legal industry. You can’t go a week or two without reading about law firms cutting staff, cutting associates, limiting pay, and cutting all sorts of expenses, and legal is hardly the only industry getting hit with cuts like this.

So the question is, in the midst of all these “cuts”, what are you doing to keep your best people engaged and on board? If nothing, do you really expect they won’t be looking to leave at the first sign of openings?

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  1. Thinking from a legal IT point of view I think you're probably right. And from a UK perspective I think London law firms will probably be hit hardest as I guess the opportunities for better paid positions will be greater.

    It'll be intersting to see if the "churn" is just at the lower positions or whether senior managers and directors in IT will start to move away from legal?

  2. From the IT perspective yes, there's always more churn in lower positions, as opposed to director level positions. The higher up you get, the more your career is defined by what you know about the legal world, so you'd expect that. Network gurus, web developers, tech support folks, etc. can work in any industry, their skills translate. CIO's have spent a long time understanding the legal industry and applying technology to it, so they become more specialized. (Lit Support folks, like myself have even fewer choices really, outside of the legal world, or corp. legal dept. what good does my expertise do?)

    Outside of IT though, when it comes to legal secretaries, paralegals, marketing folks, associates, etc. I can see a lot of turnover. Some will be moving out of the legal market altogether, others will move to other firms or different areas of the legal industry (courts, corporations, etc.). When opportunities start to come to them, how much loyalty are they going to feel after watching peers get laid off, being forced to pick up the slack with a smaller staff, getting their pay and benefits cut, and other ways firms have managed expenses through this? Like I said, what are people doing to fight this and keep their best performers engaged, or do they even see it coming?

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