MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Globalization, shifting demographics and increased mobility are influencing the legal field and reshaping its workplace. A recently published industry report from Robert Half Legal examines how law firms and corporate legal departments are adapting to these changes to gain a competitive advantage.
The report, The Evolving Legal Profession and Emerging Workforce of Tomorrow, is part of Robert Half Legal's 13th annual Future Law Office project. It explores emerging trends in the legal field and features interviews with leaders in the legal profession. The report is available for download at www.futurelawoffice.com.
Among the key trends uncovered in the research:
- The definition of client service is expanding. Legal departments are requiring an enhanced level of service and creative partnerships from their law firms. In addition to flexible fee arrangements, they seek outside counsel with in-depth knowledge of their industry who can serve as trusted business advisers.
- Globalization is increasing collaboration among law firms. As companies conduct more business on a global scale, they require help from outside counsel to navigate business and legal issues. Law firms are opening international offices or collaborating through legal and multidisciplinary networks to meet this need.
- Specialized talent is proving elusive. As law firms and corporate legal departments become more exacting in the expertise they require, demand is increasing for highly skilled talent with industry or practice-area specialization. Litigation and e-discovery are pivotal areas in which legal organizations continue to need targeted expertise.
- Social media and Gen Y are influencing the legal workplace. The use of social media and collaboration tools has increased idea-sharing among legal teams. To entice Millennial workers, law firms are offering open office spaces and work-life balance perks, including flexible scheduling and telecommuting.
Rising Demand for Flexible Solutions and Targeted Expertise
"The economic downturn reshaped law firm operating models, prompting even large, established firms to modify longstanding traditions, such as hourly billing, in order to improve efficiencies and offer clients more options," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "With reducing legal costs still a prevailing goal for many companies, firms need to recognize clients' resource constraints and prepare creative fee proposals that will work within corporate budgets. These are essential first steps for winning new business and retaining existing clientele."
Employers Look for Potential Leaders When Recruiting New Talent
As law firm leaders approach retirement, identifying and accelerating the growth of potential successors is critical, the research found. Employers are actively seeking legal professionals who possess leadership traits, including strong interpersonal skills, sound judgment, business acumen and the ability to innovate.
"Retention and succession planning are becoming front-burner issues as firms focus on building a more diverse workforce, investing in employees' long-term leadership potential and limiting attrition," Volkert said.
For its annual Future Law Office project, Robert Half Legal surveys lawyers among the largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada, conducts research to assess how legal organizations might operate in the future, and obtains the insights of key Robert Half Legal staffing and recruiting professionals throughout the company's branch network in North America.
An infographic associated with this research is available in the Robert Half Legal Press Room at www.roberthalflegal.com/PressRoom. To download a complimentary copy of the complete report or to learn more about the Future Law Office project, visit www.futurelawoffice.com.
About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing division of Robert Half International. The company provides law firms and corporate legal departments with highly skilled professionals, including lawyers, paralegals and legal support personnel, on a project and full-time basis. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal also offers managed review and e-discovery services. More information, including online job search services, can be found at www.roberthalflegal.com.
SOURCE: Robert Half Legal
For further information:
Lisa Hamilton, +1-650-234-6234, [email protected], Twitter: @LisaHamiltonRHL