What’s Keeping Managing Partners Up at Night

What’s Keeping Managing Partners Up at Night

What’s Keeping Managing Partners Up at Night 1707 2560 Tabitha Steemson

The very nature of law is that it touches on every part of society. There’s no better demonstration of this that looking at the recently published articles by legal correspondents at our national newspapers. From the war in Ukraine to social media, these journalists are writing on every big issue of today.

The business of law is no different. Whereas the law is vital in understanding and explaining societal change, firms themselves are having to face its consequence. Take ESG, for example. Lawyers across the city are drafting policies and guidance for large corporates looking to secure themselves amidst growing ESG compliance regulation. The firms themselves are having to bolster themselves – subject to the same criticism as the clients fee-earners are working for.

Our latest report seeks to understand how these societal factors are effecting the legal industry. Speaking to managing partners at law firms up and down the country, we wanted to get to the bottom of the key business concerns that worry them, and how they link to the concerns firms may have about their reputations.

Possibly uniquely, although certainly unsurprisingly, we see the war for talent come out on top. When the business of law does make headlines, it’s frequently for sky high New Qualified salaries. Unlike in other professions, these salaries are publicly available and easy to report on. For managing partners,  salaries aren’t just an HR concern, they’re a concern about reputation to.

It’s not the only issue at play, however. The legal sector is not exempt from the same internal issues that have faced business leaders since the pandemic, namely hybrid working and culture and conduct. As all sectors are trying to find the right balance for employees in their working models, the war for talent makes it of particular concern to law firms. Ensuring that working policies and workplace culture are correct could be the key to retaining talent, particularly for those firms that are unable to match the headline-making salaries offered by competitors.

Recruitment and retention, therefore, underpin many of the concerns for law firm leaders. As such, it’s not hard to interpret the clear link we found between business and reputational considerations. Keeping clients happy is still vital, of course, but it just isn’t possible to do so without a properly resourced firm. The war for talent, and how firms appear to be treating their employees, is just as much of a risk to their reputation as it is to their bottom line, the report reveals.

As we potentially move into a recession, it is clear that the legal sector will have to make adjustments, just as any other industry will. The added salary pressure in the legal sector may make this a sizable challenge for managing partners across the UK. When you throw in the ongoing war in Ukraine, the threat of climate change and the need for businesses to address growing costs, ‘keeping law firm leaders up at night’ might not be just an expression, after all.

To read our full report ‘The Things Keeping Law Firm Leaders Awake at Night in 2022’, click here.