As post-recession growth continues in the UK’s legal services sector, the pressure to attract and retain the top young lawyers is intensifying. The 13th annual Legal Week Intelligence Best Employers Report surveyed 2,300 fee earners across a range of UK, City and international based firms to find out how practices are making their youngest legal professionals feel valued.
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Young lawyers demand more from their employers

Posted by: Laurence Simons 30/09/16
As post-recession growth continues in the UK’s legal services sector, the pressure to attract and retain the top young lawyers is intensifying. The 13th annual Legal Week Intelligence Best Employers Report surveyed 2,300 fee earners across a range of UK, City and international based firms to find out how practices are making their youngest legal professionals feel valued.

Respondents were asked to rate multiple aspects of their professional working lives, both in terms of importance and satisfaction. According to the survey, young lawyers rate the importance of a number of aspects incredibly highly, including being valued by the firm (94%), prospects for career development (92%), quality of work handled by the firm (92%) and salary (92%).

While the top rated category in terms of importance, ‘being valued by the firm’, can often be misconstrued as being directly linked to remuneration, it is actually more closely linked to courtesy, respect and recognition. However, somewhat unsurprisingly it is still salaries and bonuses that show the largest disparity between importance and satisfaction, - 24% and - 28% respectively.

This is no doubt in part as a result of the ‘MoneyLaw’ wave spreading across the City and US practices keen to match the Cravath pay scale the divide between US and City firms is being driven even wider. According to the study, the difficulty many UK based firms have encountered while attempting to match the somewhat ‘standard’ $120,000 starting pay offered by a number of Wall Street firms has not gone unnoticed by young professionals.

However there a number of areas where firms have improved significantly year on year. The survey revealed that satisfaction in terms of career developments and partnership prospects experienced uplifts of 15% and 23% respectively. The ‘integration of work and life outside’ continues to show a disparity between importance and satisfaction, however the gap has also improved, narrowing by over half in less than a year.

It’s clear that in the ‘war for talent’ practices need to be actively promoting career prospects and explore ways to ensure that their newly qualified lawyers and trainees feel valued rather than just upping newly qualified pay.
Tagged In: Careers
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