Innovative recruitment solutions needed to satisfy emerging ABS market.
Over the years I have seen the highs and lows of recruitment in the legal profession, from the heady years of ‘bidding wars’, when solicitors could almost name their price, to the severe cut backs during the recent recession: we wait to see the results of the proposed cuts in legal aid. But all pale into insignificance compared with the next big change – Alternative Business Structures (ABS).
Due to open for business in October, firms are gearing up to become more commercially driven businesses, looking for external funding and even considering floating on the stock market. The pros and cons of the controversial plans have filled many broadsheets and tabloids alike, but how will the changes effect legal recruitment?
As I see it, external funding will lead to firms becoming leaner and meaner, more competitive and more attractive to employees. Attracting ‘la crème de la crème’ of legal staff will be a must and lateral hires almost the norm; search recruitment (head hunting) probably offering the most effective way to ‘get your man’.
With the new legal model providing a possible ‘one stop shop’, dealing with property, finance and law, for example, employees will need to offer more than just a specialism in their field, but will also need to understand the business and its strategy and be able to make a contribution to the bottom line - quickly. Management, finance and people skills, amongst others will almost certainly be on the ‘‘required’ list
As firms become more choosy, a higher investment in recruitment is likely and so they can’t afford to get it wrong. As legal recruitment specialists, we at CRA have followed the trend and worked hard on streamlining our business, putting in new, state of the art processes, making sure we know the legal sector inside out and offering innovative recruitment solutions that we believe are more in line with the needs of the changing legal market. Our solutions are, and always have been aimed at building long term relationships with our clients, offering them a service that suits their own particular needs. For example, whilst our fees have always been competitive, we also work on an annually retained basis with some of our clients, offering them even better value for money.
Whilst the market does seem to be moving – slowly – at the moment, candidates still don’t seem to have the confidence to move, with little financial incentive being offered to do so. We are in the early stages of recovery, but I think that as the market gets back on its feet, firms will need to look at their salary structures with a view to raising offers if they want to attract high caliber staff, particularly if they want to make their migration to ABSs successful.
Robert can be contacted at CRA Legal on 0114 241 8030 or by email at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org