2021 Was Another ‘Extraordinary’ Year for Big Law. What Will 2022 Be?: The Morning Minute


FLYING HIGH AGAIN? – Last year was another “extraordinary” one for Big Law, with healthy demand growth and double-digit increases in profitability across the legal industry, according to the 2022 State of the Legal Market Report from Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law Center. But, as you know, good news never comes around these days without some bad news growing on it like mold. As Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, while demand and head count at firms increased, associate turnover also spiked dramatically, causing the report authors to conclude that “recruiting and retaining both legal and other professional staff may well prove to be among the biggest post-pandemic challenges confronting law firms in 2022.” That’s probably not a shock to too many. But, as we wrote in the first Law.com Trendspotter column of the new year: law firms have entered 2022 at a crossroads when it comes to talent acquisition and retention. Now, from office returns to associate pay to career development, firms must decide whether they want to attempt to “get back to normal” (which may not be possible) or embrace a new normal (which is, uh, scary). I’m interested to hear what you think: Have law firms fundamentally changed their views on talent acquisition and retention during the pandemic? Or will the current focus on things like increased flexibility and a broader array of career advancement options fade once the pandemic becomes more manageable? Let me know at [email protected].

WHO-LU – Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, the Jelly of the Month Club… at this point in the pandemic, we’ve all probably lost track of the subscription services we’re paying for. So why not throw in a monthly fee for legal staffing services too? As Law.com’s Victoria Hudgins reports, most lawyer and paralegal staffing agencies have traditionally only offered a “success fee,” or contingency arrangement. But Julia Shapiro, CEO of lawyer and paraprofessional staffing agency Hire an Esquire, told Hudgins that demand for subscription pricing has grown recently. With that in mind, Hire an Esquire announced on Jan. 5 it was officially launching a monthly subscription payment option, in addition to its success fee option. With its subscription model, law firms have access to vetted applicants, Hire an Esquire’s hiring and workforce management tools with no requirements to pay success fees on candidates, Shapiro explained. Still, while Shapiro said the additional payment option allows her company to better serve all corners of the market, she understands that it likely won’t be the right fit for everyone. “The smaller clients like the [subscription] model because of cost,” she said. She added, “Our smaller clients in general have smaller budgets.”



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