How Can Law Firms Keep Great Associates?

How Can Law Firms Keep Great Associates?

Firms around the world constantly struggle to find and keep great associates. The shortage is particularly common in popular practice areas such as mergers and acquisitions, trademark, copyright, and patent prosecution. A lot of professionals have a mechanistic view of people as being interchangeable, when they should view people more organically. An organic view of people is far more accurate as firms are seen as integrated systems — and likely to make you want to keep good people.

Get Everyone Involved in Recruitment

The shortage of valuable associates is so serious that it requires a year-round focus. Your recruitment effort will improve dramatically if everyone in the firm knows what the ideal associate’s characteristics are and stays alert to finding those people ALL OF THE TIME. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the recruiting committee’s job to be on the lookout for great associates. It’s everyone’s job!

Express Thanks to Associates

Appreciation and gratitude are two secret weapons in the race to keep talented associates. Professional service firms — such as law firms — can, at times, be incredibly stressful and pressure-packed. A word of appreciation is no more valuable gift than to say that you believe in someone. That goes a long way in a pressure-cooker environment.

TIP: Any time you have a thought of appreciation or gratitude toward one of your associates, act on it immediately!

Losing great people is very costly. Furthermore, clients hate the revolving door of associates they are forced to deal with at most firms. Losing great people devastates client satisfaction levels. Think about it: If an associate leaves the firm just when the associate gets familiar with your client’s business, this weakens the overall client relationship. And, if it happens too frequently, it may well end the client relationship permanently.

Recruit constantly and find things to praise in others. If you do, your clients will win, your firm will grow, your associates will stay (and be happy) — and you’ll feel good too. The feeling of satisfaction from developing someone is priceless.

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Would you like some help in working through these tips?  If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services.  Or, if you are interested in learning more about open finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group.  Or, if you are a lawyer or legal assistant, learn more about open legal industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.


Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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