The term “Great Resignation” describes the sweeping wave of resignations that occurred around the world in 2021. While the pandemic played a large role, many observers believe that a more appropriate metaphor is “Great Realisation,” a phrase that combines the negative elements of the pandemic with a positive outlook for the future of society. Ultimately, this may mean successfully navigating the vacancies left by the Great Resignation.
The Great Resignation is a phenomenon that affects firms of all sizes and across many industries. As a result, many attorneys are choosing to leave their jobs in search of higher compensation. This phenomenon is known as the “Great Resignation,” and it has been characterized by rising turnover rates and reduced retention rates. It is also possible that shifts in the market for hiring talent will help law firms become more efficient and have a more engaged workforce. The shifts will also help minimize burnout among younger associates. While compensation will always be an important factor, firms of all sizes are now competing to attract the best and the brightest. As such, attorneys are increasingly seeking meaning and appreciation in their work, as well as opportunities to advance their professional development.
The Great Resignation has caused a wave of restrictive covenant litigation around the country. These lawsuits have been sparked by workers leaving their current jobs to pursue better opportunities at competing companies. Many of these employees are breaching their non-compete agreements and intentionally taking confidential information. The recent spate of high-profile lawsuits illustrates the need for law firms to focus on hiring practices and talent retention strategies to avoid high-stakes litigation.
The Great Resignation is a symptom of a broader trend in the hiring process. Many employers are finding it difficult to retain talent in traditional office settings. Fortunately, companies that have embraced a remote work environment have seen a greater success at retaining their talent. Although many employees are tempted to leave their jobs for better opportunities elsewhere, the Great Resignation is a warning sign that they are not doing enough to keep employees happy.
Almost a quarter of law firms lost associates in 2021. Even with the increased remuneration, attrition rates remain high. In the first six years of a legal career, more than half of the associates leave. This trend has been exacerbated by the global pandemic. Ultimately, this trend is forcing law firms to rethink their staffing models and strategy.
Despite the rising number of laterals and entry-level hires, the percentage of ethnically diverse attorneys at large firms remains virtually unchanged since last year. It also takes 61% longer for an entry-level attorney to become a partner than for laterals. Similarly, it takes an entry-level hire to reach the rank of partner after 3100 days. This is staggering. It should serve as a warning to all law firms to consider remote work options.