GROWTH SPURT - In life, patience is a virtue. In the legal industry talent war, patience is for suckers. As’s Dylan Jackson reports, consultants are portending a flurry of law firm mergers in 2022, especially among larger firms, as the tight lateral market shows no signs of abating and the elite pull further away from the rest of the pack. In fact, many firms are currently in merger talks, consultants told Jackson. Lisa Smith, principal at legal consulting firm Fairfax Associates, said many of the mergers in the works are at larger firms with between 200 and 600 attorneys, where leaders feel as if their businesses are undersized compared to the top law firms and are looking for a quick way to level up. “It’s hard to grow substantially when you’re growing organically. It takes longer, is more difficult, and is more expensive,” Smith said.

STAYING POWER - Speaking of the talent war, while some firms are worried about quickly adding more attorneys, other should be worried about quickly losing them. And that goes for legal departments, too. As’s Heather Nevitt writes in this week’s Barometer newsletter, the (not-so-secret) sauce for legal employers looking to improve their retention amid sky-high attrition is prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion, and allowing workplace flexibility. “In the months to come, legal departments and law firms also have to figure out how to implement these policies all while keeping lawyers engaged and connected with leadership and each other,” Nevitt writes. “It can be a difficult task to find the right balance between flexibility and engagement, but it’s essential to establish a strong company culture.” To receive the Barometer directly to your inbox each week, click here.