Finding and retaining top legal talent remains a daunting task for many organizations. Associate turnover reached almost 25 percent for the 12 months ending in November 2021, according to the 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market by the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and the Thomson Reuters Institute.

With job openings still near record highs, the legal industry continues to deal with talent-retention repercussions. It’s a crucial issue to the profession, says Jignasha Amin Grooms, Chief Human Resources Officer at DISCO, adding: “The number one risk to profitability” is not having the right people.

DISCO’s Chief Human Resources Officer Jignasha Amin Grooms

As a result, talent is “top of mind for any of us in the legal industry,” says Grooms.

While salary and benefits matter in the current talent war, many legal organizations often ignore another critical component: the need to invest in technology and company culture – two significant factors that can determine whether lawyers stay or leave to take another offer.

The numbers bear this out. One report finds that compensation is only one factor in retention. The survey also notes a higher level of satisfaction with technology, among other factors, at firms where lawyers tend to stay rather than leave.

From e-discovery tools to platforms that leverage artificial intelligence – all of which help make employees’ jobs easier and bring colleagues together – technology serves as a significant tool in the recruitment, retention and engagement of legal talent.

Better technology empowers employees

Technology improvements and investments in IT ensure that it takes less time to complete tasks, which makes employees happier.

Indeed, the 2022 Trends in Legal Transformation and Technology Report, published by the Association of Corporate Counsel and DISCO, makes clear the benefit of leveraging technologies. When survey respondents were asked to name the primary benefit of their teams’ technological upgrades, efficiency was in the top spot, at 48 percent.

At DISCO, for example, employees have access to DISCO University, which offers training and development tools to help develop new career skills, as well as to improve their capabilities with DISCO products to become stronger e-discovery professionals.

The effect of technology on workplace culture took on added importance early during the pandemic as employers sought to give employees – especially those working remotely – the tools and resources to continue to collaborate and connect with their team no matter where they were located.

Overall, company culture is “much more of a conversation than it was 15, 20 years ago,” especially now that multiple generations often work together, Grooms says.

Broadening workplace culture

That conversation is becoming more expansive all the time. It’s more important than ever for legal and corporate leaders to keep track of the demographics of candidates who apply and employees who are promoted, as that information is valuable.

Leaders should be asking themselves:

• What are potential employees seeing when they check out our organization?

• Who are they seeing in their interviews and on our website?

• Would they feel they belong?

Engagement and exit surveys also can be powerful tools in learning about and underscoring the role of culture as a reason employees quit.

“We do an exit survey with every single person who leaves, and we make sure to understand the exit feedback to determine if there was a broader cultural reason for an employee’s departure. T. There’s always learning from this feedback,” says Grooms.

Pamela Brownstein is a freelance writer covering legal issues and technology.


Want to learn more about how technology is changing the legal profession and what that means for your career? Check out DISCO’s Just Hearsay podcast where DISCO leaders and their special guests discuss what’s new, what’s exciting and what’s possible with the right legal technology.


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