The Recruitment Ripple Effect

How legal firms’ increasingly high recruitment standards are impacting the supply chain and why suppliers have a responsibility to embody, follow and even exceed these standards to help legal firms compete.

The legal sector’s standards appear to be creating a ripple effect as firms’ strict standards is filtering down into their supply chain. This in turn adds greater value, excellence and expertise back into the profession. The legal sector is setting the benchmark, but it’s reaping the rewards too. Here, Claire Smith, Head of Business Development from telephone answering and live chat provider Moneypenny, explains more. 

There is no denying that in the face of a skills shortage, firms have to change the way talent is developed, recruited and retained. In strategic terms this means overhauling the recruitment process and reconsidering a firm’s ‘employer’ value proposition which is no easy feat. But despite the challenges this presents, the sector still has an exceptional reputation for its exacting standards and expectations when it comes to recruitment.

Professionalism, expertise, resilience, sector awareness, tenacity, technical excellence and efficiency define the sector. It’s these qualities and standards which are infiltrating the legal supply chain. We’ve seen it in our peers and first-hand how it has affected recruitment.

Professionalism, expertise, resilience, sector awareness, tenacity, technical excellence and efficiency define the sector.

Any business representing another has to do it with care, finesse and professionalism, but in the legal sector this requires heightened attention to detail. They have to match, if not exceed, a firm’s standards. For us, this meant employing receptionists that a firm would feel comfortable allowing to speak to their most important clients. Outsourcing can be an exercise of trust. Any business who has worked with another, will know exactly how unpleasant it can be when a partner-business has less-than-ideal standards. But moreover, we’ve found that those companies who operate in a legal space are as slick and professional as the firms they work with. And it’s almost always credited to the people they hire.

How can businesses who work in the legal sector ensure their recruitment standards chime with firms? By replicating the multi-stage recruitment process that many legal firms use. Quite simply, we have to employ people that law firms would be prepared to recruit themselves and we have many clients who take a very keen interest in our recruitment process because of that. By replicating law firms’ standards, we give them an extra level of assurance – they know they’re getting the very best people and we’ve seen other suppliers into the sector, which include workplace consultants and cloud IT providers, taking a similar approach.

Law firms should vet their suppliers as they do their employees to ensure they embody a firm’s core values and can add value. Many legal firms are undergoing a reinvention of sorts and they need to see quality innovation and partnership from the supply chain. The best way to guarantee that is to use the same rigorous standards applied to new recruits to suppliers too.  The best suppliers will understand the importance of this and the need for due diligence. In fact, they’ll most likely be emulating legal firms’ recruitment standards and high expectations in their own businesses already.

Vicky Clark, co-founder and director at legal recruitment agency, BCL Legal, agrees. She said: “What we know with certainty, having worked in the legal recruitment for over 15 years and commenting on the current skills shortage, is that to attract the best legal talent, law firms must scrutinise. This ensures desired outcomes are met; without sacrificing high standards.

A global talent shortage is putting firms under increasing pressure to recruit and retain the brightest and best talent and, perhaps unexpectedly, it’s helping to create a high-value supply chain too.

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