The legal profession is highly competitive with a need to attract and retain both clients and in-house legal talent. Add to this, the seismic changes re-shaping the profession – technology, new forms of legal business structure, and new routes to qualification – and it becomes evident why the firms that train best, perform best.
Training programmes are highly sought after and are attractive to legal employees, most of whom rate professional development as crucial for their day-to-day job satisfaction, personal effectiveness, and career enhancement.
When law firms invest in their people, this equates to an investment in their future, matching the firm’s capacity to their clients’ changing needs.
Certain legal training needs are societal, and those within the legal profession avoid meeting these particular needs at their peril. For instance, more legal work is now being undertaken digitally in response to the increasing volume of clients work that is online. This, in itself, creates new training needs. For example, data must be kept safe and so an awareness of best practices for cybersecurity is required.
Modern organisations use modern practices, and expect similar adaptability and forward thinking from the professional services in which they place their trust. For example, increasing numbers of clients see it as desirable for lawyers to be adept in risk management techniques, a specialist area which requires appropriate training.
Law firms that take staff training seriously also benefit from increased staff wellbeing and staff motivation.
Legal staff appreciate an employer who helps them to realise their individual potential, leaving them safe in the knowledge that they possess the necessary tools to keep operating effectively and in a way that is tailored to the needs of their specialist markets.
When black letter legal training (for specific legal practice areas) is combined with soft skills training, it ensures legal staff are provided with the competencies they need to advance within their organisation.
Properly trained legal staff tend to be more loyal to their organisations, meaning they are more likely to remain in post and continue to help their firm to adapt to meet new challenges. This is particularly important when employers consider the cost of replacing good people, the cost of which can be high – both financially and in terms of the knock-on impacts of their departure on wider staff morale. Training strategies also make succession planning easier.
Training can also act as a channel for employee ambition by directly boosting fee-earning potential, which is particularly relevant to firms where there may be fewer opportunities for progression to partnership.
In addition, increasing numbers of legal organisations now have staff employed within sophisticated non-legal roles, such as marketing and IT. They too have training needs, and lawyers may need specific training to work collaboratively alongside them.
Finally, a well-trained organisation is also great for the professional reputation of the business. Clients are observant and, in an age where it is easier than ever before to access a multitude of different providers all competing to provide the same service, reputation and standing are often make or break factors when it comes to client’s decision making.