Data has quickly become just as important if not more important than many other aspects of modern law firms.  It is not only data itself that is valuable but the tools that process data, organize it and present it in a manner for easy analysis.  Data has proven especially helpful in the quest to solve the problem of the legal industry’s low retention rate.  According to the National Association for Law Placement, the attrition rate for associate attorneys is nearly 40 percent across the first three years of employment.  This rate leaps to more than 75 percent across the first half-decade.  The majority of such attrition takes place at the mid-level where associate attorneys tend to contribute more to the company than they receive.

 

The Role of Data in Increasing Law Firm Retention

The proper use of data empowers law firms to pinpoint success factors that are distinct to their firm.  These factors are then leveraged to persuade candidates who are likely to succeed in the firm’s unique culture to accept an offer of employment.  The aim is for these new hires to stay on board for years if not a decade or longer.  In a nutshell, law firms can now use data to reduce the in-house attrition rate through the recruiting, hiring and training of superstar associates.

Merely following the status quo will not suffice in the context of associate retention.  Data is the missing piece to the puzzle.  Data represents the truth, making it completely unbiased and objective.  It does not matter what types of assumptions people have.  If the data shows evidence pointing to the contrary, the opinions of those involved in the study are rendered meaningless.  As an example, the proper use of data can spur the hiring and subsequent retention of a racially diverse staff.  Statistics show the more diverse a workforce is, the more likely it is for the employer to be profitable.  In turn, an increase in profits will boost employee satisfaction and improve the company’s retention rate.

 

Gather Data With Care

The manner in which data is obtained matters a great deal.  The wording of survey questions, the timing of the data collection and the structure of the feedback are all important.  If data is not collected on a schedule, it will be difficult to track progression or regression in specific spaces across set portions of time.  The bottom line is survey questions must complement one another in  a manner that paints the entire picture.  Obtain relevant feedback in a structured manner and it will not be long until you have the data you need to analyze what changes are necessary to boost retention rate.

Sort through the data, perform in-depth analyses and you just might find the incorporation of certain elements like employee reviews and surveys spikes your retention rate.  Do not lose sight of the fact that the associate attrition crisis cuts right to the bottom line for most law firms.  Prioritize decision-making with employee retention in mind and you will find your new hires end up staying much longer than those hired in years past. This is the loyalty your firm needs to remain profitable for years to come.