Canadian Lawyer

September 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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4 www.canadianlawyermag.com UPFRONT NEWS ANALYSIS Orit Sinai, a partner in ZSA's Toronto office. "The clients that I'm working with who are not offering a hybrid remote option, they're not going to be able to canvass great candidates, and the clients that are a lot more flexible will be able to score really great top talent." Thirty-six percent of legal professionals report that they plan to look for a new job if their workplace requires a return to the office, and 94 percent of employers say they are concerned valued employees will leave them, according to Robert Half 's report. An independent research firm conducted the survey based on 155 responses from lawyers with hiring responsibilities in law firms and in-house departments. These trends are present not only in the legal industry, but are reflected gener- ally throughout the economy, says Michelle Dunnill, a regional director at Robert Half. "'Remote first wins' is basically my message," she says. "It's still a job-seekers' market, and the struggle for legal talent continues." In addition to attracting lawyers with a hybrid-work option, increased salaries, and perks, Dunnill advises her employer clients to foster an attractive culture by bolstering career development and employee wellness. "They have to invest in employee experience," she says. "We've been encouraging our legal clients to talk with employees about what might enhance their job satisfaction." It is difficult to discuss the current legal jobs market trends without understanding how the pandemic shaped the economy and workforce expectations, says ZSA partner Travis Usher. Initially, hiring froze, and candi- dates were apprehensive about making a move. Then, the environment began to shift late in the summer of 2020. Firms and legal departments started "hiring voraciously." Isolation from the social aspect of a physical office space led to a shift in lawyers' relation- "Every single lawyer that I'm currently working with, their first question is, 'Is there flexibility? Is there a hybrid work option?'" Orit Sinai, ZSA Legal Recruitment SO FAR, 2022 has been a good year for lawyers in the job market. Fifty-eight percent of law firms and legal departments were hiring for new permanent positions in the first half of the year, according to recruitment firm Robert Half 's 2022 report The Demand for Skilled Talent. Friendly hiring conditions are also getting an assist from attrition, as the report showed that 42 percent of law firms and legal departments are hiring for vacated positions. Recruiters from Robert Half and ZSA Legal Recruitment say law firms and legal departments would be wise to adopt a flexible approach regarding work-from-home versus in-person to entice new hires and retain lawyers. For legal talent, opportunities are plentiful, and a flexible work arrangement is a primary demand. "Every single lawyer that I'm currently working with, their first question is, 'Is there flexibility? Is there a hybrid work option?'" says Flexibility in demand In a competitive market for legal talent, lawyers are seeking opportunities that do not include a full-time return to the office, writes Aidan Macnab

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