Why your legal recruitment strategy needs to change for 2022

Posted on 28/12/2021 by Edward Sorrell

Each year, Realm carries in-depth research to better understand what lawyers want from their employers and how active they are in terms of looking for a new role. We use this intelligence to help the law firms we work with their recruitment and retention strategies.  

This year, our survey data showed huge changes in the demographic of jobseeker status. Only two years ago, 40% of lawyers categorised themselves as an active jobseeker; now, only 20% of the market is active, while 40% are passively looking to move (I.e. they could be open to move for the right role, but are not looking at job boards or applying for roles) and 20% are inactive (not looking for new opportunities or interested in moving).   

What does this data mean? Gone are the days you can put out a job advert and expect lots of suitable candidates apply. Instead, the power now lies with the potential candidate, as fewer lawyers are seeking roles, but there are many open vacancies.  

So, how does a law firm get around this and what are the best legal recruitment strategies for 2022?  

Look after your own: 

Retaining your best lawyers isn’t rocket science, but it’s definitely harder than it looks. Looking after your own will mean improved retention and avoiding unnecessary recruitment. Plus, having your current employees say good things about you can be the best way to attract top talent.  

As our research shows, it’s no longer just the quality of work you can offer that’s important, it’s also the quality of life your employees have whilst doing the work. So, what are some ways to improve lawyer wellbeing? 

      1. Wellbeing initiatives 

Our data shows only 17% of lawyers believe their employees look after their wellbeing very well. This clearly is not high enough and it’s something that needs addressing on a macro scale. You can gain a lot of insight and advice on how best to treat employees but all employees are different and all employees want different wellbeing initiatives. We can provide you with ideas, however the best way to tackle the problem is ask your lawyer what’s important to them, listen genuinely to the desires and needs and work from there. 

      2. Flexible working 

Flexible working may just be the answer to attracting new lawyers. Over 80% of those we asked believed flexible working was an important aspect when looking for a new job. This means if you’re not offering it, you could be missing out on a large chunk of the market.  

Flexible working can also have a very positive impact on lawyer wellbeing. Read our recent blog on why flexible working could be one of the answers to lawyer wellbeing.  

      3. Pay well 

Paying well not only helps to retain and engage talent - it helps to attract talent in the first place. Flexibility has now become widely adopted by firms and almost a prerequisite in a lawyer's job hunt; as a result, paying well is one of the key ways law firms can acquire a competitive advantage. Our research shows that 51% of lawyers feel they are not paid fairly, so by understanding current market rates and being prepared to offer more than this, it is possible to attract talent over your competitors.  

We go into this in more depth in our blog: Why it pays to pay well. 


Use a quality recruiter and partner with them on your attraction strategy 

As very few lawyers will be actively looking to move roles in 2022, don’t expect them to visiting your firm’s careers website or, for that matter, to be trawling job boards. Even if the role you are offering has great pay and great flexibility, you need a strategy to promote your offering to lawyers who might be open to move for the right position.  

A specialist legal recruiter will spend their day mapping the market and building relationships with active, passive and inactive jobseekers (At Realm, our consultants  spend over half their day doing this), so that they are primed to discuss the perfect role as and when it comes around. Too many recruiters only speak to a lawyer when they have a potential role for them, which is the wrong approach, particularly in this challenging market.  


If you have any questions or want to find out more, please get in touch by calling 03300 245 606 

Also, if you missed our annual report, The Great Talent Shortage: Adapting Your Attraction and Retention Strategies for 2022 it is available to download here. To learn more about the legal trends of 2021 read this fantastic blog from Clio.

Why your legal recruitment strategy needs to change for 2022


  • Realm announces a raft of promotions
  • How To Assess and Increase Your Market Value
  • The Lawyer's Path to Partnership – Client Management
Cookies on this website
We aim to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you wish, you can restrict or block cookies by changing your browser setting. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.