How to Prevent Your Associates From Leaving

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Employee retention should be a top priority for your firm. It is expensive both financially and in terms of lost of productivity to have a revolving door of attorneys coming in and out. According to HR Dive, 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable. I speak with unhappy attorneys often and a lot of their complaints and reasons for wanting to leave a firm are things a firm can easily fix. Here are the top 3 reasons associates leave their firms and what you as an employer can do about it. 

Toxic Partners

The poor behavior of a supervising partner is the most common complaint I hear for why an attorney wants to leave a firm. This is especially true amongst women attorneys. Poor behavior can look a few different ways. The most common I hear is unprofessional, belittling and condescending communication, lack of support and encouragement, unfairness in how work is divided up and the ways different attorneys are treated in the office  Remember people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers. 

What You Can Do About It

  • Provide comprehensive management training to partners.

  • Allow associates to give honest feedback on their partners

  • Have an outside person act as a mediator for associates to air grievances and work with partner to fix issues

Lack of Personal and Professional Development

Associates want to grow, achieve and have some sense of security at their firm. If either one of these are threatened, they will look elsewhere. The type of development associates are looking for range from varied types of work, opportunities to attend conferences, trainings or shadow partners to get more knowledge and the ability to be promoted or recognized at the firm. 

What You Can Do About It

  • Create personal development plans

  • Schedule regular one-on-one’s with associates

  • Recognize associate’s accomplishments

  • Encourage associate promotion and progression

Poor Compensation and Benefits

It goes without saying that associates leave their firms for more money and better benefits. At the end of the day, the practice of law is not a volunteer gig (unless you do pro bono work), so associates want to be paid well and fairly for their work. 

What You Can Do About It

  • Match salaries with market rates

  • Offer pay raises once certain goals are hit and follow through on them

  • If you can’t pay more, offer better incentives and perks such as, telecommuniting, health and wellness program, paid sick leave, lack of billable hours.