Since joining PageGroup I have focused on providing temporary paralegals and litigators on a wide range of projects which can vary in size from single individuals to teams of one hundred or more. We work with firms of all sizes, from global blue chips to small local firms and find that the challenges of recruiting and more importantly, retaining high quality document review lawyers, remain the same.
Market conditions are a factor beyond our control but they have the potential to impact document review in a way that no firm is immune to. However there are ways to stay ahead of the market and ensure that you are well placed to meet your needs.
What are the main factors at play?
The state of the market has a huge impact on the availability and recruitment of high quality temporary staff. There is always a pool available but the fluctuating nature of the industry means that from week-to-week, there can be a drastic shift in the number of available candidates. This is brought into even sharper focus when particular specialisms or language proficiencies are added to the equation.
How can you mitigate these barriers?
- Navigating market conditions
From my perspective as someone who places document review lawyers in roles every week, it is crucial for the hiring company to be open and frank about the type of work they require and the type of experience a candidate needs to possess. While litigation understandably needs to be treated with confidentiality, it is important that you share as much information as is reasonably possible so that your agency can find the right people for the work. Hiring litigators who have backgrounds and experience in the type of work you are undertaking will make any and every project run far smoother, far faster and with undoubtedly better results.
Another thing to be open about is what you can offer to a candidate and what type of candidate you are looking to bring on board. The recruiter you are dealing with should be able to discuss what is realistic in the current market at your budget and advise on any areas you may need to be more flexible on.
- Language Barriers
Foreign language speakers are often required for large disputes, and often in these cases there is a need for more than one, sometimes requirements run well into double figures. Because of this, multi-lingual litigators are often in high demand. It is important to give as much notice as possible when there is a need for language speakers – this will make it far easier to source the necessary languages, numbers and proficiencies.
It may sound obvious but ensuring that candidates speak these languages to a business level is extremely important. Having someone onboard who speaks a language is only half of the challenge; you need someone who is capable and has experience in the type of litigation required. This can be tested through many routes, agencies can provide online language tests, references advising the candidate has worked in that language or has qualified as a lawyer, or completed a degree in the language.
Issues you might come up against
Retaining your entire team for the duration of a project can be one of the biggest challenges a firm can face. This comes back to the constantly fluctuating market. The market can be relatively quiet one week and then flooded with available work within a matter of days. Litigators will constantly be approached for work and if demand is high, then there is always a chance that your team will be broken up halfway through a project.
Another risk is losing members of your team; when projects of a longer duration and higher paying rates arise candidates could jump ship. Longer-term projects offer security which is often appealing and will prove a threat which is hard to mitigate.
And what you can do
We tend to find that companies which treat temporary staff well have far higher retention rates than those which treat them as a service. Keeping it simple and fair between candidates is always advisable, particularly when dealing with a large number of paralegals/litigators at one time. Employing a standardised daily or hourly rate is important to ensure stability and a sense of parity across all of your team. This will also help to avoid any conflicts and keep everyone feeling valued.
Having proper inductions and training is a great way to make temporary staff feel valued and is something that your agency can help with when hiring multiple people to a project. Ensuring that new joiners have been fully inducted and briefed on a project and how your company does business can give a sense of purpose and belonging. It is also important to continue to show your temporary hires that they are valued; this can be the difference between keeping a team together through a project and losing people to marginally better offers.
How can your agency help?
Working with a consultant on staffing your project will give you inside knowledge of the market so you can make a confident and informed decision that you are paying the correct rates, and getting the highest calibre candidates possible.
An agency will save you time and energy when it comes to finding available candidates, administration of referencing and checking qualifications and knowing that every person who has joined has been interviewed and properly vetted by a consultant. This is particularly important when hiring multiple people to a project.
Providing detailed knowledge about various visa requirements and qualifications within different jurisdictions, making international work far easier to undertake.
- Testing of various skills can be carried out such as typing speed, language tests and accuracy/quality of work checks to ensure that the individuals you are hiring are up to your standards.
If you are currently considering hiring document review lawyers and are keen to explore what the market is like at the moment and how we might be able to assist your organisation, contact Emily Gordon, who is part of the Document Review Team here at Page Personnel Legal.
T: 0207 269 2508