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For a large number of law firms, the answer is clear: associate compensation. For many of these firms, associate compensation has become a serious vulnerability in the competition to recruit and retain good lawyers.

Reviewing and improving your firm's associate compensation system need not be time-consuming or involve high consulting fees. Moreover, improvements now can begin to produce a return on investment as early as the first quarter of 2022.

Look at it this way: What would be the long-term cost to your firm - not only in terms of lost fees but also in terms of the loss of a future partner - if you lose one of your most promising associates?

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The last two quarters of any year present increased risks to associate retention. Coming out of the global COVID-19 pandemic, law firms worldwide are seeing even greater movement this year in the market for talented associates. It is a reasonable assumption that even if your firm has only four associates, at least one of them is actively planning to leave your firm by the end of the year if what looks like a better opportunity comes along.

The good news is that there still is time to reinforce -- or, for too many law firms, develop for the first time -- an effective associate retention plan that is right for your firm.

This article, originally posted in March 2015, is even more timely today.

One of the most important lessons of the pandemic has been the vital importance of maintaining frequent personal contact with clients.

Client Relations Management (CRM) systems need to move from the marketing department onto the desktop of every fee earner in a law firm. In the hands of a reasonably diligent lawyer -- even a horribly busy one -- a good desktop CRM system streamlines the flow of information between a central marketing and business development database and each lawyer. These systems have demonstrated quite convincingly how they can save valuable time, build more durable and productive one-to-one relationships with clients and their organizations, and produce a substantial return on a firm's total investment of resources, time (especially partner time), and management attention.

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As law firms begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them are considering or reconsidering whether membership in a network should be part of their strategy for the 2020s.

Our clients have told us that four blog articles, first published seven years ago, have given them a good intellectual framework for their discussions and decision making. They remain among our most frequently-accessed items at Walker Clark World View.

Casper David Friedrich, "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog"

Things will never be the same. They might be a lot better eventually, but there's no going back to 2019.

Nor should we want to.

-- managing partner of a Walker Clark client law firm in Europe.

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Over the past 12 months, we have observed an unusually high degree of "churn" in associate and partner movements in legal markets worldwide. In most instances, compensation has been a significant factor in these departures, although not the only one. Remote working during the pandemic has opened new opportunities for discrete lateral recruiting, with the "losing" law firm not finding out about someone's decision to leave until it is too late.

Walker Clark LLC announces a series of four complementary webinars to introduce quality management concepts, tools, and methods to law firms and corporate law departments worldwide.

As the legal services industry moves through the disruptive and increasingly competitive professional and market environments of the 2020s, quality has emerged as a critical condition for sustainable success.

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After more than eight years of negotiation and agreement in principle late last year, ratification of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is stalled in the European Parliament due to the diplomatic deterioration that has occurred between China the the EU this year. At the moment, the prospects for ratification are not good.

It might be many months or years before the CAI is revived, but law firms with clients with investments in China, especially in the  automotive and chemical sectors, need to continue to pay attention.

group of hands adding pieces to a puzzle

One of the great challenges to busy lawyers in law firms, corporate and government law departments, and other legal services organizations is to work better together as a team and to promote teamwork throughout the organization.

Unfortunately, many lawyers waste large amounts of money and fee earner time every year attending “teamwork” workshops and seminars.

painting of a woman walking along a stormy beach

Two reports this week suggest that a robust economic recovery could be as close as six months away.

Is your law firm ready?

How do you know for sure?