Q: I’m starting a legal job search after more than a decade with the same law firm. Aside from competitive salaries and health benefits, I’d like to know some of the more popular incentives employers are offering so I can factor this into my search. What are law firms and legal departments offering nowadays?
A: When you’re sifting through job postings and weighing offers, you’re right to look beyond compensation. Here are four of the most common perks law firms and legal departments may offer top candidates to sweeten the deal.
1. Alternative work arrangements. Work-life balance is more than just a buzzword. According to a Robert Half survey, 54 percent of employees polled said they are more committed to their personal lives today than they were a year ago. Top employers are not blind to this trend and are likely to offer some leeway when it comes to scheduling. Some of the popular incentives you can expect to see include flextime, telecommuting, job sharing and a compressed workweek. To further entice skilled candidates, companies are becoming more generous when it comes to paid parental leave.
2. Professional development opportunities. To climb the legal career ladder, you need to enhance the hard and soft skills you already have, while also adding to your toolkit. Because so many of today’s legal professionals recognize this, law firms and legal departments are increasingly offering an array of professional development opportunities to attract top talent. Some of the incentives you might encounter are mentorships, paid time off to pursue professional certifications and continuing legal education (CLE) courses, and tuition-reimbursement programs.
3. Employee recognition. In a recent Robert Half study on workplace happiness, the top factor legal professionals reported as key to their job contentment is feeling appreciated for the work they do. Money talks, so a more obvious way for employers to acknowledge their attorneys and staff is to hand out mid-year and year-end bonuses. But don’t forget the power of both privately and publicly commending your teams. When researching organizations and speaking with hiring managers, read between the lines and seek out those who appear to truly appreciate their employees.
4. Meaningful work. Job satisfaction also entails being proud of the law firm or legal department you join and a chance to use your talents doing something worthwhile for a good cause. Seek out employers that take corporate social responsibility seriously and encourage volunteerism by allowing staff to give back to the community on company time.