Record-breaking mergers and acquisitions in 2021 led the initial post-pandemic economic recovery. Global mergers and acquisitions hit an all-time peak of 1.52 trillion in Q3, with U.S. activity up 32% to $581 billion. This was excellent news for the economy and for businesses, but it also meant there was a lot of work for lawyers.
That might seem like a good thing. But M&A deal work is demanding — it is hard, fast-paced, and high-stakes work. The unprecedented deal volume, combined with the challenging nature of the work, would be overwhelming for law firms under the best circumstances. And right now, law firms are not working under ideal circumstances. They are struggling to keep up with the sheer number of transactions coupled with the fact that law firm talent is a scarce commodity right now.
Where are all the M&A lawyers we need?
Competition for talent is especially challenging these days within the legal industry. Recruiters are tirelessly working to find law firm associates to help with the demand, but it’s not an easy task. Even after law firms find and acquire that talent, the next complication arises. It’s not only difficult to hire talented lawyers, it’s growing even harder to keep them.
A recent report found that 25% of female lawyers and 17% of male lawyers are considering leaving the legal profession altogether because of mental health, burnout, or stress.
What can law firms do to find and keep lawyers?
Although the individual wish lists may vary, there are a couple of ways firms can draw the best talent:
1. Provide the best technology
The benefit of the right legal research technology is two-fold. First, it’s a definite draw for new attorneys. They’ve been accustomed to using top-notch legal research technology in law school, and they’ve come to expect and rely on that technology. When firms offer an impressive technology suite, it’s another way your firm will stand out to the candidates.
The right legal research technology also benefits the existing lawyers at your firm. Increased M&A deal flow means that all of your lawyers are stretched for time. You need your new associates to be able to assist on deals immediately. But that means they need training. And you and your colleagues are so busy that this training ends up feeling more like a burden than assistance.
Tools like Practical Law will get your new associates up to speed quickly. With resources like the Due Diligence Toolkit and an Asset Acquisitions Toolkit, you will feel confident that your newest additions can access the most up-to-date and accurate legal information that is relevant for your M&A deals. These easy-to-use resources, like checklists, standard documents, and practice notes guide associates step-by-step through all they will need to know to help you with your M&A deals.
2. Focus on work-life balance
The younger generation entering the workforce, including legal associates, have a greater desire for work-life balance. While that concept may have been unattainable in law firms until recently, it is a major draw when recruiting associates. Whether it’s a hybrid working environment, a fully-remote work arrangement, or even just flexibility in their workspace, having the right tools means your associates can work from everywhere and anywhere.
When associates are using Practical Law, they (and you) will be confident that they can get the job done well. They won’t need to exclusively rely on seasoned attorneys to show them the ropes. They’ll help you sign and close your merger and acquisition deals — whether they are near or far. And offering that kind of work-life balance will appeal to the top candidates.
Be ready for the next boom in business
M&A was a hot practice area in 2021, but what’s to come next year? Or the year after? While you can make predictions to the best of your ability, the world has proven that you can only predict so much. See how Practical Law can help your firm and your associates be prepared for whatever comes your way.