Morning Briefing: Is your firm engaging with the career needs of its team?

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Is your firm engaging with the career needs of its team?
New research by the Law Society in the UK has found that law professionals have higher career expectations than the general workforce. The study found that three-quarters of legal professionals are proud to work for their organisation and 62 per cent are satisfied or very satisfied in their role. However, there are challenges for law firm management as a lack of engagement in strategic decisions made in the firm is one of the main reasons why talent would consider leaving. Those who are not engaged at all in business decisions are almost twice as likely to leave in the next 12 months (28 per cent against 15 per cent). Appraisal is important but 30 per cent of respondents feel they do not receive regular and constructive feedback on their performance and less than half (48 per cent) feel they get the feedback they need for career development and may look elsewhere to grow. An emerging risk for law firms according to the survey is the career expectations of generation ‘Y’, the 25-34 year olds. They are the age group most likely to move to another role or firm more frequently with 35 per cent saying they are likely to change jobs in the next 12 months compared to 26 per cent in the other age groups.
Law firms urged to ditch partnership structure
US law firms should scrap the traditional partnership structure and become public companies to allow better financial planning says a prominent law professor. While law firms operating as public companies are not new in other jurisdictions the American Bar Association has repeatedly resisted allowing it there. However Jonathan T. Molot from Georgetown University who is also the founder of a litigation finance company says the public company model would give firms access to funding to enable them to invest in lawyer training and technology. He wrote in the Southern California Law Review that top-billing partners moving to other firms and taking their equity stake in the firm with them creates further financial uncertainty under the partnership model.
International firm expands Malaysian practice
In 2012 Trowers & Hamlins became the first foreign firm to open a representative office in Kuala Lumpur and it has now announced plans to expand that practice with an application for a qualified foreign law firm licence. Malaysia introduced the Legal Profession Act last year which has opened the market to foreign law firms.
Insurer to review law firms efficiency
Insurance firm AXA is to review the efficiency of the law firms that it works with. Its UK legal team will be examining its relationship with firms including Clifford Chance, Norton Rose Fulbright and Hogan Lovells. The firm has cut its external legal spend by 35 per cent since 2011.