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How to retain legal talent within your legal department or law firm

By Tina De Maere  – March 14, 2024

The period between 2021 and 2023 is often called the ‘Great Resignation’, referring to the huge increase in resignation during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Belgium, this trend was mainly visible in the category of -25 year olds. In 2023, the amount of young people resigning from their jobs increased by 41% in comparison to the year before. Part of the explanation might be the war on talent: knowing that many companies are continuously looking for new talent, young people feel like there’s enough other grounds to discover, without having to be afraid that their options will soon run out.

The legal world, too, has to face these problems. Many companies and law firms experience difficulties in attracting top legal talents for their various departments. Even more challenging, however, is keeping these junior lawyers within your team once you’ve managed to hire them. Especially in the beginning of their career, lawyers will easily change jobs when they realize this would be advantageous to their professional, personal and/or financial development.

To retain these talents and discourage them from accepting one of the many job offers in their mailbox or LinkedIn-messages, it’s important to keep various elements in mind. Luckily for you, we’ve listed the most important ones below:

  • Pay your lawyers well
  • Offer opportunities for professional development
  • Create a company culture that is difficult to leave behind
  • Create a healthy work-life balance

Pay your lawyers well, because salary reflects value

First, let’s talk about money – an essential subject, though it may be difficult for some lawyers and companies to address this.

Don’t fool yourself: if you believe your team members have never received a job offer from another company or association, you’re probably wrong. Legal recruiters are always watching, waiting for the perfect moment to snatch the best legal advisors away right in front of your eyes.

One of the first things a potential candidate will scroll to in an offer, is the potential salary that could be earned at another employer. If this amount is considerably higher than their current salary, the offer naturally becomes a more tempting one.

The salary you pay your legal officers is a direct reflection of their value to you, to your team and to your company or firm. After all, your collaborators exchange their valuable time for money. For these reasons, paying your lawyers well is the first step to retaining talent within the business.

Don’t, however, assume that paying more money will automatically lead to a lower resignation rate. Instead of a higher salary, some lawyers will prefer other benefits, like a car, insurance, mileage allowance, recurrent bonuses or bonuses for negotiating certain deals, equity, loyalty bonuses etc. 

Consequently, it remains important to open a dialogue and listen to the needs and preferences of your team members. If possible, try to create personalized salary packs for every individual lawyer, while ensuring a fair balance between these packages at the same time. This is not a simple exercise, but if you want to keep your valuable legal talent with you, you shouldn’t hesitate to go the extra mile.

Offer your lawyers opportunities for professional development

Obviously, retaining legal talent is not only about money. Equally important is offering your lawyers satisfying opportunities to develop their professional competences. Not only their legal skills, but also their technical skills, soft skills and research capabilities form important parts of their professional repertoire.

Organizing trainings and additional programs (for example on legal tech) are one part of the formula. But there’s more. As a company or law firm, the key is to continue growing and reinventing yourself. Attracting new clients and interesting and/or challenging projects, implementing new tools and working methods (e.g. AI) , expanding your legal department are all means of keeping your company alive and kicking.

Once more, just like with the salary packets, creating personalized development programs might be an interesting route to follow. Providing your junior lawyers with a roadmap of their future at your department encourages them to keep working hard and achieving the proposed goals within a certain timeframe. This, too, binds lawyers to your company or law firm and may reduce quit levels.

Create a company culture that is difficult to leave behind

To discourage your lawyers from moving to another law firm or association, stimulating their financial and professional development will – although they are two important elements of the formula – most likely not be enough. One of the most important factors is creating a work environment in which your team members experience a sense of meaning and purpose.

Therefore, as stated above, attracting interesting cases and clients is essential to retaining the best legal advisors at your company. But this goes way further than the content of work. Encouraging values like diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace, offering mentorships to younger team members, organizing team buildings and so on are all examples of methods that can help you create a family culture. As recently stated by Forbes: “it is tough to leave places where you belong“.

Furthermore, emphasizing the social impact of your company can also encourage people to believe in the importance of their work to others. Making regular donations to charity or offering the opportunity to do pro bono work, for instance, could perfectly fit in this drawer.

Leave your lawyers enough personal space

Last but not least, maintaining a healthy work-life balance has become an increasingly important factor for lawyers and for all employees in general. Keeping the workload at acceptable levels, but also granting the possibility to work remotely from time to time can help in creating a healthy division between the personal and professional lives of your colleagues.

Improving the personal development of your colleagues also adds to the meaningfulness your lawyers will experience in their job, since they will be more fresh and energetic during the hours they actually spend at the office.


In urgent need of finding a legal consultant or lawyer to fill in the gaps in your team? Find a legal freelancer today on our platform!

Looking for a permanent hire? Let’s have a chat! Contact Tina De Maere by mail at or by phone (0483 66 70 14).