Preparing for your Legal Technology Interview

Whether in person, over the phone, or online, a strong interview can be the difference between moving forward in the process and securing a new role or being left without a job offer. Preparation for your interviews will be the key to your success. Read our tips for preparing for a technology job interview at a law firm to ensure you’re ready to impress at your next interview.

Do your Homework

Research the law firm and hiring manager

Explore the law firm’s website so that you’re aware of who they are, what they do, and what they value. The About Us and History pages are a good place to start. Look for any recent developments or changes either through a news or press release section of their website or by researching the company through Google or another search engine. Checking out their LinkedIn page or their profile on Glassdoor is another good way to better understand the firm before your interview. You might also be able to discover the firm’s use of technology to achieve their goals. Take notes while you research and prepare to leverage what you know during your interview, complimenting specific aspects of the firm or asking questions like, “I noticed your firm recently____, how has this change impacted the day to day here at ____?” This will demonstrate your enthusiasm and help you stand out from the crowd. But don’t do this halfway, an employer can see through faked enthusiasm or surface-level knowledge.

Additionally, researching the person that will be interviewing you could also give you an opportunity to make a connection. Check LinkedIn and/or a website bio to give you an understanding of the hiring manager’s or other interviewer’s career, role, and responsibilities and possibly find a potential personal connection.

Understand the position

Talk with your ESP Legal recruiter about the details of the position—the technical requirements and responsibilities— for which you are interviewing. Consider where you would fit within the organization, who you will report to, and if applicable, who will report to you. Make comparisons to roles you’ve held formerly, or to your dream role. Preparing with your recruiter is a great opportunity for you to ask questions you might not want to raise in an interview.

Prepare your Answers and Examples

Although you can’t know the exact questions an interviewer is going to ask you, most interviewers tend to follow patterns. You can prepare answers and stories that will demonstrate your strengths and eligibility for the legal technology position for which you are interviewing.

“Tell me about a time when…”

Write a list of your professional accomplishments and think about your strengths. Then consider which of those would translate well to the position you’re interviewing for and practice telling those accomplishments as stories, focusing on your strengths and what uniquely enabled you to accomplish the task. Interviewers want to know how you’ll manage a tricky or challenging situation or how you’ll deal with a difficult co-worker; most importantly, they want to see how you work within a professional legal environment. Often a story about an accomplishment can be used to answer a variety of questions—so preparing a few stories beforehand can prepare you more for an interview than simply thinking of answers to a long list of common interview questions.

“Tell me about yourself…”

This question is a terrific opportunity to take charge of the interview and talk about your strengths, qualifications, and why you’d be good at the job. At the same time, you can express who you are personally and professionally to your interviewer. Take advantage of this opportunity; your answer to this question should directly fit the concerns and objectives of the prospective employer and relate to the specific position for which you’re interviewing. Don’t go too long. Practice a three-minute bio before going to your interview that is based on the needs of the law firm and shows how your skills and abilities would help the employer achieve their objectives.

“What is your greatest weakness?”

While you may not be asked this at an interview, it is a question worth preparing for—it is asked often enough that it should never catch you off guard. The best thing to do is answer honestly. Share a weakness that isn’t essential to the job, but isn’t fluffy or entirely irrelevant either. Then talk about the ways you have overcome or are working to overcome this weakness. This demonstrates to the interviewer that you are self-aware and willing to acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses, but also shows that you seek ways to improve yourself and overcome obstacles.

Prepare Questions to ask your Interviewer

Always have a number of insightful questions prepared to ask your interviewer that will reflect back positively on you.

Questions about Working for the Law Firm

Asking if there are opportunities to advance within the firm or if they offer technical training opportunities to their employees demonstrates that you would like to stick around for a while and are interested in further developing your skillset. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer what they enjoy most about working for the law firm or if they can tell you about the firm’s culture. These questions will not only help you understand if the firm is a good fit for you, but they will also show your eagerness to understand what it would be like to work there.

Questions about the Job

Asking about workflow, distribution of tasks, and if you’ll primarily be working independently or as part of team are also great question areas during the interview. Be prepared in all instances to offer an anecdote from your professional background to emphasize your abilities and suitability for the role. You may also want to ask, “Who would be the ideal person for this job?” Often, your interviewer will realize that the person he or she is looking for is the person sitting across from them.

Practice Makes Perfect

The IT recruiters at ESP Legal are happy to help you practice and develop your interviewing skills. They’ll offer feedback based on their professional expertise and analysis of the impression you make in an interview. Consider his or her advice carefully as you further prepare for your interview.

Interviewing is a practiced art. If you can master the art of interviewing, you’ll have success in your job search.

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ESP Legal Releases 2022 Technology Salary Guide

Our 2022 Technology & Litigation/eDiscovery Salary Guide presents data gathered and analyzed from law firms ranging from small and mid-sized law firms with a handful of legal technology professionals to AM 100 & AM 200 law firms with hundreds of technology staff. We compared our numbers, using actual salaries from our recent placements, with other national resources and determined the base salary rates from 2021. Our data shows that AM 100/200 Law Firms increased legal technology salaries by 7.7%, eDiscovery and Litigation Support roles salaries by 6%, and Executive Leadership and Key Management salaries by 8.9%, while small and mid-sized firms saw legal technology and litigation salaries increase by 7.7%. Bonuses and benefits including healthcare coverage, PTO, and remote and flexible work options continue to be important for retaining and attracting legal technology talent in a competitive market.

View Legal Technology and Litigation/eDiscovery Salary Guide

Retention and Attraction

2021 saw an increase in legal technology professionals willing to leave the security of their current positions and seek new roles. While the “Great Resignation” has not been a huge factor within law firm technology and eDiscovery teams, we have noticed that about 60% of the roles we’ve been asked to fill this year have been replacements for employees who have left for other opportunities. Many law firms are also growing their IT and litigation support departments, leading to new opportunities for technology experts in the legal niche. Amidst the high demand for technology and litigation professionals, offering higher salaries and bonuses has been instrumental in law firms securing the best talent.

In addition to higher pay, job seekers are also looking for employers who align with their own values, which include a desire for diversity, career growth opportunities, flexible work schedules, and mental health resources. In an article about how tech companies have successfully retained and attracted talent in the midst of labor shortages, common practices included: prioritizing and recruiting underrepresented candidates, extending offers to successful candidates more quickly, transparently offering consistent salaries for same-level roles, and emphasizing the employee experience.

Benefits Snapshot

Benefits continue to be an essential factor for legal professionals’ decisions around employment. The pandemic has shifted what many employees consider to be an ideal work-life balance, what they want from an employer or job, and what benefits they value most. But there’s a gap between what employers believe employees want, and what they really do.

 One of the biggest gaps we’ve observed is around remote work.The desire for remote and flexible work options has risen considerably over the last two years as individuals have experienced the perks of working from home, including saving time and money on commuting and a decrease in lost productivity due to picking up a sick child from school or other similar interruptions. But whereas many employees would like to work from home three to four days a week—if not 100% remotely—many law firms’ hybrid plans are only offering two days at home, with some technical support roles requiring 100% in person. Law firms offering hybrid or remote work options aligned with employee desires will be the most successful in attracting legal technology talent.

It may be no surprise that in addition to remote work, jobs seekers value paid vacation (85%), paid sick leave (80%), training and education benefits (68%), and health care benefits (85%) including dental (81%). What differentiates average and great benefits in the minds of legal technology professionals? Our network of professionals is generally looking for low medical costs, three to four weeks of paid vacation, a bonus potential of 10-15%, and retirement plans with 7-10% profit-sharing contributions.

High Demand and Growth Areas

In the last year, we’ve seen increased demand in the areas of Information Security, eDiscovery/Litigation Support, and Network Infrastructure. In addition, several positions within technology have unemployment rates below 2%, including Information Security Analyst, Database Administrator, and Network Architect.

With over twenty-five years of legal technology staffing expertise, we continue to monitor and analyze hiring trends, including compensation and benefits in this rapidly changing economy in order to best serve you.

View the 2022 Legal Technology and Litigation/eDiscovery Salary Guide

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3 Easy Ways to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile in 2022

With a new year, comes new opportunity. Dust off an old hobby, set new goals, and refresh your online image. There is certainly room to face 2022 with excitement: job opportunities in the legal technology industry are booming, and by following our LinkedIn profile recommendations, you could find yourself in an exciting new legal technology role.

1. Start with the basics:

Sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impact. According to LinkedIn, members with photos receive 21 times more profile views, and 35 times more messages than those without a photo. Your photo should be professional-looking with good lighting and a professional smile. Ideally, you should use a solo shot showing you from the shoulders up, and your attire should match your profession and industry. For legal technology professionals, we recommend business casual attire.

Customizing your URL is simple, and makes it easier to share on a resume, business card, or email signature. It’s free and simple to do and can be edited in the contact info section of your profile page. If you’re looking to be contacted by recruiters or employers, you’ll also want to include your email address and potentially your phone number.

2. Identify and promote your brand:

Think beyond your job title and identify what you bring to the table. What value do you offer to a law firm? How do you help the team internally or externally? The headline and about section of your LinkedIn profile provide an opportunity for you to sell yourself to technical recruiters and internal HR professionals.

In your headline, use dividers like the vertical slash or bullet to say more than just your job title. For example:

User Support Specialist | Provide White Glove Service to Legal Executives

IT Security Engineer | Innovative Leader and Security Compliance Expert

Bring depth to your brand in the about section of your profile. Write 3-5 sentences that highlight your skill set and experience, show your personality, and demonstrate your ability to help your employers. You may want to include tangible examples or keywords in this section, but don’t overstuff it. You want this to be an easy and short summary for a recruiter or HR professional to read and gain insight into your professional experience and brand.

3. Optimize to be found:

Don’t leave the rest of your profile blank. Just as you would on your resume, use each job listing as an opportunity to highlight your skills, accomplishments, and keywords that match the kind of job you’re looking for. While you don’t want to have to constantly customize and update your profile, if you’re looking for a new legal technology job—or are at least interested in hearing about law firm technology job opportunities—it’s a good idea to review a few job postings in order to identify the keywords and skills that law firm employers are looking for in their technology team. Then you can be sure to include these skills and keywords within your job listings, your about section, and in the skills section of your LinkedIn profile. Listing a keyword or skill multiple times throughout your profile will help you rank higher in a recruiter or HR professional’s search. You can display up to 50 skills, and “pin” your most valuable three. Similarly, listing your location and industry can help your profile show up when recruiters are searching LinkedIn because they might be targeting specific areas in their search.

Another way to rank higher in searches and help your profile stand out is through recommendations. We recommend seeking out at least three recommendations for your profile—these could be from a former supervisor or colleague if you’re actively employed.

Joining groups and increasing your connections are also valuable ways to boost the chances of your profile showing up in a search and having a recruiter or HR professional reach out. These actions not only show that you’re active on LinkedIn but can also help demonstrate your expertise and involvement within the legal technology community.

Pro tip: If you’re currently employed, you may want to make changes to your profile gradually rather than all at once, and/or you might turn off “Share profile updates with your network.” This can be found under Me -> Settings & Privacy -> Visibility -> Visibility of your LinkedIn Activity. Both strategies should help limit sparking suspicion with your current colleagues or boss.

LinkedIn is no longer just an online resume, your profile is an opportunity to showcase your professional brand, share your accomplishments, and build an online community of like-minded professionals. Whether you’re ready to take the next step in your legal technology career, or just thinking about it, making a few changes on your LinkedIn profile can help you stand out and be found by recruiters and employers alike.

Ready to start a conversation with a legal IT recruiter? Contact us today!

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How Client Demands are Changing Technology & Hiring at Law Firms in 2021

A lot has been learned at law firms in the last year, perhaps the most important being that technology investment and information security are mandatory for keeping clients.

Client Demand

In the age of self-help and easy online access to everything from our bank accounts to our child’s daycare photos, law firms are moving swiftly to provide tools for their clients to efficiently and easily check the status of their case, pay their bills, and stay on top of case details online. Client expectations for these self-help services could now make the difference between securing or losing a prospective client. In response, law firms are making decisions to innovate and help their clients have better control over their legal matters, which in turn has impacted their legal technology hiring needs. Law firms are seeking developers with technical languages and skills that have rarely been needed in the legal niche before. Developers with Python and Tableau are being hired to create user-friendly dashboards and applications to serve the demands of the firm’s clients.

While these technology advancements are important and necessary for keeping clients satisfied with their law firm, they also create new risks and require new safeguards, increasing the need for risk assessment and security engineers. Clients, particularly those in sensitive information industries like healthcare, government, banking and finance, and insurance are demanding more security, information governance, and compliance protocols from their law firms. While this was handled by the CISO in the past, as these requirements grow in volume and complexity, so does the need for dedicated Information Governance Directors and other personnel to manage the information governance process for the firm.

Benefits to the Law Firm

Beyond securing and retaining the valuable business of clients, new technology implementations benefit law firms by giving valuable time back to their attorneys. New developers on law firm technology teams are creating digital dashboards to provide all of the data an attorney needs to speak intelligently with their client at the click of a button. Implementation of these business intelligence and artificial intelligence tools has also created an opening for data scientists to draw data from the firm’s various databases, synthesize, analyze, and then, most importantly, identify how the law firm can leverage it.

Adapting your Hiring Strategy

For many of these roles, hiring managers will need to look to the corporate world for recruitment, and may need to adapt their pay structure to meet candidate expectations. While sign-on bonuses are quite common in the corporate world, they are less common at the law firms we work with. Law firms may need to consider creating a sign-on bonus for these new legal technology roles or offer a slightly higher annual salary in order to attract the best candidates. As workplaces return to or find a new normal, law firms will also need to compete with the remote work-friendly policies and flexible work schedules being offered in the corporate world.

Law firms may also want to consider advancing the careers of their current Legal IT professionals by providing training opportunities. IT support staff could become valuable Business Analysts, using their knowledge and expertise with users to document and help developers successfully program accordingly. Legal IT professionals with backgrounds in information security could also be successful in the information governance field with the right training.  Investing in your current employees can be an excellent way to meet the talent gap for these new technology hiring needs, as well as retain valuable legal technology professionals.

Opportunities for IT Professionals

These changes at law firms also create opportunities for IT professionals to be on the cutting edge of technology in the legal industry. Law firms are looking for:

  • Web and Applications Developers to develop custom in-house software solutions.
  • Business Analysts to design and build sophisticated queries and prediction models and support firm-wide data analytics.
  • Information Security Analysts to ensure security requirements are included in technology-driven projects.
  • Applications Architects to create and implement new portals or to design and develop custom applications.
  • Security Compliance Managers to coordinate vulnerability assessments, penetration tests, and associated remediation activities.
  • Enterprise Applications Engineers to research, develop, implement, and maintain global software solutions.
  • Business Intelligence Analysts to plan, design, install, and configure flexible and reusable data systems or to implement data reporting, data, visualizations, or research projects.

While technologists who have worked outside of the legal niche may have years of experience with the work described above in the corporate world, it’s still relatively new in legal and it’s growing fast. Current legal niche technology professionals also have the opportunity to grow their skillset by pursuing certifications or training based on their law firm’s new staffing needs. These exciting changes at law firms create the opportunity to be one of the leading innovators in legal IT, which can then give you tremendous opportunity for advancing your career.

Technology is always changing, which creates new client expectations, and the need for law firms to adapt accordingly. When it comes to implementing new technologies and innovating to meet your clients’ needs, having the right people on your legal technology team makes all the difference.

If you’re looking to hire IT professionals to meet the demands of your clients, or you’re looking for a technology role in the legal space, contact us today.

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ESP Legal Releases 2021 Salary Guide

ESP Legal's 2021 Salary Guide for Legal Technology & Litigation/eDiscovery roles

Our 2021 legal technology salary guide presents data gathered and analyzed from a wide range of law firms and includes salaries from ESP Legal’s recent placements as well as national and local research. Due to the pandemic, pay rates remained relatively stagnant in 2020, but with many law firms delivering strong profits, employees will be looking to get pay increases in 2021. 

Law Firm Retention & Hiring Trends in the Midst of a Pandemic

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most law firms initially held onto their technology staff because they needed the support to shift to a virtual work model. As 2020 progressed, some office-related IT roles were eliminated as they were not needed for the remote workforce. Many firms also asked employees to take a temporary reduction in salary. However, as firms saw they were doing well financially—despite the pandemic—many of those pay cuts were removed.

We saw a huge reduction in the number of available candidates in 2020 as job security became the number one concern for candidates. A “passive” job seeker is gainfully employed but open to hearing about opportunities in line with their career goals, but with the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, this type of candidate was all but eliminated in 2020, leaving many law firms struggling to fill difficult positions.

Benefits Matter: Flexibility & Remote Work

Benefit offerings appear to have a high influence on passive job seekers, with 52% saying that they would leave their job for one with the “right” benefits. In nationwide surveys, 3 in 5 workers reported wanting to continue working remotely. For law firms to be competitive in 2021, flexibility and remote work options are key.

In our conversations with legal technology and eDiscovery professionals, we’ve heard that most who are looking for new opportunities desire the possibility to work remotely between 60-70% of the time. Increased flexibility in their work schedule is also desired, with work-life balance being a primary concern for professionals in 2021. For years, benefits have been a driving factor for many professionals as they weigh career options; the pandemic has somewhat changed what benefits workers want, as well as solidifying benefits as an important component of the compensation package.

High Demand and Growth Areas

The technology jobs in highest demand for law firms are:

  • Cyber Security Engineers/Analysts
  • Cloud Engineers
  • Business Intelligence Analysts
  • Business Analysts
  • Enterprise Applications Engineers
  • Data Scientists

We are also seeing more demand in the area of Information Governance and Risk, and the use of eDiscovery grew in the remote work conditions of 2020 and early 2021. In addition, several positions within technology have unemployment rates below 2%, including IT Manager, Network Architect, and Software Developer.

With twenty-five years of legal staffing expertise, ESP Legal continues to monitor and analyze hiring trends, including compensation and benefits in this rapidly changing economy in order to best serve you.

View Legal Technology and Litigation/eDiscovery Salary Guide

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How to Find Top Legal Technology Talent during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hiring the best talent is critical to a law firm’s success, and with the increased remote workforce due to COVID-19, you may be questioning how to find the best person for your IT job opening. Finding top IT talent and leadership to support attorneys and staff is an imperative part of any firm’s business strategy.

There are two types of job seekers: an “active” job seeker is someone enthusiastically looking to make a change immediately. They may be unemployed or just eager to move for a variety of reasons. A “passive” job seeker is gainfully employed but open to hear about opportunities in line with their career goals.

In a soft hiring market, like we are experiencing now due to COVID-19, the passive job seeker is more likely to stay in their current role and avoid risks involved with making a change, especially if they are not 100% certain it is the right career move.

While some outstanding legal technology staff have been let go during the pandemic, most firms are doing their best to keep existing IT staff on board to solve new technology challenges caused by remote workers and related data security risks. Vertex Advisors’ Frank Gillman notes “the rapid expansion of the remote workforce has significantly increased the attack surface of corporate networks, creating multiple vulnerabilities for hackers to inflict chaos or to steal sensitive information for profit” and how to address it.

With a limited talent pool of fewer active job seekers in addition to the reduced number of passive job seekers, finding the right legal technology talent is more critical than ever. These four steps can help successfully guide you along the path:

Step 1: What can your firm offer to the candidate?
Most firms are facing some challenges during this unprecedented economy. Make sure to strongly tout any positive information to prospective candidates. Here are some topics worth consideration if applicable:

Financial Stability or Improvement:

  • Strong Q1 & Q2 financials.
  • Partners taking larger pay cuts to ensure staff has had minimal impact.
  • Decrease and/or repayment of pay reductions after a stronger than expected financial performance.
  • Remaining committed to complete important technology initiatives, where this new hire is needed, despite staff reductions in other areas.

Improvement of Employee Benefits and/or Firm Culture:

  • Expanding or modifying remote work policies. For example, according to Law.com, Linklaters is offering a new Agile Working Policy allowing staff and partners to work remotely for 20-50% of the time.
  • Making sure your benefit plan is in line with the competition. If it’s already a better plan than other firms have, don’t be shy about sharing the overview!
  • Providing education and training for staff. IT employees heavily value opportunities to earn certifications and stay up-to-date on technical knowledge.
  • Supporting participation in legal industry events for IT staff. i.e. ILTA
  • Creating social events when people do return to work, such as a coffee barista on Monday mornings, free lunch on Tuesday, or casual Fridays for the next few months. Anything firms can do to alleviate the stress or anxiety of a return to the office can be a positive recruitment tool.

Step 2: Plan with your ideal candidate in mind.
Firm priorities have likely shifted over the last few months. You want to add the right resources to meet those priorities so set the bar high by investing thoughtful, strategic time in dreaming up your ideal fit.

  • Where should this person be located? If the right person is not available in that area is there another viable location worth consideration?
  • Clearly define the job role and craft a detailed working description of the position. Identify what the new hire should accomplish in their first 90, 180, and 365 days working at the firm.
  • Present the draft iteration to key stakeholders for input and make any necessary adjustments.

Finally, don’t forget to consider soft skills or other qualifications you won’t necessarily see highlighted on a technical resume. For instance, what kind of person fits best with your firm’s culture and can bring a more diverse set of skills or experiences?

Step 3: Recruit technology talent with determination
Once you know who you want and what the firm can offer, where will you find this perfect legal IT professional?

When it comes to hiring top talent in a tight pandemic-impacted market, it requires more work at this stage than simply posting the opening on your firm’s website and job boards. Keep in mind the ideal candidate you dreamed up during step 2, may not be actively looking. One place to also search are relevant alumni networks, other law firms, or industry events.

You could do the hard work of scoping out all these options, and the heavy-duty recruiting work that comes along with it, or consider reaching out to an industry-specific staffing firm to share these insights so an account manager can perform those tasks in your stead. Experience counts when searching for talent.

Finally, involve others at the firm in recruitment and hiring processes, and make it clear to candidates they will likely interview with HR representatives, hiring managers, coworkers, stakeholders, and firm partners. Candidates in today’s market want to know they are a cohesive part of the team. Highlighting that point upfront with both candidates and the internal team is a win-win for the firm.

Step 4: Be selective and competitive with offers
As noted previously in step 1, keep expectations high and only screen and interview IT professionals who have the skills required to help the firm succeed. Once the candidate pool has been narrowed, consider the culture fit and soft skill criteria identified in step 2, and seek alignment utilizing third party personality profile testing tools such as DiSC, Predictive Index, CliftonStrengths, or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Make sure each prospective candidate feels appreciated and respected throughout the interviewing process. Remember: the candidate will be assessing the firm during this process and weighing all their options given the insecure job market we are experiencing during COVID-19. It is important to be transparent about the interviewing and onboarding processes and the workplace environment.

Finally, once the firm is ready to make an offer to a candidate, be competitive. Though money isn’t everything, put forth a salary and bonus potential that is, at minimum, fair and in accordance with industry standards. Don’t overlook the importance of nontraditional benefits, especially if the firm cannot meet the top candidate’s preferred salary. Consider whether sweetening some work-life balance perks (the number one concern of candidates in the market today) is possible. Perhaps consider more unique and surprising perks, such as pet insurance (one in three Fortune 500 companies now offer this) to stand out from other firms.

The last step of the search for a great legal IT professional should be to conduct a background check as permitted by law. After all, the firm and the new hire should both enter the working arrangement with total confidence.

Though the market for legal technology talent is tight right now, and likely to remain so until things around the world are more settled, firms are not without options. With the right planning, preparation, and recruitment strategy, and a smooth interviewing and hiring process, empty seats can be filled quickly to ensure a firm stays innovative and competitive in an increasingly technical legal environment.

If you’d like to streamline your search for the ideal legal technology candidate and receive additional market and industry hiring insights, our ESP Legal account managers are always happy to help.

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Asking for an Applicant’s Previous Salary is About to Be History

The Salary History Question: Is it History?

A change to the hiring process has been developing across America within the last 12 months. Currently, 8 states, 6 cities, 2 New York counties, and Puerto Rico have banned employers from asking for a candidate’s salary history, and bills are up for debate in several more states. What has spurred this development? After all, it is certainly understandable that employers have wanted to know this information in order to make informed hiring decisions and minimize costs. But lawmakers and advocates have argued that this common practice traps certain individuals in a cycle of underpayment, especially women, minorities, and people moving from places with lower costs of living. Even if your law firm is not located in a state affected by the recent flurry of laws banning the salary history question, we suggest you consider revisiting your hiring process and eliminate such questions. Here are a few reasons why:

A Unified Policy

If you do business across state lines, including places that have already banned the salary history question, or are near states that have, it will be easiest to have a single policy in place for all of your offices. These laws are quickly being debated and added by more and more states and cities (see complete list at the end of this article), so simply adhering to the stricter laws will help ensure that all of your offices are in compliance, and you will save yourself the headache of having to adjust your policies multiple times. After all, complying with these laws does not simply mean that you can no longer ask for a candidate’s salary history. Violations do carry repercussions, so you will need to train your HR staff and recruiters on what kinds of questions are appropriate and legal for compensation discussions. This approach has already been followed by Google, Facebook, Cisco, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

A More Accurate Valuation

Asking for someone’s salary history may cause you to undervalue certain candidates due to conditions that have nothing to do with their abilities. As a result, you might lose out on qualified candidates who receive a more competitive offer elsewhere. The goal of these laws is to narrow the pay gaps for women and minorities—if they were underpaid in the past, revealing their salary history puts them at risk for getting underpaid again. Even if their new job actually increases their pay, it will likely still lag behind the standard due to starting from a lower point to begin with. By avoiding the salary history question, law firms can instead focus on paying a candidate a wage determined by their skills and the requirements of the job.

What To Do Instead

Perhaps you’re considering abandoning the salary history question, but are still looking for a way to determine an appropriate salary for a candidate. One option is to simply set a range for the position beforehand and be upfront with the candidate about it. Your scale can account for experience, education, and performance, in order to pay what’s fair. Most of the laws being passed do allow you to discuss salary expectations, which can serve a similar purpose to the salary history question, but leaves the candidate feeling more respected and fairly treated. These strategies will improve your relationship with the candidate and encourage a smooth hiring process.

There are many benefits to complying with the new standards created by these laws, including increased clarity and efficiency for your team during the hiring process, a widened candidate pool, and better candidate relations. In addition, it could help you increase diversity at your law firm, which in turn can improve the bottom line. By adhering to these laws—even if they don’t apply in your state—you make your firm more appealing by empowering your HR department to pay appropriate wages for the position, regardless of an individual’s past pay.

If you’re not sure how to determine fair pay, we’d love to use our knowledge of the legal hiring market to help you out:

Talk to an Account Manager

View Salary Guides

 

Current statewide bans (date of effect): California (1/1/18), Connecticut (1/1/19), Delaware (12/14/17), Hawaii (1/1/19), Massachusetts (7/1/18), NJ (2/1/18 [public only; but senate passed bill this year for all employers]), Oregon (10/6/17), Vermont (7/1/18), Puerto Rico (3/1/17)

In process:  Florida, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island

Current citywide or county bans (date of effect): Albany County, NY (12/17/17), New York City, NY(10/31/17), Philadelphia, PA (on hold), Westchester County, NY (07/09/18)

Note: additional cities have bans for city offices only.

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Our Top 7 Recommendations To Help You Hire And Retain Legal Professionals

Tips for hiring and retaining legal pros in 2018As you plan for the year ahead you might be aiming to make your hiring process more efficient, hoping to implement new employee retention initiatives, or analyzing your upcoming projects to identify your hiring needs. Whatever particular challenges you might be facing, 2018 is brimming with opportunities, and our team of experts at ESP Legal has put together these recommendations so you’ll be primed to take advantage of them.

Our Best Advice for Law Firm Hiring Managers in 2018:

1. Make or Promote A Remote Work Policy:

To recruit and maintain the best possible legal talent, make 2018 the year you evaluate your remote work policies. One of the major factors considered by candidates looking to make a career change is their ability to do their work remotely, either regularly or occasionally. If you already have a flexible policy, promote it with prospective hires. If you don’t, consider offering it as a perk to your new hires after they’ve proven themselves and as a reward to employees you are looking to retain. While not all positions allow for frequent remote work, with a structure in place to measure performance, many roles can be successfully executed through telecommuting.

2. Know the Legal Hiring Market:

It’s tight. Unemployment for educated legal professionals and technologists with legal experience is exceptionally low. If you’re looking to hire in the new year, it’s essential that you make yourself aware of what’s realistic to expect from both a skill set and compensation standpoint and draw up your job requirements accordingly.

3. Give Feedback:

If you’re working with a staffing firm, providing feedback in a timely manner is essential. It will help you get the best fit possible by helping your recruiter address concerns, adjust search efforts, and keep your favorite candidate warm while you work through your process. If you’re not working with a firm, feedback is just as important. Acknowledging a thank you note or informing a candidate of your next steps can keep them from losing interest or developing negative feelings about you or your firm.

4. Research Compensation:

The Association of Legal Administrators and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) are great resources for detailed compensation guidelines, and ESP Legal also publishes a free annual salary guide for technology, litigation support, and attorney compensation trends. If you are not able to offer a competitive salary as compared to your peers, think strategically about how you can offset this with better benefits, opportunity to grow and learn, and some flexibility in work schedule, and be prepared to sell these advantages to prospective hires.

5. Share Medical Benefits During the Process:

The cost of medical coverage can vary drastically from one firm to the next and can be a big factor for job seekers. If you’re working with a recruitment firm, share medical cost information with your recruiters. We have seen far too many candidates turn down an offer at the last minute because they’ve realized their out of pocket medical expense combined with the salary offered resulted in a decrease in their total compensation. By providing these medical costs in advance, or at least during negotiations, you’ll save yourself time and get the candidate you want.

6. Outsource your Hiring:

We know this may sound self-serving, but many of our clients historically hadn’t used recruiters before 2017 or tried to fill a position without help before sending it to us first, and after working with us have shared their regrets over the time they wasted. By engaging a trusted recruitment firm immediately when a need arises, you’ll get a great candidate on board fast, and minimize effort on your part.

7. Interview Efficiently:

In every area of legal hiring, candidates are in high demand and usually have several irons in the fire. When there are delays in the process, your internal hiring team can become forgetful or distracted and worse, your top candidate may lose interest in you or accept another opportunity before you’ve even prepared to make an offer. Line up all your qualified candidates and interview them in blocks of time over a few days or a week vs. one by one over several weeks. Then schedule internal debriefs with your team so you can compare candidates and make an offer to your top choice as soon as possible. Streamlining and expediting your interview process in these ways can help you make the best hire.

If you’re a hiring manager or department head at a law firm, we hope these recommendations have given you some good ideas and will help make 2018 your most successful year yet. If you’re looking for more personalized advice, our account managers would be thrilled to discuss your unique challenges and help you find the best solutions.

Get in touch

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Telecommuting – It’s Good for Employers in the Legal Tech Niche

3 Reasons Remote Work is a Great for Legal Tech EmployersToday, technology has connected us in powerful ways. With smart phones in our hands, we literally have the world at our fingertips – especially when it comes to business. We take conference calls on the road, check and send emails at lunch, and remain available even when traveling. In a way, we are always reachable, and expected to be so.

With this expectation, many of us are already working remotely throughout the workweek. Yet, some law firms are still skeptical about integrating telecommuting into their business and hiring models. Well, as we are on the heels of a new year, it’s time to face the fact; telecommuting is here to stay. But don’t worry – telecommuting is beneficial to the employer, too.

Hire the Best Talent

When it comes to finding and hiring the best talent, the option of telecommuting greatly opens the talent pool. For starters, you can say goodbye to geographical limitations and hello to the perfect candidate.

As law firms begin their candidate search, from Attorneys and Secretaries to IT Managers and Programmers, they know they need top talent to compete in a competitive marketplace. However, not many law firms know they should be seeking out candidates with telecommuting in mind, in order to obtain that top talent.

As the worlds of tech and legal meet, this becomes an issue, since the tech industry has long embraced remote workers. According to a Monster article, “The tech industry is well known for its flexible schedules and telecommuting opportunities. Which makes sense considering most tech companies are web based and that technology is the greatest resource when working from home. With video chats, conference calls, VPN networks, and wireless internet, we can constantly stay connected as though we were sitting in our office rather than at home.”

So, what does this mean for legal? The best tech talent has already experienced the luxury of telecommuting, and furthermore, they’ve come to expect it.

The nature of IT is very demanding because technology can fail anytime, and therefore support is needed at all hours. Fewer on-site IT resources are necessary thanks to programs like GotoAssist and TeamViewer where connecting to the PC remotely can solve most problems. Support centers are already operating like this, so why wouldn’t you? Denying the option of telecommuting could prohibit your firm from acquiring the best talent.

Enhanced Productivity

Remote Workers are Happier and More ProductiveThink that working from home causes more distractions and less productivity? Think again. Research indicates that employees use their time more efficiently at home. One potential reason being that more distractions are present in the workplace. In a study conducted by Stanford professor, Nick Bloom, the benefits of working from home were evaluated. The results revealed that home workers were more productive, made more work calls, took shorter breaks and less sick days, and best of all, reported being happier than their counterpart office workers.

Happier Employees, Better Retention, and More Money

Working from home offers the employee many reasons to be happy: no commute time, a flexible schedule, less company politics, healthier at-home lunch options, and more. According to a study by communication researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, teleworkers experience lower amount of stress and less distractions, and therefore report beingmore satisfied with their jobs compared to those working mostly in the office because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates.”

Bloom explains that employee happiness in working where they desire to, whether at home or in the office, is crucial to employee retention. Retaining quality staff will save the company recruitment, training, and loss of productivity expenses. If tech issues remain unresolved for long periods of time due to short staffing, your company becomes at risk for dissatisfied high-level staff and missed deadlines.

Cost benefits also include reduced office space and other office fees. Telecommuting requires that the employee use their own furniture, electricity, and other utilities, therefore saving the company money. An estimated $2,000 per employee could be saved each year on office expenses, Bloom finds.

When it comes to your firm’s bottom line you might want consider hiring a remote worker. Of course, telecommuting is not for every personality type, but it can certainly be used as a great employee retention and top-talent recruiting tool.

If you are looking to work remotely, or to hire a remote worker contact us for current openings at careers@esp-ca.com or 949.753.7575. ESP Legal focuses exclusively on matching top legal technology, litigation, and attorney talent with the best law firm opportunities.

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