The Hidden Costs of an Empty Legal Technology Seat

It’s no secret that most decisions come with a cost. So it might not be a surprise that there are hidden costs of an empty legal technology seat while you search for the perfect hire. The process of hiring a new legal tech employee can be strenuous, taking hours of effort that you may often feel could be better spent elsewhere. It generally costs 2-3 times the average salary of the role you want to fill to hire someone new. With that much on the line, how do you make the most of your time and money while trying to make the right hiring choice?

Although some employee turnover can’t be helped, it is very expensive as you not only pay the costs associated with hiring, you also pay the cost of being without that employee while you hire. Make your action plan for bringing a new legal IT employee on board as cost-effectively as possible by taking all costs into consideration.

The Cost of Being Without an Employee

Law firms are not alone in their efforts to hire the “perfect” employee, but often these unicorns simply don’t exist. A hiring manager can become so focused on a certain skill, degree, background, or experience level, that they miss the smart, capable, and fast learning legal tech candidates right in front of them. Meanwhile, your law firm is losing money and taxing your other employees the longer you go without someone in that critical role. While this is an easy trap to fall into, there are some costs to consider when you’re waiting for that perfect candidate:

  • The cost of the person who fills in while the position is vacant can be high, especially if you aren’t using a contract-to-hire arrangement. While the individual can help you out in the short term, you’ll need to start all over again getting the next person up to speed when you finally hire.
  • You may have an employee willing to step up to perform that vacant job on top of their own. While this can work in the very short term, this individual can often feel underappreciated and burnt out, leading them to decide to leave your firm.
  • If the position is left completely vacant and no one handles the tasks and efforts, you’re losing 100% productivity for as long as you’re without someone in the role.

When you’re looking for a c-level hire like a CIO or CTO, the cost of being without that individual has compounded since this individual sets the direction for your information technology department and must be aligned to other departments as well. Getting the right person on board is essential, but being without someone in that role for too long could do significant damage to your law firm.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t hire carefully—having the right person on your team can be the difference between success and failure—but sometimes hiring someone with potential makes better sense than waiting for unattainable perfection.

The Cost of the Hiring Process

Law firms can’t afford hiring mistakes, and the time it takes to sort through resumes, set up interviews, conduct phone and in-person interviews, and wait for HR to approve the person can be just as costly. While it may seem like you’re adding to your costs, hiring a staffing firm to help with your search can actually be a great investment. Not only can a recruitment firm do the legwork (so you can stay focused on your own workload and priorities), they also may be better connected to the legal technology professionals you want to work with. Recruiters also have time to seek out legal IT and e-Discovery professionals who might not be looking for a job but are willing to make a career change when the right opportunity comes along.

For a c-level or director-level opening, a retained search may actually be your best option for quickly finding the best hire. Dedicated efforts from seasoned executive recruiters specialized in the legal technology niche will do the searching, selection, and background checks for you, so you’re only meeting the best-qualified candidates from both a culture fit and technical perspective.

When it comes to filling an empty seat on your legal technology team, some costly aspects of the hiring process can’t be helped. But you can control the amount of time and effort you spend, protect your law firm’s bottom line, and save your law firm’s technology team from burnout by making a good investment in a staffing firm and recognizing good (while imperfect) talent when they walk through the door.

We’d love to ease the burden of hiring when it comes to your law firm’s legal technology team. Learn more about our services and reach out to begin a conversation with an account manager.

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