Best Practice How To Manage Record Breaking Associate Turnover

Brenda Scott

4 minutes
Associates are leaving firms in record breaking numbers.

Aug 18, 2022 (BOSTON) — Associates are leaving firms in droves. Here is what you should do about it.

Associates are leaving firms in record numbers. Billing rates are up and revenue and profits are at record levels. However, the people bearing the brunt of this increased workload are leaving. They are running out of steam.

Associate turnover was explored in The 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market by the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and the Thomson Reuters Institute, the report can be found here.

Combat turnover with compensation?

According to the report, attorney turnover is at record levels, “(we were) edging dangerously close to firms losing one-quarter of their associates in 2021." However, compensation is not abating this attrition as would be expected. Associates are continuing to leave despite increased compensation and high profits.

Interestingly, when the report analyzed turnover patterns it found that the firms with the lowest associate turnover are not necessarily those with the highest compensation growth. There was a correlation between turnover and compensation, however. Lower rates of associate turnover were associated with lower compensation growth!

We can see that compensation is not necessarily a good indicator of the loyalty that lawyers feel towards their firms.

Whittle down the workload

A similar trend appears for workloads, attorneys at low turnover firms billed on average an extra fifty-one hours more than higher turnover firms.

Although these findings may seem inexplicable, we can assume that there are factors contributing to attrition that the report does not cover. Perhaps factors such as mental well-being, work/life balance, and the feeling of appreciation at work are involved.

How to manage associate turnover

So what should the modern law firm do? Compensation rates for associates are rising, and firms need to be paying high rates to stay competitive. But then what to do when there are not enough associates for the work to be done?

The answer is unclear. We will likely be dealing with the effects of associate turnover for the foreseeable future. However, you can protect your firm and minimize the effects of this phenomenon.

The Doccly Lender approach

Fortunately, Doccly Lender has the solution for you. With our automated Deal Rooms, you can get more work done with a fraction of the manpower. You can maintain high-quality work without relying on as many associates as before.

If you would like to learn more about how Doccly Lender would benefit your business, get in touch!