Tumultuous times, the new normal, the great resignation: superlatives and disruption have reigned supreme in this decade to date. From technology to talent retention, open justice to office redesigns, lawyers and leaders share their insights on the end of the pandemic pivot – and the beginning of the profession’s reset.
Two years of closures, uncertainty, and delays in resuming life as we once knew it. Turbulence upon relaunching is apparent. Landing upon what a thriving post COVID profession looks like is trickier still. As law firms of all sizes scramble and struggle to make sense of the 2022 landscape, demand for legal services is at a high. There is a need for more lawyers at every level – from graduates to partners and non-legal roles – yet the job market is stalling. The Australian Legal Partnership survey of 50 firms, published in early June, found plenty of movement in roles, but no real increase in headcount.
A near complete employment rate is creating heartache for businesses begging for talent amid stalled migration and visa take-ups. In addition to that, the uncertainty of 2020 and 2021 led many to change careers entirely. Feeling cramped during lockdowns, others made tree and sea changes; and are now confronting employer demands for at least some office days every week. Boosting diversity and inclusion in the profession can no longer be just a mission statement. Indeed, part of the resetting of the profession post-COVID must be to consider how we work, and who traditional models of long office days and next to no flexibility or consideration of personal circumstances have benefited in the past.
A clear divide can be traced across the profession.