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  • Two crucial elements for a successful legal practice are culture and good legal staff.
  • Strategic planning in relation to human capital is important for success.
  • Creativity and flexibility are key in retaining regional and rural legal staff for competitive advantage.

One of the biggest issues facing law firms (including regional and rural (‘RR’) law firms) is attracting and retaining ‘good’ legal staff. Failure to do so makes the firm vulnerable. Such a law firm cannot formulate a succession plan, it may prematurely promote unsuitable legal staff, and the practice may suffer loss of legal work. In short the practice may die. Despite problems, some law firms are highly successful in attracting and retaining legal staff.

The following article presents the findings of my research into the reasons why some law firms successfully attract, retain and develop great legal staff, while others fail. My research draws upon the legal practice management and business management literature and also upon direct interviews with over thirty owners (principals or directors) of Australian regional and rural law firms – those that are successful as well as those that are struggling.

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