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Half of today’s U.S. legal professionals have flexible work arrangements

Special Counsel, a provider of legal consulting, attorney recruiting, legal talent, legal technology and eDiscovery solutions, recently released its 2019 Salary Guide, which includes comprehensive national salary and benefits data and total compensation figures for in-demand legal positions at law firms and companies ranging in size. According to this year’s guide, with the unemployment rate at a consistent low, in-house law departments and law firms alike are searching for new ways to attract talent in a highly competitive labor market by way of redefining the types of non-traditional benefits they offer.

The 2019 Salary Guide found that diversifying benefits may be the true key to attracting and retaining talent this year. Offerings like flexible work arrangements are helping law firms and in-house legal departments stand-out. In fact, over 50 percent of respondents from medium and large firms and in-house departments said they offered some kind of flexible schedule or work arrangement to employees in 2018.

“We’re seeing employers think outside the box with the types of benefits they offer and it’s paying off. Law firms and legal departments who are putting a larger focus on creative packages and non-traditional perks are able to attract strong candidates and differentiate themselves from competitors,” said Amanda Ellis, senior vice president, Special Counsel. “Today’s top talent are looking at compensation and bonuses as a baseline but are ultimately being swayed by the full experience a company can offer.”

Today’s law firms and in-house departments offer a diverse collection of non-traditional benefits. According to the data, about 50 percent of all in-house departments (49%) and law firms (46%) offer employees the option to work from home or remotely. Additional findings include:

  • Nearly 50 percent (49.6%) of law firms offer company paid paternity/maternity leave and 35 percent of in-house departments also offer paid leave
  • 13 percent of law firms offer onsite or emergency childcare to employees
  • 18 percent of in-house legal departments surveyed provide an onsite cafeteria or paid meals to employees
  • Almost 20 percent (19.6%) of in-house legal departments offer paid volunteer time to employees
  • 40 percent of in-house departments offer an onsite gym or wellness benefit

The survey findings also reinforced that salary and cash bonuses continue to be an important part of a competitive offer. In 2018, large law firms offered an average of $130,892 in total compensation and large in-house legal departments offered an average of $104,551 in total compensation.

“It is increasingly obvious to candidates which companies are making the effort to attract and retain top talent and which are lagging behind through the types of compensation plans and benefits they offer,” said Ellis. “Legal departments and firms must have their finger on the pulse of candidate expectations and continuously evaluate their offerings in order to keep up—it’s the new normal.”

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