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We recently surveyed law firm business services professionals to better understand how they feel about their firm’s commitment to providing professional development opportunities as well as the kinds of opportunities that would be most valuable to them.

Reskilling (defined as the process of teaching employees new skills in order to migrate to a new role within their current company) and upskilling (defined as the process of teaching an employee new/additional skills to develop new competencies and expand knowledge) programs help propel firm growth and increase employee retention.

A lack of career advancement is one of the main drivers of turnover in organizations, as employees want to be challenged and strengthen their skillsets. Upskilling provides the opportunity for workers to have the learning opportunities they desire in addition to building an internal talent pipeline for the firm. Reskilling opportunities allow firms to avoid the widening skill gaps that come with the advancement of technology while showing employees that firm leadership is thinking about the future. Both types of development programs enable adaptability within the firm and increase current and future profitability as well as productivity.

Review our 2023 survey findings below:

Paths Forward

99% of respondents feel they have the skillset to perform their current job. However, 32% of respondents aren’t clear on which skills they need to develop in order to advance their careers 

Access to Support and Resources

While 61% of respondents cite they currently receive support from their organization to upskill/reskill, 98% say that they would like to receive upskilling or reskilling support and/or resources in an ideal state.

Development Opportunities

While the majority of respondents would like to have access to Mentorship and coaching, only 21% of respondents currently have access to this opportunity. Followed by 61% of respondents wanting access to more Conferences, workshops and seminars, and Industry or role-specific memberships at 53%

Value Match

46% of survey respondents noted that they felt their current organization values, encourages, and prioritizes employee growth and development, while 100% of respondents noted that it was either somewhat to very important to them that their organization holds these values.  

54% of survey respondents noted that they felt their organization provides enough opportunities to learn and grow on the job, while 100% of respondents noted that it was either somewhat to very important to them that their organization holds these values.  

Looking Ahead

The majority of respondents noted that they currently have career development and goal discussions with managers Rarely or Annually (51%), while in an ideal state, they would like to have those discussions Sometimes or Quarterly (74%).   

Opportunities to work on projects or assignments that allow for skill development appear to be readily available, however, the formal training opportunities to support the success of these endeavors seem to be limited based on the data provided in previous survey questions. 

Verbatim Comments

We invited respondents to address how they think their organization can better support their upskilling and reskilling efforts.  A representative sampling is below:

  • “More support for business professional staff coaching, mentorship, and more opportunities to provide management with input about staff career development.”
  • “Our leadership team needs development. Our PG leaders need development. Our staff need development.”
  • “Clear communication about what is available and the rules around leveraging it.”
  • “I am a C level and I would like access to coaching. For the managers who work for me, it would be great to provide more communication, leadership, and strategic planning workshops.”
  • “Keep pace with developments in the legal industry and give us leading edge training to be the forerunners in our industry.”
  • “Offering more training and mentorship opportunities.”
  • “Pay for additional accreditation and support the time needed to obtain same without it adding to current workload.”
  • “Continuing to provide opportunities for personal and career growth, but also by expanding what those opportunities are. Polling employees to determine what they need, so the firm knows what opportunities they should provide.”
  • “Law firms generally have a lot of room for improvement in training and coaching managers on how to manage a team.”
  • “I am a C-level and I would like access to coaching. For the managers who work for me, it would be great to provide more communication, leadership, and strategic planning workshops.”
  • “By providing training and mentoring on the job would help. And providing cross-department mentoring to learn from other departments.”
  • “Provide mentoring and coaching for professional staff, not just attorneys.” 
Get in Touch

Interested in learning how Calibrate can help deploy Talent Development initiatives in your law firm? Contact Haley Revel, co-COO and Managing Director of HR & Talent Management at Calibrate.