The fact that COVID-19 has affected all industries is old news. Since last year, it has come to light that many lawyers & administrative staff are contributing to “The Great Resignation” and leaving their current law firm in shockingly high numbers.
The Great Resignation has been highlighted as an economic trend where employees in droves have been handing in their resignations. This is no longer seen as a fad that started in 2021; as 2022 draws a close, it has impacted not only sectors and services where physical presence is a must –such as food, hospitality, or the healthcare industry – but also other professional jobs, whether employers offer in-office, work from home, or hybrid working options. This challenge is exacerbated for Intellectual Property (IP) practice groups since that field remains to be in high demand, and thus there are more competing opportunities for job seekers. At the same time, IP requires a unique skill set that does not easily transfer from other practices of law. Therefore the volume of job openings often outpaces the number of qualified candidates. At times finding experienced IP staff & lawyers can seem akin to searching for a unicorn.
Legal professionals, especially the younger ones, are switching to other law firms and different careers altogether. The source of this information is not limited to the grapevine. One only has to look at LinkedIn to figure out that The Great Resignation has hit law firms in the US. A search on Indeed.com in October 2022 for IP administrative roles in the US such as paralegal, docketer, etc., brings up over 300 job openings. Firms are reporting extensive challenges in hiring IP administrative staff, ranging from increasing salaries to the inability to find qualified candidates to interview. Some firms have even reported extending job offers, and the candidates simply don’t show up for their first day of work as they secured a better offer from another firm during the interview process!.
Additionally, an article on Youconnect states that over the last year, there has been an increase from 38% to 47% in job changes with lawyers who have one to two years of work experience. Resignation levels for legal professionals with three to five years of work experience have risen from 27% to 32%. (1).