Our Experts | Sally Goodwin


In the legal industry associate turnover can be costly which makes hiring right a significant consideration when attracting qualified practice talent.  In some circles the estimated figures associated with poor retention have reached in the hundreds of thousands depending on level. Additionally, the inherent losses have the potential to reach beyond ordinary money considerations to morale and even your firm’s reputation within the practicing community.

Ask yourself the following questions to see if you can identify any areas where your organization might improve job satisfaction and ideally stem personnel losses and perhaps increase overall retention.


  1. Does our environment foster the ability to learn with appropriate support for a new associate? Are there identified individuals for the attorney to approach if they feel they are struggling in one area or another?
  2. Do we provide structured performance reviews and constructive feedback regarding work product and practice style in order to help the attorney mature in their role?
  3. Are there ongoing opportunities for increased client contact?
  4. Are there ongoing opportunities for professional practice development?
  5. Are there appropriate incentives in place for client generation?
  6. Are salaries, bonuses and benefits competitive; are raises commensurate with increasing responsibility and skill acquisition?
  7. Do flexible work options exist to address a significant change in a practitioner’s personal circumstances? Part-time? Staff attorney? Remote work? Does your organizational structure foster open communication regarding these concerns without an underlying fear of loss of quality work and/or career path?
  8. Are there certain practice groups that trend toward high turnover?  If so, are there any difficult issues that need to be addressed (e.g. an attorney that is challenging to work with and/or perhaps failing to delegate an appropriate type of work)?
  9. Are there workload checks and balances to ensure associates are challenged but, by the same token not continually overworked and running the risk of burnout?
  10. Does your organization provide the basic up-to-date technologies to support both your internal and external operational efficiency?