At Evolve Marketing, we like to hear the stories from solicitors in the field day in day out. We get their thoughts on different aspects of the legal industry; from recruitment to leadership and the biggest challenges that young lawyers face.
This week, we spoke to Tom Condon. He had some interesting takes on a wide variety of topics.
We spoke to him on recruitment in the legal sector, leadership in the corporate environment and the biggest challenges the law industry is facing.
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For a full transcript of the interview, please see below:
Why did you choose to work at the firm you’re at now, what was your perception of them before you started? Did that grow/ change during the recruitment process?
I had no specific preconceptions about my current firm, other than awareness it is a global firm with a good reputation. It was recommended to me by a college classmate who had previously secured a job there. The firm places a lot of emphasis in its recruitment through referrals from current employees and offers bonuses for same. The recruitment process was quick and they seemed to know what they wanted from me, meaning the interview process felt focused. There were no gotcha questions.
Do you think the recruitment process in the legal industry is outdated, if so, why?
To be honest, I have had some experience with the training contract selection process in London firms, which use perhaps more ‘modern’ recruitment and selection procedures, like recorded video interviews and psychometric testing. I personally think that they are complete disasters. These cause a lot of stress to candidates as they’re much more of an unknown and can be quite arbitrary and related in only an abstract way to the aptitude of a candidate for the job. At least with an interview, you know what to expect. Perhaps there are other ways to do it, but I do think that you can best get a sense of whether you and a firm are a good fit by a standard face to face interview or even a preliminary phone call.
What are the characteristics of a leader within your team that you admire?
I think the best characteristics are good communications skills and honesty. By this I mean there should be good dialogue within the team and each member should know their role and be able to trust that the other members can do theirs, or that if they can’t, they will tell the others. Basically, leaders must be able to effectively convey their ideas and instructions and inspire the team to engage through mutual openness and honesty.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the legal industry (especially for younger solicitors)?
The biggest challenges that may be faced are the downward pressure on fees and costs and the emergence of legal tech. Clients are generally not as receptive to hourly billing any longer, certainly not if they do not feel it represents good value.
This means that creatively assessing capped fees, or deliverable based payments, etc. is a requirement. Clients insist that legal spend is decreased and demand more bang for their money.
The above challenge can be twinned with the emergence of legal tech, which can make life easier for lawyers, but it requires constant up skilling and re-evaluation of how legal work is done. I don’t think lawyers of my generation will have as much help from paralegalsand secretaries, rather will be required to use legal tech solutions to undertake some more perhaps ‘procedural’ work streams. The legal job hasn’t really changed that much over the years but that change is coming and we will have to be at least receptive to it. The challenge lies in embracing this change as it arrives.