Amid stiff competition for legal talent, culture is king. That’s among the key takeaways from the 2022 Stellar Performance report, which explores how engagement, culture, and compensation shape law firms’ talent strategies.

Released yesterday by Thomson Reuters Institute, the report features findings from a survey of nearly 2,500 “stand-out” lawyers in 60 countries, 89% of whom are law firm partners. Legal Current shares three takeaways from the report.

3. Firms should emphasize cultural factors to guard against high lawyer turnover. The report found that associates are especially high flight risks. While associates indicated that compensation is their top concern, the report revealed cultural factors contribute to stronger associate retention: flexible working schedules, better communication and engagement, and mental wellbeing support. Also, the report noted that firms may overlook the importance that leadership and strategy plays in keeping lawyers with their firms. The report advised firms to genuinely engage with lawyers at all levels to retain talent

2. Engaged employees are less susceptible to poaching. The report found that nearly 50% of lateral moves are instigated by the hiring firm. The report also revealed that feeling included and visible, and being treated in a friendly and respectful manner – along with opportunities for career progression and professional growth – contribute to higher employee engagement. The report stressed that firms must ensure these cultural foundations are in place to maintain an engaged workforce and defend against other firms poaching their talent.

1. Lawyer compensation continues to rapidly increase. The report revealed an overall 16% uplift in mean annual compensation, underscoring the importance of firms offering competitive compensation packages. The report findings offer a benchmark for firms to evaluate their offerings to effectively attract and retain talent.

For more on what stand-out talent looks like and how firms are retaining top talent, download the executive summary of the report.