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by David Swadden on July 4, 2022

5-Star Law Firm — How to Become One?

In January 2022, Tracument surveyed hundreds of legal professionals in order to better understand how those responsible for law firms had handled the COVID-19 pandemic and to better understand how law firms would take the many changes they had made into the future.

The Data

The most alarming number from our survey was related to retention, which many outlets have reported is a source of crisis for Canadian law firms. The shocking statistic — 40.36% of respondents answered that they were not thinking of making any change regarding their employment. That's right, only four in ten respondents stated definitively that they had no plans to change their position, firm, or even industry.

We wanted to better understand why this might be, and more importantly what firms might do about it. My previous blog post discusses why retention is so important for a law firm. Your people are the business. We dug into the data and compared the information with another question from our survey, ‘How well do you think your organisation has responded to the pandemic?’ What we found was that just over 20% of respondents gave their firm five out of five stars.

Looking at the rest of our data, we were able to piece together what makes a ‘five-star firm’.

Why Does the Rating Matter?

Employees who worked at firms they rated as five stars were 40% more likely to say that they did not have any intention to leave or make a change compared to all other levels. This is a significant achievement for those firms, which will likely have an easier time attracting and retaining quality employees.

Our survey will be published soon and will give a full picture of what makes a five-star firm. In the meantime, I want to focus on one element that helped firms get great marks and that your employees want carried forward — the option of a hybrid work model.

Hybrid Work Model and Retention

Two statistics belonging to five-star firms:

  • 60.87% — The number of employees allowed or encouraged to work some form of hybrid model since the start of the pandemic. A further 19.57% were allowed to work entirely from home, for a total of 80.44% permitted to work some to all of their job at home.
  • 76.08% — The percentage of employees who expect or understand that their five-star firm will continue to permit them to work some form of hybrid model (or fully at home) into 2023.

Firms that were rated five stars by their employees are 40% more likely to have that employee say they do not plan to leave, and three out of four of those employees expect that they will be permitted to work some portion of their job at home going forward. Moreover, there is a very high degree of continuity among five-star firms. 95% of their employees who were working some portion of their job from home expect to continue to do so.

This stability allows employees to continue to enjoy the myriad and obvious advantages of working from home (reduced commute and employment expenses, flexibility with childcare, adjusting hours and routines to those that are more productive, etc.).

What Do You, the Employer, Get?

Many of our clients have realised creative advantages that present when allowing employees to work from home.

  1. Drive Retention
    Allowing your employees some flexibility to work from home is clearly a retention driver, making it easier to keep the valuable employees you already have.
  2. Attract Talent
    It can also help you to attract new employees. Tracument works with legal recruitment agencies who report that it is much easier to entice a new employee to join your firm if remote work is offered, and in many cases it is absolutely necessary.
  3. Hire from Anywhere
    You can significantly widen your search radius when hiring. With an effective remote or hybrid work setup, your employees do not need to live within commuting distance of an office they never attend. We have clients in Vancouver who have recently hired a paralegal in Northern British Columbia, and another Toronto firm who hired a lawyer in Alberta.
  4. Save Office Space
    Some Tracument clients have (even significantly) reduced their office space, saving a small fortune in expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver. With their staff working from home, much less space is required and is devoted to board rooms and hot desks, giving those who do need to be in the office at any given time the space and tools they need.
  5. Increase Revenue
    Many firms report an increase in billable hours from employees working at home, as they are not spending as much time commuting and office socialising (though interoffice communication has suffered among those working from home, and five-star firms have brought in technology to help).

Join us in our next blog post about how to support employees who work remotely, and discover how even five-star firms can improve retention efforts.


If you are interested in learning more about WFH technologies and how to support remote employees, I invite you to download our free 2022 Legal Survey Report, which provides an enormous amount of data and includes a more in-depth discussion of the above topics.

Cover of our 2022 Legal Survey Report

If you are interested in learning more about WFH technologies and how to support remote employees, download our free, in-depth 2022 Legal Survey Report.

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