As millennials become an increasingly dominant segment of the workforce, retaining and accommodating and their non-traditional career paths is front of mind for many employers, and law firms are no exception. With ALSPs offering more work-life balance, and remote working on the rise, traditional firms are coming up with their own strategies to ensure they cater to the workforce of the future.
WEERAWONG CHITTMITTRAPAP, SENIOR PARTNER, WEERAWONG CHINNAVAT & PARTNERS
Lawyers prioritise career development combined with work-life balance. We encourage our lawyers to define their goals and then plan and adapt their work and routine accordingly to create a ‘well-designed life’. To support this, we implemented new technology systems so that lawyers may work from anywhere at any time and we have designed the office with the facilities to meet their needs. We also installed an on-site gym.
Last year we implemented the “Be the CEO of your career” program, including individual reward and development plans. Every lawyer may decide how much he or she wants to earn and how fast they want to grow. Competencies are mapped to our WCP Academy eLearning platform, and we provide ongoing multi-media professional development in legal knowledge, soft skills and leadership. For junior lawyers, we have an associate pool program which allows them to work in multiple areas of law before they choose an area of specialisation.
Our philosophy is that the firm is a platform to support all lawyers to advance in the profession and achieve their potential. At the same time, we emphasise a culture of collaboration; a politic free, transparent work environment without power play, which motivates lawyers in terms of assignments, rewards and career path. Often, lawyers from different practice groups work as team to advise and provide solutions for client’s multi-faceted transactions. Regular formal and informal activities have also fostered team spirit; we work hard and play hard together.
JOHN EASTWOOD, PARTNER, EIGER LAW
The millennial employment market is perhaps not so hard to figure out – every generation looks at the mistakes of those who went before them and tries to address it. All generations get some things right and make some mistakes, but we’re headed in the right direction if we try to be a fairer workplace. The other year, we won a diversity award from the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, but we didn’t set out to have “one of this and one of that” – that sort of tokenism has its own problems. Instead, we keep our eyes out for good people, and we try to understand them. And if you struggle with the efforts to understand your people, you’ll often find that you get a good, diverse pool of interesting and talented people – we find and appreciate wonderful people who didn’t fit into work environments that operate more like law factories. When you spend some time to give clients better, more-appropriate answers to their problems and questions, it turns out that you like working in law more.
ANDY LECK, MANAGING PRINCIPAL, BAKER MCKENZIE WONG & LEOW
We definitely recognise that young people have a huge capacity to constantly learn and upskill, with an eye to improving themselves along with their budding careers. Being a member firm of Baker McKenzie, a law firm with a large global presence, we emphasize the learning opportunities for our young talent within the firm’s network. What this allows us to do, is to select and provide our talent with mobility opportunities, and this happens very frequently in the Asia Pacific – as I too have benefitted at the start of my career. We have both short and long-term mobility programmes within Asia, as well as for talent from the Europe and North American regions coming into Asia Pacific to experience the diversity of the different markets we operate in, the face time opportunities with our clients around the world, as well as heightening their awareness and appreciation of local cultures. The feedback that we have been getting from our people who have experienced the mobility programmes are the invaluable exposure they gain from different clients and markets, and that provides them with wider horizons and perspectives than if they had just remained in a single market.
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