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Large law firm hires take ‘longest’ to achieve optimum productivity

New staff take 37 weeks to become fully effective, research finds 

6 March 2014

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

New staff in large law firms take the longest amount of time to achieve optimum productivity, research has found.

The research by Oxford Economics into over 500 firms in five sectors found that new hires in the legal sector take an average of 32 weeks to become fully effective, the same amount of time as those in accountancy sector.

However, new hires in large law firms take almost two months longer than those in smaller firms to reach optimum productivity.

New joiners in smaller law firms (up to 250 staff) take 30 weeks to reach optimum productivity, compared to 37 weeks for larger law firms (250+ staff), according to the research.

"This report reveals a stark cost implication for legal firms dealing with staff turnover," commended Linda Smith, HR director at Unum, which commissioned the research.

"While the logistical cost of replacing an employee will probably come as no surprise to businesses, the financial impact of having replacement workers learn the ropes is probably a cost that legal firms have not before considered."

The research found that the legal sector has the highest cost of replacing an employee, at £39,887, with accountancy firms coming close behind at £39,230.

The cost per replacement employee in technology businesses is £31,808, followed by £25,787 in media and advertising companies. Retail organisations had the lowest replacement costs, at £20,114, according to the research.

It found that the logistical cost of replacing an employee in the legal sector comes to an average of £4,580. This includes advertising and agency fees, management time spent interviewing candidates and temporary staffing costs.

The report notes that staff joining law firms from other sectors typically take 37 weeks to reach optimum productivity, new graduates take 49 weeks and those coming from unemployment or inactivity take over a full calendar year (64 weeks).







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