After COVID-19, lawyers' talent chiefs balance 'greater expectations' at law firm talent chefs

After COVID-19, lawyers' talent chiefs balance 'greater expectations' at law firm talent chefs ...

  • Summary
  • Firms that represent law firms have been in charge of this matter.
  • In a busy week for CTO moves, Arnold & Porter's new chief legal talent officer reviews the recruiting scene.
  • Firms are grappling with generational differences in their approach to work-life balance as they seek to balance their careers with their workplaces.

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Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer welcomed a new chief legal talent officer on Thursday, bringing to the slew of c-suite level professionals dedicated to lawyer recruiting and retention.

Andy Colon, a Thompson Hine chief talent officer since 2015, is joining the firm in Washington, D.C. Before that, he worked at Dickstein Shapiro for a decade and o'Brien, where the onetime litigation attorney shifted from law to law firm talent management.

CTO moves from a law firm have been undergoing an active few weeks. Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr tapped Robins Kaplan's chief talent and diversity officer for its own chief talents officer role earlier this month. Baker McKenzie, Dentons' Jay Connolly, as chief people officer, and DLA Piper promoted Lenora Ausbon-Odom to chief talent development and inclusion officer this week alone, along with Arnold & Porter, Baker McKinzie added Denton's chief person officer Jay Konnonlly as principal people officers, while Dla Pipet promoted lenoria ausbon Odom as Chief talent creation and integration officer.

Colon spoke with Reuters about his new job, the epidemic's impact on the lateral hiring market, and how he plans to assist his firm keep going.

For clarity and length, the discussion below has been edited.

REUTERS: What trends do you see in the current legal recruiting market? What are your top priorities as a chief talent officer?

COLON: As a consequence of ten percent of the epidemic, firms are attempting to figure out what does that mean and what would be the extent of that flexibility. We must consider it in the context of the generational differences that exist between junior lawyers, who are coming up in law and have greater expectations of flexibility, and the traditional expectations in court firms where flexibility was always accessible on a more restricted basis. So finding that perfect balance between the before and the after is certainly a difficult task.

There is a greater discussion on two very important issues that are currently being discussed in the business. One has to do with wellness, and it's promoting attorneys' physical, mental, or spiritual health. It's a conflict that existed before the epidemic, but I believe the outbreak has exacerbated the need to focus on those kinds of issues. The other conversation revolves around the issue of diversity, equity, and inclusion. During the last major recession, the legal industry had a negative impact on critical pipelines for many attorneys, and I believe there's presently resurgence in the industry to ensure that the impact is minimal.

REUTERS: What will you do to assist Arnold & Porter in the fight for associate talent at Big Law firms as the battle for big Law firm associates continues?

COLON: There are reports out there that suggest that this new generation of law students are graduating from their school, are searching for meaningful work, and I believe that our pro bono program provides a fantastic opportunity for lawyers to do exceptional meaningful works for individuals in our communities. Continuing to support the firm's reputation as a firm with opulence and prudence that will be crucial to attract talent into the business.

REUTERS: What about retention?

COLON: The business has a hard time retaining associates in the long run. I believe that it is necessary to have exceptional work opportunities and a special training program in order to ensure that workers can see the value and commitment of the firm.

Read more about it:

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Taking care of legal professionals from the top with a chief talent officer from top to ensuring that you are treated with professional lawyers from all levels.

Dong Xiumei Don G xiumi

Xiumei Dong covers legal industry news, with emphasis on law firm strategy and growth, in-house counsel, and the Washington, D.C., legal market. Reach her at

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