A survey of 29 law firms in New Zealand and Australia has found that recruitment, retention and motivation of staff are the number one issue for law firms in 2017.
The survey, in February and March 2017, was carried out by New Zealand-based legal practice management consultant Simon Tupman.
The average number of partners in participating firms was 7, with 59% of respondents from firms with 5 or fewer partners. Of the participating firms, 55% served commercial clients, while 81% served private clients.
The question "What do you see as the top three issues for your firm in 2017?" resulted in 62% of participating firms citing people issues - recruitment/retention/motivation/restructuring - as their key issue.
The second key issue was technology issues - disruption/adoption - with 28% of participants choosing this.
Generating new business/improving profitability/reducing overheads/costs was third. Other issues cited included succession, growth/expansion, partner remuneration, commoditisation and cyber crime.
The results also showed that 62% of participants had considered the possibility of merger in recent months, while 60% had approached or been approached regarding a merger. Only 10% said they considered merger to be "amost definite" while 46% said there was "little likelihood".