Madrid annual report 2017 Madrid_2017 - Page 7

Madrid annual report service while coping with cost pressures and with younger lawyers not wanting to spend as many hours working as previous generations may have done”. Menéndez continues: “We have to be sensible about human beings working in law firms and therefore achieving top quality and productivity requires an improvement in efficiency.” With regard to the issue of flexible working, Díaz Hidalgo says that if lawyers are offered the opportunity to work from 9am to 5pm, for example, it is important that, in practice, “this is fulfilled” in the sense that law firms support lawyers who want to work such hours. “Flexible working is crucial to their career,” he adds. Berricano says given that the amount of work available to law firms will not grow substantially, they need to be more successful at “winning mandates and building important considerations include relationships, particularly in ensuring the level of investment competition with other firms”. is right and making sure the firm He adds: “We have very talented partners with the right companies. people, but the challenge is to In addition, Pérez-Llorca says make law firms a place where cyberattacks are a major concern, people want to work – we also have a problem with social diversity, our clients are diverse Firms must ensure and we need to partners continue to be follow that path.” Berricano adds that outward-looking and firms also need to hungry for work. ensure that partners Iñigo Berricano “continue to be outward-looking Linklaters and hungry for work”. Getting the level of recruitment as is having to recover from being right is an issue facing law firms, potentially hacked. Such concerns according to Pérez-Llorca: “We also mean law firms need to have to ensure it’s not too much ensure they have the correct level and not too little.” Meanwhile, of insurance, according to Pérez- he adds that, with regard to Llorca. artificial intelligence, for example, “ ” Need to recruit and retain talent growing as deal flow increases With deals activity increasing in the Madrid legal market, firms must look not only at recruiting new talent but also at retaining their longstanding lawyers – and keeping them happy – according to Pedro Rueda, managing partner at Araoz & Rueda. “The major change in the past year has been the incredible increase in activity for Madrid-based law firms,” Rueda says. He adds that, since the second quarter of 2016, law firms have seen heightened levels of transactional activity and hence rising demand from clients. After years of reductions in workflow, and sometimes headcounts, law firms are now having to balance heavy workloads, prompting them to look at new hires both at partner and associate level. “A key challenge will be to rapidly adapt strategies for the new level of activity,” Rueda notes. “We’ve come from years in which firms have been reducing staff and lawyers.” Rueda says that recruiting the best talent is not easy. “Finding good people has been and continues to be difficult,” he remarks. “This is a competitive market and we are all looking for the best lawyers.” While attracting new talent is important given the heightened levels of activity, equally vital is retaining talent. Rueda says this is a “permanent concern within law firms”, adding that the loss of a lawyer is “always a failure”. Among lawyers’ key priorities is achieving a good work- life balance. “This is becoming a hotter issue each year,” Rueda says. “We need to change our mentality, by allowing working from home or using different methods of facilitating a personal life alongside a successful professional life.” He argues that smaller firms are better able to address such issues than larger ones. Meanwhile, gender equality is another hot topic, according to Rueda, not only on principle but also because “clients are demanding more female representation in all law firms.” Pedro Rueda May / June 2017 • IBERIAN LAWYER • 31