Both men and women pinpoint three soft skills that firms can focus on developing
Professionals in the legal industry have identified three soft skills they feel they need while working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its Law Firm’s Adaptation to Remote Working report, Loeb Leadership asked managing partners, partners, associates, and business services staff – many from Am Law 100 and Am Law 200 firms – the soft skills they feel they needed most while working remotely.
The respondents picked stress management, virtual communication, and time management as the most important soft skills at this time. The answers were the same even when respondents were segregated by gender.
Among female respondents, the most picked soft skills were stress management (19%), virtual communication (17%), and time management (15%). Among male respondents, the most in demand soft skills were virtual communication (21%), time management (21%), and stress management (13%).
The congruence between the genders makes it easier for firms from a training perspective, Loeb Leadership said, as firms “now have the information they need to narrow in on specific programming for their people.”
Broken down by age groups, the most needed soft skills for those under 35 were stress management (36%), virtual communication (27%), and time management (18%). For those aged 35 to 44, the top three soft skills were empathy (32%), virtual communication (16%), and stress management (12%).
Those aged 45 to 54 picked time management (24%), virtual communication (19%), and embracing change (17%) as top soft skills. For those aged 55 to 64, the top three were stress management (21%), time management (18%), and virtual communication (15%). The oldest age group, aged 65 and older, picked time management (22%), virtual communication (11%), and collaboration (11%).
The study also explored the biggest challenges faced by professionals in the legal industry as they cope with remote work during the crisis. It found that anxiety and isolation troubled lawyers more than technology problems.
Loeb Leadership found that 77% of respondents said that they were highly successful in switching to remote working, while 21% said they had moderate success and 2% said they had low success.