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The new chief talent officer for Saul Ewing discusses remote work and wage warfare.

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Office return rules, immunization mandates, an associate salary war, and a highly competitive lateral market are all issues that law firms are dealing with. In light of this, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr has hired Chandra Kilgriff from Robins Kaplan, where she was chief talent and diversity officer.

Kilgriff, who is headquartered in Minneapolis and reports directly to Saul Ewing’s management, is in charge of the firm’s 366 attorneys’ recruiting, retention, professional development, and diversity and inclusion activities.

She addressed the hot lateral hiring market, what the drive to raise associate compensation means for firms in smaller markets, and how organizations may enhance their diversity recruitment and retention. The profession is at a critical juncture right now. “What does a post-pandemic world look like?” is a question that all businesses are grappling with. As we migrate into this hybrid world, the business is particularly interested in aligning our HR and people management activities to match the firm’s goal, Kilgriff added.

Killgriff says “ I think it’s really important to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into all of the firm’s systems, and not have it be an isolated function that operates in a silo. We need to create a more formalized structure in areas like recruiting, workflow and promotions to minimize the impact of bias.

A real focus of mine is making sure that leaders have inclusive leadership skills. We know the people who associate work directly with have the greatest impact on their careers. We need to make sure every person who is in a position to lead a team understands what it means to lead a diverse and inclusive team”.

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