Welcome to the latest post in Robert Half’s Thought Leader Q&A series, which features insights from those who have made our company a great place to work and a premier provider of talent solutions.

Michael Lusby is a district president of Robert Half’s legal group, where he oversees talent solutions, recruiting and business development for the company’s West and Southwest operations. He’s been with the company since 2008, when he started as a branch manager before moving up to regional vice president, then senior regional vice president and district president.

Michael is well versed on hiring and career trends affecting the legal field. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Here’s what Michael had to say during our interview, which covered everything from helping companies flourish in a rapidly changing business environment to picking up a telephone in the digital age.

What are the biggest challenges facing companies in the legal field today?

In today’s candidate-driven environment, many law firms and corporate legal departments are concerned about finding and hiring attorneys, paralegals and legal support personnel who are ready and available to work. Many job candidates don’t want to return to an office, or they’d prefer a hybrid workplace model over one that’s completely remote.

So, it’s not just that the job market has limited the options for attracting qualified candidate across all industries. The nature of work has changed with the global pandemic and digital transformation. Even interviewing and hiring have become virtual. The bottom line is that companies are finding it extremely difficult to hire and retain workers.

What are they doing to attract top talent?

The most successful employers have become educated about the realities of the current market and in-demand compensation and perks. They’re also well aware of the specific job functions and skills they need to best support their business or law firm.

Companies are actively using social media, such as LinkedIn, along with virtual networking groups and job search websites to recruit candidates. They’re also working with recruiters who can provide critical resources and best practices to find top talent, including strategies for reaching people outside their geographic areas and those passively looking for a new opportunity.

Tell us how you use a proactive approach to provide service to companies and job seekers, regardless of the labor market.

Our specialized recruiters focus on staying ahead of the market and how companies are responding from a hiring perspective. Every quarter brings different demands, and we’re primed to interview job candidates to meet their most pressing needs while being proactive with our clients to let them know what trends we’re seeing.

We remain prepared as a talent solutions firm, because we’ve been able to expand the candidate pool to offer the best talent solutions for today and tomorrow for our long-time clients, and for our new ones, across industries and geographies.

What productivity hack do you have to share?

The telephone. I pick up the phone before I send an email — not only to develop professional relationships but because hearing a voice can convey more energy and enthusiasm than an email or text. It also builds trust. A phone conversation can turn into a face-to-face interaction, which is likely to be virtual these days, and that meeting can turn into a business relationship.

Some of the best career advice I got when I started working also involved the telephone: Don’t hang up until you’ve learned something. So I follow the 80-20 rule — 80% listening and 20% talking.

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?

It’s all about family life! My kids are teenagers, so my wife and I take a divide-and-conquer approach to family activities. We live in Southern California, and, outside of school, both kids are surfers. I try to get in the water as much as I can, too!

Follow Michael Lusby on LinkedIn.

Meet other Thought Leaders at Robert Half, such as Jamy Sullivan and Stephanie Dolmat. And be sure to subscribe to the Robert Half newsletter for future installments of our Q&A series and to discover more unique stories, experiences and perspectives on the latest hiring trends.