Overcoming Hiring Challenges: 4 Strategies for Companies to Attract Legal Talent in Colorado


For years, Colorado has been an attractive destination for lawyers looking to take advantage of an active but laid-back lifestyle. Organizations used to be able to sway potential candidates to take a pay cut and move simply for the allure of a balanced, high quality of life. But times have changed and hiring managers are struggling to win over candidates like they could pre-pandemic. So, what has changed? 

Over the last 20 years, Colorado has been attracting a variety of companies to the state, with the pandemic corporate relocation trend accelerating the migration. Law firms, in turn, have built up their presence in Colorado because their clients — or the clients they want — have moved here. For lawyers with an interest in aerospace, technology, renewable energy, life sciences and biotechnology, Denver can offer access to work with big-name clients in these industries.

What’s more, it’s also a great place to live; U.S. News & World Report recently named Boulder and Colorado Springs as two of the top 10 best places to live in the U.S. However, according to, the cost of living in Denver is 11% higher than the national average, while Colorado Springs is only 5% higher. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s cost of living is 79% higher, Chicago is 6% lower and Dallas is 10.5% lower — just for comparison. 

The housing market, however, does not track with the cost of living standards. According to The Motley Fool, the median home sales price is $436,800 as of the first quarter of 2023 in the U.S — a 32% increase from 2020. For Colorado as a whole, that median comes in at $539,640, with Denver rising to $584,548, per Redfin. Colorado is the sixth most expensive state in the country, but it’s also the state with the sixth lowest income-to-home-value ratio. 

Unfortunately, salaries, even for lawyers, have not kept up with the housing market, and new salary transparency laws have made the discrepancies readily obvious to candidates considering opportunities in Colorado, where the average salary is lower than other metro areas like Chicago and Dallas. It starts to feel like a lawyer could live almost anywhere else and make more money. 

In fact, with more roles becoming remote, people have found they can keep their high-paying out-of-state job while reaping the benefits of living in Colorado. However, now with the shift to a hybrid working model, organizations are finding that the lower salaries and higher housing prices are keeping legal talent away — and those who already live here are making the most of the remote roles still available. 

Today’s legal market is not the same as it was pre-pandemic. To adjust to the changes and attract talent, legal leaders and executive management need to shift their mindset to attract candidates, including:

Review your salary bands

Wage transparency laws have made the differences in pay across the country very apparent to the savvy job hunter. Denver’s median salary for a deputy general counsel is $306,000, while that same role in San Francisco is likely to make $377,000. While that gap may not seem significant, it does become a differentiator when paying a mortgage and other living expenses where every cent counts. Legal team leaders will need to make the business case to their management team as to why salary bands need to be changed to meet the expectations of both local and national candidates.  

Do your research

Hiring managers should take a serious look at the educational and experiential requirements and the target compensation for your open role. When setting out to hire an attorney, some companies have a disconnect between the desired experience and the compensation they are willing to pay for legal talent. That formula often results in frustrated hiring managers who are seeking the “right” candidates. To avoid this bottleneck in hiring, it is important to have accurate information about market compensation expectations before you set out to find that key hire. 

Offer other perks

If the role has an on-site requirement, consider offering some level of flexibility with in-office requirements as lawyers have become accustomed to having some freedom in their schedule to establish a healthy work/life balance. We have also seen our clients offer attractive benefits packages (e.g., healthcare, strong 401k match, parental leave), equity grants, and/or strong bonus programs as additional perks that candidates find appealing. 

Lean into using consulting attorneys

Consulting attorneys are a great temporary option when working through the budget and other negotiables. As deeply experienced lawyers, they can come into an assignment quickly and immediately get to work as they already have the technical training and likely similar experience. The talent pool is often larger as organizations seem to be more willing to work with a remote consultant on an interim basis.

From lifestyle to culture, Colorado has many attractive qualities that provide a major value add for companies looking to attract top talent. But as this talent becomes increasingly unwilling to take a pay cut to move, it’s incumbent on employers to implement creative strategies to address the evolving economic reality of living in this fast-growing region.


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