The financial crisis of 2007 and ensuing recession shook up the corporate legal market. This was the earth moving, the event that would force lawyers to change the way they do business. With a little help from Bob Dylan, I “heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warning’” and so I organised a roundtable to discuss how lawyers could possibly survive in the new world. “Share the pain, think proactively and above all else do not be complacent” was the warning cry from the GC's around the table.
Almost a decade on and what has really changed? Was the removal of chocolate biscuits from meeting rooms and the de-equitisation or premature departure of a generation of partners the only lasting legacy? Have we wasted the crisis?
Frankly, I think we have. I haven’t seen much of the pain sharing with clients. The clients haven’t seen much of the pain sharing either.
Are lawyers thinking proactively? You tell me. Any evidence of complacency? Yes, if that is measured by a lack of change.
My prophetic powers clearly need to be worked on so I have given up on Dylan. Instead I rely on the forecasting skills of David Bowie:
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.”
Something we can all agree on (whatever it means).
'How clients and lawyers can assist each other in a recession', was alarmingly clear: share the pain with us, think proactively and above all do not be complacent.