Well-managed and well-led firms are not letting a good crisis go to waste.
Collecting stories from law firm leaders over the lockdown I was blown away by both the quality of leadership and humanity on display. Looking after their people is easily first on the list followed by thoughtful communication. All law firm managers I spoke to have creative planning for the recovery top of their mind as they make rapid, but positive, decisions in an uncertain environment.
Three broad themes emerged from my chats:
“Looking after our people.” A recognition that in these strained times the wellbeing of employees and staff takes precedence over billable time. A refusal by management to make any knee-jerk redundancies - “It’s not who we are, not in our culture.” The cynic may take a view, but fully topped up furloughs look promising.
“Thoughtful communication.” Not something law firms tend to win prizes in, but I heard real thinking around content, style, timing, manner and tone of delivery as firm leaders seek to take all constituent parts of the firm with them.
3. “Creative planning for recovery”. No-one seems to be expecting the worst, with budget projections, repurposing initiatives and plans to reduce working hours revealing cautious but realistic optimism. The initial focus on short-term crisis management has not got in the way of a sense of new world opportunities emerging. Well-managed law firms are using this time to steal a march on their competitors.
Peter Jackson, Chief Executive of Hill Dickinson encapsulated all of the above when he told me: “You must carry your people and for that you need to be forceful, passionate and clear. Decide very quickly what the vision is going to be and don’t argue about detail.”
Feel free to message me if you’d like in advance updates on our conversations with law firm leaders, or if you’d like to share some insights.
In the face of adversity, lawyer leaders find their chance to shine.