Managing Law Firm Transition

Thoughts on Leading High Consequence Change

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In the turmoil caused by Covid-19, many law firms have had to adjust to unforeseen circumstances.  News stories tell the sad tale of law firms being adversely impacted.  Some firms have closed, and unfortunately others will follow. With one firm’s demise comes opportunity for others.  Clearly, personnel leaving the firm in wind-down must find homes and for them, only the best is wished.  An equally dynamic opportunity exists for law firms surviving the pandemic.  For…
The headlines are beginning to paint a pretty clear picture: many law firms worldwide are taking more aggressive action in response to their COVID related economic challenges. As part of an effort to create a cash buffer to weather current or anticipated pressure brought about by the virus, firms are focusing on containing revenue loss while decreasing cash outflow. To decrease costs, firms are addressing three areas: Space, People General operating expenses Space For the…
Covid-19 has upended law firm normalcy.  What might have been perceived last March as a couple of month hiatus from business as usual has been extended with no end in sight.  With no known end date, it can be difficult to plan in ways previously thought routine. The current Covid-19 world for law firms can be felt in matters of employee health, reduced client demand, depleted inventory, declining revenues, and external pressures from banks, landlords…
I have previously referenced the excellent McKinsey report COVID-19: Implications for law firms. In a re-read of it this morning, a universal truth regarding client relationships struck me: the stronger firm communication with its clients, the less likely there will be a surprise in decreased work. During normal times a routine communication between the firm and its clients is helpful to both client retention and relationship growth. During times of turmoil, communication becomes even…
Virtually all law firms have had to adjust business practices to address the pandemic’s impact.  Whether working remotely, refocusing or changing firm economics, making personnel moves, or partnering with clients more, today’s challenges have fundamentally changed the way law firms operate.  For the law firms grappling with too many upheavals in their world, crisis looms. For most law firm leaders, the advent of crisis is a new experience.  Instead of making decisions that merely move…
In last week’s post, we explored the surprise loss of a law firm leader. Today I want to suggest an orderly approach to this inevitable event. The Zeughauser Group conducted a survey that included several interesting issues. Three observations related to planning for the long-term health of the firm struck me. · When describing the top objectives for their firm, the most frequently stated objective was to “achieve long term stability.” · When describing…
recent post in Law.com about Boies Schiller and Flexner reminded me of the critical dynamics associated with losing key members of a law firm. The departure of individuals responsible for a significant amount of client revenue, or those who serve in leadership positions can be traumatic events and may pose a considerable threat to firm stability. This post addresses the loss of law firm leaders.  The loss of a law firm leader can occur…
The pandemic has caused an unprecedented change to the practice of law for many law firms.  Since March, the delivery of superior client service has required a new way of thinking and a little bit of scrambling.  Yet after a couple of months living in the Covid-19 world, some law firms feel a new normal that instills confidence about the future. While trust in the future may have grown, fully returning to past practices is…
In a conversation last week, a friend who is a partner in an AMLAW 100 firm told me that he received a record number of calls from search firms during the previous month. In a separate conversation last week, a Managing Partner client noted the incredible number of calls she was receiving pertaining to hiring opportunities. It appears that the lateral market is abnormally active. There are a number of reasons an individual lawyer might…
Law firm crisis typically brings financial pressure.  Reduced demand, slow-paying clients, and now due obligations incurred in better times are but a few of the hallmarks of crisis.  As bad as these things can be, the strain can intensify quickly when the firm’s lender expresses concern.  Because a lender’s involvement can dictate the outcome, any impacted law firm leader should observe three fundamentals. First, having a thorough knowledge of the loan documents is essential.  Thinking…