Future of the Law Firm

My title today comes from Luvvie Ajayi Jones, whose new book Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens, comes out today (yes, my copy for my oldest niece arrives today too). Luvvie is one of my favorite authors, speakers, self-professed “troublemakers,” and the reason I’m mentioning her today is that the book I’m currently reading has me all fired up and her words this morning brought me some comfort (more on that shortly).

I’m reading The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard and Daniel Susskind. And if you know me at all and follow this blog, I’m sure you’re wondering how such a book has got me in a lather – truthfully, I agree with almost all of the predictions in the book, which is unfortunately terribly dry and academic (Richard already has me blocked on Twitter for some unknown reason, so this post won’t fix our relationship). I’ve read his other tomes in earnest and enjoyed his previous speeches, but I am trudging my way through this manual from 2015 like I’m wading through oatmeal.
Continue Reading What Makes You Different is Your Superpower

If you’ve been here a while, you know that I like to look back to find out whether the predictions that we made in the past ever came true – we know that the legal market likes to move slowly, but how slowly? Is the industry that we imagined ten or fifteen years ago where we really are today?

It’s hard to believe that the great recession was 13/14 years ago already, but it’s true. And that means that in the years following the recession, we were all making big promises for change and a “new normal.” (I know, I know, we’re entering yet another “new normal” following the pandemic, which of course only reminds us that the only constant is change.)
Continue Reading Did We Ever Adjust to that “New Normal”?

Are we STILL talking about change??

Yes, we are. And for two reasons – first, we’re really still in a global pandemic (the CDC is just about to recommend that vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors again if some of us have even stopped) and second, we all know the joke that the only constants are death and taxes, but truthfully, the only constants are death, taxes, and change.

So, here we are.

We’ve tackled a lot about how to address change within your firms, but the one thing we haven’t looked at closely is what to do once you’re deep into it – which may be where firms are if they’re committed to sticking with moving to remote work.

How do we create lasting change in our firms?
Continue Reading How to Create Lasting Change in Your Law Firm

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about the tendency to want to slip back into old pre-COVID ways of life and what some of our barriers to change might be (here and here). In fact, Law.com recently posted an article about “As COVID Fears Ease, Remote Work Is Slowly Losing Popularity,” [subscription may be required], in which they said,

The number of law firm leaders, attorneys and staff who expect to work from home frequently dropped significantly between 2020 and 2021, according to the The 2021 National Legal Sector Benchmark Survey Results published by Cushman & Wakefield in conjunction with ALM Intelligence and Law.com.

Roughly 70% of respondents, which include 336 firm leaders, attorneys and staff from various law firms, said that they expect to regularly work remotely when asked in the second quarter of last year. Asked again earlier this year, just half responded the same way.”

I can hear some of you saying, “okay, so what? Why does it really matter if we go back to our pre-COVID way of working? Wasn’t that working for most of us?”

Was it?
Continue Reading Motivating Change in a Post-COVID World

We’re slowly, slowly easing back into a post-COVID world (maybe? Delta variants, anyone?) and with that brings a lot of stress and a lot of change. Potentially.

As we’ve discussed over the past couple of weeks, there may be some temptation to slip back into “the way we’ve always done things,” and while that may feel comfortable and familiar, it’s not a good enough reason to do it. And if you are thinking that you can get away with doing it at your law firm, take heed – recent studies and articles are saying, not so fast:
Continue Reading What if our Post-COVID Barriers to Change are…People?

Last week, we talked about the temptation to slide back into old habits as the world starts to open back up from quarantine. Things have changed, and they’ve changed dramatically, so there can be that desire to seek the familiar ways of doing things – but we really don’t have to. And with these Delta variants taking a firm hold on us, it will be more important than ever to be and stay flexible. I know that’s not something the legal industry is historically comfortable with, but we showed during the pandemic that we’re actually quite good at it. And that flexibility can be profitable for our firms (even if it’s a bit hard on our psyches). So what we DO need is both better mental health care within the legal industry (and self-care and boundaries) right along with continued moves towards a different way of being and thinking.
Continue Reading Breaking Down the Barriers to Change in a Post (During?) COVID World

“Innovation” is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot these days, right up there with “disruption.” It sounds like something that’s foreign in the legal industry, but it shouldn’t be. Believe it or not, we, too, can be innovative.

We’ve all gotten excited because the pandemic has made us believe that we can now be innovative – firms that were previously stuck were forced to become fully remote in a matter of days or weeks. Most court systems are now paperless. We’re e-signing documents and discussing hybrid working. What else is on the horizon?!?

<<Insert screeching stop noise here>>
Continue Reading It’s Past Time to Innovate for Radical Success

Almost ten years ago, I attended a general counsel panel about achieving greater collaboration and the clients who participated shared their top takeaways for lawyers and law firms. I’m not sure whether it speaks to the constancy of the legal profession that this advice holds true for today, or we are just still not getting it, but while there are definitely some sophisticated clients needs in the market today, the basics remain the same:
Continue Reading Lawyers – What do Your Clients Want? Hint: It Hasn’t Changed

One of my favorite topics to discuss is the idea of collaboration. It’s been much more popular over the last few years, but as we get deeper into the pandemic, the isolation is driving up the risk of returning those of us in the legal industry to silos (if some of us ever really left). I know that there’s been a lot of upheaval this year, and reverting to the way things “were” may sound attractive, in the same way that the phrase “but this is the way we’ve always done it!” can be. But I promise you that more than ever, insisting on moving forward with collaboration in the legal industry, both across silos and across functions within the profession, is essential for us to be successful.

Before we get into the “how” of collaboration in 2020, if you’d like to understand “why” you should bother to collaborate, head over to “The Case for Collaboration in Law Firm Networks: the Value Proposition for Your Clients.
Continue Reading Collaboration in 2020: What Does that Look Like?