Future of the Law Firm

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?

These are the words from David Ackert of The Ackert Advisory during a webinar that he gave for our ILN membership yesterday, and oh boy do those hit home.

I can say that as an organization, we’re not just “hunkering down” when it comes to our strategy for 2020, but is that something that sounds familiar to you for your firm or practice? When COVID hit, was there an immediate flurry of “batten down the hatches!” and everyone just hold on for dear life?
Continue Reading “Hunker down” is not a growth strategy; it’s a survival strategy

Four years ago, we joined with HighQ in looking at the question, “What do you believe lawyers and law firms need to do to prepare for the future of legal services?”

Considering how much has happened even in the past six months, and looking at the way the legal industry adapted to being fully remote in many countries in 1-2 weeks, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look back at what some of the leading experts in the industry had to say in 2016, and put that into today’s context.

In reading what many of us thought in 2016, the overriding sense is less that firms have been preparing for change and more that COVID has forced firms to have to be innovative and creative because they have no other choice. The old adage that when something is painful enough, THEN we will make changes, is just as true for law firms as it is for each of us.

But is change a challenge…or an opportunity?
Continue Reading Law Firms: Change as a Challenge, or an Opportunity?

In our third episode of the Law Firm ILN-telligence Podcast, we welcomed Attilio Ferrari, a partner with FPB Legal in Milan, Italy and a member of the International Lawyers Network. In this episode, Attilio and I discussed emphasizing being a trusted partner over business development, the importance of communication, and how no one is

This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts. Here is the third and final post in our series.

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How does your social impact program rate? Globally, firms are finding that prospects and clients, as well as employees and recruits expect them to take their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability programs to a new level. These stakeholders expect you to show that you have a holistic, strategic social impact plan with measurable results.
Continue Reading Corporate responsibility and social impact for law firms: Create a social impact program that measures up

This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts. Here is the second in our series.

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You might be surprised to learn what your clients expect from you. A growing number of companies have signed on to the United Nations Global Compact—more than 12,000 in 165 countries. They’re committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and they expect vendors and suppliers to also commit toward a more just and sustainable world.  Yes, this includes law firms and other professional service providers.
Continue Reading Corporate responsibility and social impact for law firms: Growing Client Engagement and Expectations

This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts.

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The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.”  (www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/)

The world is changing and so is the way we must do business.
Continue Reading Corporate Social Responsibility for Law Firms: Understanding the Global Movement

While being interviewed for a podcast yesterday morning, the host asked me what I saw as the primary trend for the future of law firms. Although my answer is simple, the work behind it is not – collaboration.

We’ve talked about Heidi Gardner’s book, Smart Collaboration, before (and I again highly recommend reading it). One of the things Gardner addresses in the book is the barriers to collaboration. I’m sure many of these will be familiar to you, and that she’s so adept at identifying them should give you comfort that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to why collaboration is so essential and useful to law firms and lawyers. Let’s examine a few of these, and how you may overcome them within your own firms or law firm networks to achieve better collaborative results.
Continue Reading Overcoming the Barriers to Collaboration

In our discussions over the last few years about the future of the law firm, the one thing that has become abundantly clear is that for lawyers and firms to be successful, they will have to learn to collaborate effectively and efficiently. In her book, Heidi Gardner calls this “Smart Collaboration.” I had the chance to see Gardner present at the CLOC conference in February, and recently finished her book, and I can’t recommend it enough – for anyone in professional services looking to be successful over the next ten years, this is a must-read.

Gardner looks at collaboration from a few distinct viewpoints, and makes the case for it in a variety of ways. The one that strikes me initially is her final chapter, in which she discusses collaboration from the point of view of the client. Clients are deeply committed to the idea of collaboration, but obviously, they want to make sure that they’re paying for good value. Not surprisingly, collaboration is good for both the firm and the client. I’m not going to go into the reasons why your firm should be investing in the idea of smart collaboration (think better success in the war for talent/clients; doing higher value work more efficiently and effectively; being a differentiator, etc.) but instead, I want to look at the reasons why collaboration adds value for your clients, and specifically, how members of a law firm network can use their membership to effectively communicate this value and enhance their collaborative skills. 
Continue Reading The Case for Collaboration in Law Firm Networks: the Value Proposition for your Clients