Law firm leaders are currently focused on business resilience measures – making the business decisions that will help the firm get through the trough of the pandemic and the resulting impact on the economy, as well as initiating planning for a safe return to the office environment. While these immediate issues are critical and pressing, leaders would be well served to start thinking now about the medium- and longer-term impact that the current situation will have on the legal industry and on their firms.
In the second and third quarters of last year, economic advisers warned of a potential mild to moderate economic downturn in 2020 or 2021, and in light of those concerns we wrote our July Insight, Managing in a Downturn. At that time, no one anticipated the rapid series of events which have impacted the world over the past 4-6 weeks and the global recession we will likely face over the coming months.
In an effort to better align services with client needs and differentiate the firm from competitors, many law firms have adopted some form of an industry focused strategy. These efforts have seen varying degrees of success, in part driven by the firm’s internal organization of the industry effort. Like many aspects of running a law firm, there is no one size fits all model.
As part of our strategy work for law firms we have interviewed hundreds of clients of firms. Despite variations in perspective, one theme has been particularly consistent – companies have very clear views about which firms or types of firms are best suited for particular segments of their work. Their message to law firms is: stay in your lane.