Today, perhaps more so than ever before, law firm leaders are under pressure. As new and unprecedented world events arise on a nearly daily basis, law firms as businesses and service organizations require new, untested, and unproven leadership approaches. These approaches range from moving the firm’s entire workforce to a remote working environment, to virtual people management, to remote staffing and team coordination, to creative and proactive client service and retention strategies, and to making hard business decisions to preserve the stability of the firm without a clear picture of what the future holds.
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.
Our strategy work with law firms is focused on planning for the future. Three to five years ago our strategy work often involved developing a 2020 vision and strategy – 2020 had a nice ring to it. Now we have arrived in 2020 and the future is today.
We continue to see firms use a variety of approaches in setting strategy. These approaches vary along two principal dimensions: 1) level of partner input and 2) level of organizational process applied.
Based on our experience, there are at least three different paths to a national strategy, depending on a firm’s practice position, practice mix, and client base.