"There's always an opportunity with a crisis. Just as it forces an individual to look inside himself, it forces a company to reexamine its policies and practices." – Judy Smith
If we have learned only one thing from the pandemic, it's that many of the changes it enforced upon law firms are becoming a new and sometimes better way of operating. Instead of breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to returning to pre-pandemic tactics, law firms are navigating new, updated strategies. A pandemic recovery plan is crucial, and it must incorporate the lessons we have learned.
Your firm’s pandemic recovery plan should establish practices within the firm that enable attorneys to respond to unexpected changes, interpret the issue, and suggest appropriate solutions. Implement your firm's plan the same way you plan a case. Prepare. Plan. Enact. Respond. If necessary, rebuild.
Your firm’s plan should:
1) Build up your technology – Remote work, virtual conferencing, and software changes became an essential part of your practice—much of the technology you were forced to adopt proved to be beneficial. As recovery moves forward, embrace the digital transformation. Keep the benefits of the present (and the past) as you move into the future.
2) Diversify your firm’s services – Boutique law firms and niche markets enable your firm to concentrate on specific areas of expertise, but sudden economic changes can have a devastating effect. Diversifying your firm’s services can strengthen your ability to withstand economic pressure.
3) Build on pandemic-induced tactics – Evaluate the positives that resulted from changes. From new marketing styles to work-from-home and virtual court appearances, differentiate between what was a temporary necessity and what inspired growth.
4) Emphasize relationships within the firm – Maintaining a people-centric culture is essential. From creating communication strategies for both in-office and remote work to encouraging cross-functional collaboration, place your priority on your attorneys and office staff. Create a flexible system that encourages innovation and self-management while providing the authority to match responsibility. Encourage relationship-building among attorneys and staff. Recognize and applaud their achievements. Retaining talent has always been a priority. Making people the center of your law practice will improve it.
5) Promote work-life balance – the pandemic-generated isolation and uncertainty were challenging and affected mental health and stability. Creating a culture that endorses work-life balance and encourages your people to support each other and seek professional help as needed will strengthen the firm as a whole.
6) Create an engaging client experience – Listen to your clients, support their goals and objectives, and celebrate their successes. Remember that they, too, have been experiencing the pandemic-wrought changes. This is an ideal time to engage by reaching out, listening, encouraging, and assisting them in moving beyond the pandemic.
A global crisis affects everyone and every business, including the legal industry. Responding to the new circumstances while recognizing the need for permanent changes will help every law firm navigate through the storm and flourish on the other side.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison
From various sources – suggested top reading choices for lawyers.
1. “Tomorrow's Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future” –by Richard Susskind
2. “How to Start & Build A Law Practice: Practice Ready - Mentor – Jobs” (6th Edition) –by Jay Foonberg
3. “The Client-Centered Law Firm: How to Succeed in An Experience-Driven World” –by: Jack Newton
4. “How to Become A Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients” –by Jeffery J. Fox
5. “Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century” –by Mitchell Kowalski
6. “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It” –by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
7. “How to Capture and Keep Clients: Marketing Strategies for Lawyers” –by Jennifer Rose
8. “The Case for Culture: How to Stop Being a Slave to Your Law Firm, Grow Your Practice, and Actually Be Happy” –by Eric Farber
9. “The E-Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don’t Work and What to Do About It” –by Michael Gerber
10.“Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law” –by Michele DeStefano