It’s all in this HBR report: a Blue Print check list for law firm leaders to tick off if they want to stay ahead of the game. All 11 items have/will come up for debate in our AuDela VRTs. For you busy people, here is the summary of the summary:

1.Today, I need to:

  • Leverage digital technologies so that they can adapt and innovate
  • Try out novel business models
  • Stitch together solutions to address emerging and previously unrecognized client needs
  • Develop new business processes and practices
  • Redefine models for collaboration and teamwork


Transparency and communication 

I know, it’s been repeated ad nauseam since the crisis but it’s a biggie and here to stay.

Of the 11 points, 4 fall squarely under ‘Communication’ and another 5 are communication-reliant. So, while leaders are power sprinting at dawn to start their day,  they need to be honing the style/manner/content of their leadership output as  at least 82% on that ‘to do’ list is dependent on transparency and communication.

Headings include “foster a more connected organisation” “ adopt new modes of communication” “help employees build resilience” “be transparent about your challenges” (yikes, is this vulnerable leadership?);“re-evaluate performance” (leadership and wider); “formalise remote work” (requires trust - also a biggie); “find new ways to collaborate”;“re-organise to enhance decision-making” (basically, simplify communications systems).

[A quick parenthesis as here I feel the urge to commend Dr Mike Carter @Footdown – a leading behavioural scientist who lectures on MBA courses and whose nimble organisational sensemaking diagnostic tool flushes out any dissonance in communication across the entire organisation in real time.]

2 headings are worthy of particular mention as I’ve not come across them presented as such in Western law firm culture:

“Identify volunteer opportunities”: “Multiple leaders reported plans to deploy future volunteer-led initiatives to identify and execute complex business model changes, enhance staff engagement, and support a more ambitious social impact” agenda. Apparently, volunteers are more willing, particularly “when confronting new business initiatives with social impact”. While much has been made of the focus on staff wellbeing, social impact as an active agenda seems to have been remarkably silent since Covid hit. And, on that front, what of the ESG agenda? Not enough in the press about that either… I’d say a great time for law firms to march into that space with alacrity.

“Support lifelong learning at scale”: “Most of the leaders we interviewed believe that lifelong learning and a growth mindset will be crucial for employees of the future”. Maybe I need to get out more, but I’ve not heard much talk about ‘a growth mindset’ – but if ever there was an opportunity for a law firm to seize on that agenda, now is the time. It would appeal to all levels, not just to the NextGen but also to Current Gen who are navigating unchartered seas and need to adapt and evolve super quickly.

The article closes with the counter-intuitive call to not preserve resources but instead invest to solidify market position. Tech investment is an easy one for law firm leaders to get buy-in; but investment in people? Rather harder, I’d say.