The Coronavirus is causing broad-based law firm disruption.  Reports of law firms reducing draws, decreasing salaries, furloughing or laying off of lawyers and staff, and modifying summer associate programs appear daily.  Besides creating concern for health and well-being, the pandemic presents real and substantial challenges for law firms.  All firms will feel it, and some will struggle for their existence.

Overcoming crisis in a law firm is a time for leadership.  When we consider leadership, we often associate it with a single individual.  Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Churchill evoke thoughts about big lives in big moments.  But these legends did not succeed alone.  Other people helped.  In law firm crisis, the same should be true.

Great leadership in a time of law firm crisis draws upon other talented people to protect and preserve the firm.  Tapping others to help is prudent because crisis can be all consuming, far too much for a single person to handle alone.  Besides helping avoid “too little time for too much to do,” creating a team to tackle crisis allows a firm to draw on diverse talents necessary to solving a crisis.  Creating a crisis team allows a law firm leader to avoid being overwhelmed and direct needed skills to critical tasks.

Expanding the crisis team helps in another way.  With added involvement, the task of getting “buy-in” to a survival strategy is easier.  If more people have ownership in the solution, it is more likely that the firm can count on their support and commitment to sell others on the chosen path forward.

In crisis, a talented team can help leadership succeed.

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