The economic turmoil driven by the coronavirus has impacted virtually every law firm — some more significantly than others. Unfortunately, the pain has only begun for many. The demand for many transaction related practices is likely to be off for an extended period, and though most expect demand for litigation services to be steady, the ability of the court system to support the pre-virus level of activity is questionable. In addition, funding litigation may prove to be a challenge in the near term for many litigants.
As law firm leaders seek insights to developing strategies for this reality, I recommend a report from McKinsey and Company, published a few days ago. The report — perspetives., includes valuable
What to do—
Although it is difficult to predict the actual decline in demand, firms can control how they respond to the decline. The following thoughts may provide some relief as your firm works on developing responsive strategies for the long term.
Realization. Virtually every firm can improve time-entry, billing and collection processes. Improvement in these areas can soften the impact of the decline in demand. The current crisis provides an opportunity to get everyone on-board with strengthening performance in these areas.
Client communication. If your firm does not have a proactive client communication/interview process, now is the time to implement one. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated; but it does need to include direct communication between the client and either a firm leader or one of the attorneys principally responsible for the relationship. A robust client communication strategy includes both, and provides insight into possible opportunities while deepening the existing relationship.
Internal communication. During any crisis, visible leadership that communicates frequently and directly is key to maintaining stability and preventing a run on the bank. Wise leaders find a way to strike a proper balance between reality and optimism. Transparency and vision are keys to maintaining the firm’s trust.
Labor reallocation. For multi-practice firms, aggressive reallocation of personnel to areas of greater demand is a difficult but realistic option. Billing rates may need to be adjusted and some time may need to be written-off; but to the extent firm talent can be moved from slow areas to those in greater demand it should be explored.
If these thoughts prompt interest in additional discussion, we are offering private, confidential, and free 30-minute discussion sessions from 3:00-5:00 (CST) Tuesdays and Thursdays. To reserve a slot, send an email to either of the below:
To read more on leading through law firm crisis, visit ManagingLawFirmTransition.com.