Regardless of degree, Covid-19’s impact on law firms is near universal. Some firms have been impacted so severely that crisis is their reality. Confronted with a do or die situation, strong leadership fights to bring back normalcy. Failure can mean disaster.
Leaders used to positive law firm performance can find themselves uncertain about their new role. In the face of uncertainty, focused leadership takes the typical steps of receivable management, cost-cutting, personnel decisions, and morale boosting. Unfortunately, the natural focus on survival can cause a firm to make two mistakes that compound crisis.
One common mistake seems silly to mention but for the fact that it happens too frequently. Leaders naturally focused on the looming danger can forget about the day-to-day, month-to-month blocking and tackling that was routine pre-crisis. A considered pursuit of the firm’s long-term plan, recruiting, civic involvement, and professional development is important even when the crisis seems all-consuming. If leadership is overwhelmed, get help (internal or external).
The second mistake involves the firm’s lawyers at large. Unused to crisis or the circumstances, many lose confidence in their ability to develop business. Uncertainty, embarrassment, or not knowing what to say about the firm can paralyze normally aggressive marketers. Business development must continue, if not increase, and a strategy designed to overcome the situational discomfort felt by many. Business development in the shadow of crisis requires unique skills-make sure your lawyers have them.
Too much to do with too little time can explain a myopic focus on crisis. Make sure you dedicate adequate resources, so it doesn’t happen to your firm.
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