Covid-19 has upended law firm normalcy. What might have been perceived last March as a couple of month hiatus from business as usual has been extended with no end in sight. With no known end date, it can be difficult to plan in ways previously thought routine.
The current Covid-19 world for law firms can be felt in matters of employee health, reduced client demand, depleted inventory, declining revenues, and external pressures from banks, landlords and vendors. Dealing with this panoply of challenges requires leadership that can identify solutions uniquely suited to the circumstances.
Beyond addressing the crisis du jour, two firm initiatives can help “hold the fort” until normalcy returns.
First, as my colleague Roger Hayse noted in his Client Revenue Loss and Covid-19, staying in touch with clients by establishing a listening program can prove beneficial. Keeping and enhancing existing client relationships through a frequent-touch listening program shows clients you fundamentally care about them and postures your firm well for the future. When the legal services industry reopens, having a stockpile of nurtured relationships is better than having to find new ones.
Second, a law firm’s success is inexorably tied to the talent it has. Firms that lose talent in these Covid-19 times may miss the competitive edge needed when normalcy returns. For that reason, frequently communicating with your talent to bind them to the firm is critically important. Firms may even see value in touching base with talent lost through furloughs or lay-offs. Covid-19 has not changed the fact that law firms are in the talent business and always will be.
When it comes to clients and talent, a law firm slowed by Covid-19 should not slow down.