Things will never be the same. They might be a lot better eventually, but there's no going back to 2019.
Nor should we want to.
-- managing partner of a Walker Clark client law firm in Europe.
For most law firms, internal operations and client service processes will not be the same in 2022 as before the COVID-19 pandemic. Many law firms have already announced how what began as temporary adjustments -- such as remote working and more flexible financial arrangements with clients -- have already become, or soon will become, permanent components of their practice.
These changes will have substantial -- in some cases, seismic -- effects of law firm finances, lawyer performance, profitability, and in many cases, partner compensation structures and formulas. There will be many responses by law firms around the world, but one response that will almost always be fatal eventually will be to throw up one's hands and say, "We'll figure it out as we go along -- one problem at a time."
The problem with this approach is that law firms -- even the smallest ones -- are among the most complex business systems there are. A single event -- a change in the billable hours, up or down, recorded by remote-working partners for example -- can have causes and consequences throughout the enterprise, some of them subtle and overlooked if one focuses only on the obvious. This is why addressing the symptoms one by one, and not thinking about sustainable solutions, almost always produces disappointing results, and sometimes even counterproductive ones
So, how confident are you that your law will make the right decisions about the big paradigm shifts and practical challenges that now lie no more that seven months over the horizon? This could be a good time to invest in a Walker Clark Comprehensive Management Systems Review, a top-to-bottom collaborative inquiry to identify and address the biggest risks and opportunities that your firm faces in 2022 and beyond, and -- this is what sets us apart from most of our competitors -- to set a plan of practical, realistic, highly cost-effective actions that fit the unique characteristics of your firm, not some academic "best practices" model.