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Despite what 2020 threw at us, the major challenges law firm principals face remains the same

If anything, 2020 certainly tested our resolve, our ability to change (or ‘pivot’ for the buzz word bandits out there (and I really hate that word)), and adapt to new ways of working. However, as the saying goes “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We’re here and the year is done. It cannot be changed, and the past is the past.

2021 offers 12 new chapters and 365 new chances to make the positive change we all seek.

And as I look back, and after providing services to over 60 law firms across Australia and around the world, my experience suggests that, despite COVID, the major challenges law firm principals face remain the same.

In my view the two major and, dare I say it, perennial challenges law firm principals face remain:

  1. Time. So often I hear time as an enemy to progress. ‘Not enough time’ to make the changes you’re after or achieve the goals you are seeking to, and
  2. Change. For change to be successful it must be incremental and exceptionally well implemented. Rapid, poorly executed, change is Kryptonite to law firms.

And these two perennial challenges work hand in glove; having the time to achieve positive change.

The key to time is that it is the fairest resource of all; we all have the same 24 hours in a day. You cannot buy more or give it to anyone else. The key is how you use yours. And addressing the challenges or achieving the goals you strive for is not a factor of the time you have. Rather, the achievement of them is a factor of your motivation. How much desire do you have for the changes you are seeking? Are they major, strategic roadblocks or ‘pebbles in your shoe?’ Ask yourself this question on those burning issues or goals you seek: Do I really want this? Because if you do, and your motivation for change supports it, you WILL find the time and the way to make the change(s) necessary.

As I have previously written, successful change in a law firm is incremental, often in small bites, that in the aggregate can make major impacts on your firm. It takes time, support, patience, and motivation and not just one or two of these – it’s all four. When change is required or forthcoming, you need to take care to ensure an expert implementation. There are several providers to the legal profession out there that spruik their whiz-bang products and sell a very compelling dream in their regular email content. The truth is change is damn hard. I have seen so many major change initiatives fail through lack of engagement, poor scope, unforeseen IT challenges, and a general unwillingness from key staff to support the change.

The truth is, there is no panacea for everything in a law firm and you need a thorough understanding of your practice, your people, your systems, and your processes to be able to identify and address the potential incremental adjustments that will deliver positive impacts on your firm. Harry Potter’s wand is not going to work here.

And as we enter 2021, the team at Lawganised looks forward to delivering some fantastic new products that will assist law firm principals to identify ways to make incremental change, one step at a time.

All the best to everyone for a happy and prosperous 2021.

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