Patrick J. McKenna is a highly respected lecturer, strategist and advisor to law firms. McKenna’s experience has taught him that the best performing teams have discovered to operate effectively they need to formalize what they should specifically be able to expect of each other as members. He calls these expectations the group’s ‘Rules of Engagement’, and in this article he articulates that to be effective, these rules of engagement must be clear, consistent, agreed to and followed. A challenging endeavor in any workplace, but critical to high performing and innovative law firms.
Jim Calloway is the Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program. He informs us about the range of legal services delivered by what have been designated as “primary-care lawyers.” From Calloway’s perspective, there is people law, and there is business/corporate law. Over the years, there has been a greater divergence in these two types of law practice focuses. He makes the case that increasingly, these are completely different types of law practices, with different types of challenges and processes. Calloway believes this is not only true but profound. He views it as profound because consideration of the differences should inform and impact the method of legal service delivery depending on the type of client.
Legal sector analyst Jordan Furlong writes that it’s taken two years of rolling pandemic lockdowns to shake us from our torpid habit of gathering together only to work alone. Over the next decade, a Stanford professor estimates, US workers will spend a quarter of their work time at home — “the number of person-days in the office is never going back to pre-pandemic average, ever.” This has obvious ramifications for corporate office space, employee well-being, and even climate change. But the workplace itself is ground zero for this change, and there will be enormous ramifications in this regard alone. Furlong’s thought provoking essay identifies critical choices that can be made that will result in better outcomes for law firms moving forward.
In over 30 years of working with law firms on improving productivity and profitability Heather Gray-Grant has seen countless marketplace surveys on the incredible value of client feedback mechanisms. In many instances it’s been labelled as one of the fastest and most effective ways to boost firm revenue. So, you’d think that law firms would be all over this business practice as a standard operating procedure. But…not so much. Gray-Grant discusses how to effectively execute client surveys and audits that will benefit firms as well as customers.
Employees are feeling burned over broken work-from-home promises and corporate culture ‘BS’ as employers try to bring them back to the office
As vaccinations and relaxed health guidelines make returning to the office a reality for more companies, there seems to be a disconnect between managers and their workers over remote work. A good example of this is a recent op-ed written by the CEO of a Washington, D.C., magazine that suggested workers could lose benefits like health care if they insist on continuing to work remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. The staff reacted by refusing to publish for a day. While the CEO later apologized, she isn’t alone in appearing to bungle the transition back to the office after over a year in which tens of millions of employees were forced to work from home. A recent survey of full-time corporate or government employees found that two-thirds say their employers either have not communicated a post-pandemic office strategy or have only vaguely done so. As workforce scholars, Kimberly Merriman, David Greenway and Tamara Montag-Smith are interested in teasing out how workers are dealing with this situation. Their recent research found that this failure to communicate clearly is hurting morale, culture and retention.
Nicole L. Black’s third article in a series discusses the value of an expansive new report from the ABA, Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward: Results and Best Practices from a Nationwide Survey of the Legal Profession. The results cover a broad overview of topics ranging from the impact of the pandemic on the legal profession to post-pandemic expectations and recommendations for both legal employers and individual lawyers.
Full-time remote work may continue to be with us for some time. Nicole L. Black discusses approaches that forward thinking law firm leaders can use to take advantage of this opportunity and fine tune their management skills for both in-office or remote teams.
Jerry Lawson is a lawyer, speaker, author, advisor and leader in the field of legal technology. If you are looking to get better results from your organization, whether a law firm or other legal organization, Lawson believes you can’t do better than letting Dennis Kennedy’s recent book be your guide.
Knowledge sharing, social media and knowledge management expert V. Mary Abraham shares her readout and impressions of this timely and impactful keynote presented by Marco Iansiti, Harvard Business School Professor of Business Administration, and Coauthor of Competing in the Age of AI. Abraham’s insights encompass how the pandemic is accelerating enormous changes. Within 5-10 years, every organization will be run differently. Those who invest in digital transformation will do just fine. Those who do implement tangible change not will be left behind.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in various parts of the country, you’re no doubt facing uncertainties on how and when to reopen your law firm. You’re also likely wondering about the future of your law firm and its book of business. One way to directly address these concerns is to prioritize preparing your firm for whatever may come. Whether it’s a pandemic or economic downturn, pre-emptive protocols and a strong technology foundation will help you maintain business continuity in the event of future disruption. Is your firm ready? If not, there’s no better time to ensure that you’re protected, and this free webinar and accompanying transcript by Nicole L. Black are excellent resources to help you mitigate an over abundance of challenges.