So the legal market rolls from one rocky sea to another and we look to see who is at the helm of the law firms. We have been talking to the managing partners of top 50 law firms in the past six months about how they are looking to improve performance of their firms and what we can do to help them manage client expectations and live up to them. What lessons have we learned from them?
1. Efficiency and quality of service (no surprise there, but the solutions are getting more advanced).
2. Quality of life to retain their most valuable assets – their lawyers. They care (at least enough to keep you around!)
Uh-oh – more efficient – what does that mean? Well, actually it means using the right answer for the job at the right time. Having flexible resources off the law firm balance sheet does give them a choice about when to increase resource. It can actually mean that a firm positively wants you to work from home or take up less than a full desk at the office. Accountants have been doing this for years, right? Now that broadband is a reality for home use, why not? It shouldn’t only be the partners who work from home (and seem to do so a lot on Friday!) Clients are also slicing the work into quality bands so that the grunt is done at the right level and your brainpower is used (and paid) for the cleverer stuff rather than the photocopying.
How can care be shown in any way outside the pay packet?
What is important to you? If it is reaching top of equity, then face facts, it’s hard, hard work and long hours. If it is about a good well paid and gratifying career, then you probably have more choices these days. Contract lawyering is one example of this and the pioneers have done a lot of the hard work to make this a reality for more of us, returning mums or the hard pressed millennial snowboarders and the occasional full-timer.