How many lawyers does it take to change a law firm?

by Andrea Foot, Director, Leaf Logic


It’s a little of an under-statement that we are living through turbulent times, with dramatic changes occurring in the global economy and huge shifts in how we work and live.
All these factors dictate how businesses envision their futures, and the strategies that they adopt to accommodate these changes.

In comparison with other businesses, Professional Services Firms (PSFs) – such as those practicing law, accounting and management consultancy – have been noticeably slow to adapt to the pressures to change in years past. And yet we have seen in the past few months that they are not immune to the global stresses and changes affecting all aspects of their world and we’ve seen PSF having to make rapid changes to adapt.

Having worked with lawyers and legal businesses over several decades, my curiosity became increasingly piqued over the split between the talk about need for change and the internal reality of implementing it within these organisations. Why, I wondered, did it seem to be such a theme in this group of clearly smart and driven individuals in the legal industry?


Andrea Foot will be discussing this subject in a free webinar on Tuesday 17 November from 12-1pm AEST.


The fact that legal services are expensive and hard to access for the wider population creates opportunities for new model organisations and technology disrupters. This is compounded by the fact that law firm business models are typically focused on short-term earnings in the present financial year, begging the question ‘why spend now?’, when it will come directly out of the partners’ earnings this year. This has long been a reason to postpone spending and changes to the following year.

Traditionally, change has been done around lawyers, targeting symptomatic relief rather than dispensing an unpalatable cure. It is common to hear the comment “Yes, but how do you tell a room full of millionaires that they need to change?” when people in and around law firms discuss the need for change in this industry.

I set about to find a way to take a look at this conundrum, to see if I could uncover what might be sitting under the surface of these organisations when faced with change.

In my webinar for CLEAA, I will take you through this journey and share some of the findings. We’ll discuss whether anything has shifted after the seismic shocks of the past year and I hope you’ll come away with some food for thought and discussion with your organisations and teams.