Over the last ten years, we have witnessed advances within law practice technology, the growing roles of paralegals, and the outsourcing of legal work. Yet despite all of these cost-cutting and time-saving benefits, many law firms, especially the large types, remain struggling for their very survival.
Only a decade ago, law firms were enjoying remarkable levels of growth plus prosperity. Firm coffers were full and firms were spending substantial sums of money on promoting themselves in order to enter new markets and get premium business. Some firms actually began experimenting with branding. In those days, logos was mostly viewed as just another kind of advertising and promotion. In truth, company leadership rarely understood the logos process or what the concept of branding was actually intended to accomplish. However it didn’t really matter, revenue was climbing and profitability remained strong. When you have any kind of questions regarding wherever and how to make use of https://aa-abogados.com/, you are able to call us at the web-page. But what so many of these firms didn’t expect was that, in just a few years, our economy would be shaken with a deep and fierce recession, one that would shake the financial fundamentals of even the most profitable of firms.
For law firms, the recession that began in 2007 had, by 2010, penetrated the most sacred of realms- the proverbial benchmark of a firms standing and achievement- profits-per-partner. For many firms, especially mega-firms, the decline in law companion profits were reaching record levels and it wasn’t long until the lawful landscape was littered with failed companies both large and small.
Within trying to deflect further losses, companies began to lay off associates plus staff in record number. But the problems went much deeper. There merely were too many lawyers and not sufficient premium work to go around. It was a clear case of overcapacity, and it also was also clear it was not going to improve anytime soon.
More than twelve of the nation’s major law firms, with more than 1, 000 partners between them, had completely failed in a span of about seven yrs. Against this background, law schools were still churning out thousands of eager law graduates every year. Highly trained teenage boys and women who were starved for that chance to enter a profession that once held the promise of prosperity, status and stability.
As partner profits dwindled, partner infighting grew rampant. Partner would compete against partner for the same piece of business. The collegial “team-driven” identity and “progressive culture” that firms spent huge amount of money promoting as their firm’s unique brand name and culture had vanished as soon as it was created. While financial times were tough, in truth many of the big firms had the resources to survive the particular downturn. Instead, partners with big books of business were selecting to take what they could and joined other firms- demoralizing those left out.
To understand why this was happening, we have to first remove ourselves from the specific context and internal politics of any one firm and consider the larger picture. The failure and drop of firms was not only a problems of economics and overcapacity, it was also a crisis of character, identity, values and leadership. Sadly, the brand identity many of these firms pronounced as their own did not match up contrary to the reality of who they really were. In other words, for many firms, the particular brand identity they created was illusory- and illusory brands eventually fracture in times of financial stress.
Ultimately, the branding process must also become a transformative process in search of the companies highest and most cherished values. It is, and must be, a process of reinvention at every level of the firm- specifically its leadership. The transformative process is fundamental to building an accurate and enduring brand. Without it, firms run the risk of communicating a good identity that does not represent them, and this is the danger, especially when the firm is tested against the stress associated with difficult times.
How this miscommunication of identity was allowed to take place varied widely from firm in order to firm. But generally speaking, while firm leadership was initially supportive of the personalisation process, in most cases these same partners were rarely willing to risk exposing the particular firm’s real problems in fear that it would expose their own.
While decline of law firm revenue was clearly attributable to both a bad economic climate and an oversupply of lawyers, from an internal perspective the business’s inability to come together and create effective measures to withstand these pressures could usually be traced straight back to the lack of partner leadership. A firm that proclaims to be something it really is not- is inevitably doomed in order to failure. Say nothing of the psychic damage it causes at the collective level of the firm. It is no different then the psychological dynamics of the person who pretends to be someone he could be not- ultimately it leads to dilemma, frustration and eventually self-betrayal.
It’s easy to indulge in self-praise when economic times are good. Some partners might even attribute their own success to all that clever branding they put into place years just before. But , when the threat of financial crisis enters the picture, the same company can quickly devolve into self-predatory behavior- a vicious cycle of concern and greed that inevitably evolves into an “eat-or-be-eaten” culture- which for the majority of firms marks the beginning of the end.
For virtually any firm playing out its final inning, it is simply too late to rally the troops or reach for those so-called cherished values that were supposedly driving the firm’s achievement. In truth, when times got poor, these values were nowhere available, except on the firms website, magazine ads and brochures.
The point is that when a firm is actually driven by the cherished beliefs and core ideals, the firm will begin to live simply by them, especially in times of difficulty. The firm will pull with each other and rally behind its leadership, and with clarity of purpose, each person will do what needs to be done in order to weather the storm. But when we have a fundamental contradiction between what a firm says they are, and how they in fact conduct themselves both internally and also to the world- the vendors along with whom they do business and the clients they represent- the firm will never reach its full potential. It will remain dysfunctional and it will risk signing up for that growing list of failed firms.
The financial collapse and damage of so many law firms in the past couple of years is a compelling testament to the importance of requiring on truth and integrity within the branding process.
In 2014, it is clear that business-as-usual in our career is no longer a sustainable proposition. For this reason I am convinced that firms powered by fear and greed are usually firms destined to eventually self-destruct. That is because, no matter how much these types of firms try to brand, they will by no means be able to brand truthfully, and therefore they are going to never be able to compete against more progressive and enlightened firms- those that do not worship wealth and strength, but rather cherish personal and expert fulfillment.
There is a choice for those who think their firm is worth saving- reinvent yourself to reflect values that are really worthy of cherishing, or risk devolving into something less than what you aspire to be and risk your firm’s heart and soul in the process.
We as attorneys have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to play a valuable and constructive role in this transformative process. And, within this process, all of us finally have the chance to redefine the profession. I speak of what Proper rights Berger referred to when he urged our profession to become “healers of human conflict. ”
I often wonder what it would be like skillfully if we were viewed by the public as healers of conflict instead of perpetuators of conflict. I question what practicing law would look like and what values and choices we would make as healers. Perhaps we might choose values like union more than division, inclusion over exclusion, and wisdom over cleverness.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to think of the legal profession to be made up of healers. It takes some creativity, and yet personally, the very idea of it actually materializing in my lifetime or perhaps in my children’s lifetime deeply goes and inspires me.
To accomplish this we have to move from a state of thinking to a state of believing. To some state of living out the particular values we have chosen to embrace. It dares us to be more than what we ever thought possible both individually and professionally.
The question is whether we all shall lead the process of change or whether we shall lag behind it, still chained to those self-serving stale beliefs that no longer assist us as a society and that have kept us from realizing our own greater potential as a profession. I am aware where I stand on this issue. How about you?