Leaders in lockdown – Fionn Bowd on the Beyond Billables Podcast

Last week our CEO Fionn talked about the opportunities being missed by large law firms in the current crisis with Michael Bromley from Beyond Billables in his ‘Leaders in Lockdown’ podcast series. While firms have done much better on the people side than they did during the GFC, there is still significant opportunity on the client side on which most firms are failing to capitalise. Not only are they losing potential revenue today, they are creating a service vacuum that is ripe for another provider to fill tomorrow and into the future.

Law firms need to:
  • Be much braver
  • Be prepared to self-disrupt or get disrupted by someone else
  • Work in more human-centred ways to identify and then solve the problems their clients are facing (hint: don’t just use partners to talk to GCs)
  • Help, not sell

Law firms also have a once in a lifetime platform to re-assess the law firm business model from the ground up. This absolutely does not mean cut costs per every management consultant’s advice, it means transform and self-disrupt the business model by looking outside the law and outside management theory to build something new that works for our industry.

In terms of in-house counsel, Mike and Fionn talk about the opportunities for corporate lawyers to improve the importance and credibility of the legal function as problem solvers not problem creators. In-house counsel need to elevate the role of lawyers within organisations to ensure the legal function in corporations is properly funded to manage risk. Lawyers have a unique way of thinking, and should not be seen as nothing but cost centres. Non-lawyers should not be setting the legal budget and the loss of power by in-house counsel has eroded the quality of legal work and legal decision making in many settings. The wrong people decide the quality of the work in a way that does not happen in other professions such as accounting and engineering. Lawyers should not decide how much it should cost to build a bridge, nor should accountants decide how much it should cost to get accurate and quality legal advice.

Fionn also make predictions about the changes to ways lawyers work she believes will stick around post-crisis and the challenges (which can be overcome) in transforming large law firms.

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