airline_covidWill life be back to normal in a couple of weeks? Is there a new normal? What does that even mean? In most countries in Asia, Europe and North America, where Covid-19 infection rates are slowing and beginning to decline, the lockdowns will probably begin to be lifted soon.

People will be able to return to work and businesses will begin to open. The pressure to ease lockdowns is inexorable, driven far more by a need to reignite the world’s economies than by people desperate to return to crowded cities and public mass transport systems. It will not be long, now.

Continue Reading A new normal, or the end of normal?

We are now well into the ‘response’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic and most law firms appear to have weathered the initial storm. IT teams have served their firms with distinction in setting up remote working systems.

Frank conversations have taken place across partnerships about what is needed to ensure their firms’ survival. Some firms have suspended partner drawings, reduced salaries and are furloughing staff under the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and similar schemes in other jurisdictions.


Continue Reading After Covid-19, tensions that pre-existed the pandemic will become intolerable

Two months, it turns out, is a long time. For most law firms, 2020 looked as though it was going to be a banner year. Whispers could be heard that a recession was inevitable, though probably not for a while.

Markets felt robust. Besides a prescient few whose warnings fell on deaf ears, that the world was ill- equipped to deal with a global pandemic, who would have thought that a crisis of this magnitude would be triggered by a ‘flu-like virus? One cannot yet assess what the economic impact will be on countries and economies, far less on individual law firms and their clients. Sudden economic stops like these are unprecedented in the modern developed world.
Continue Reading Above all, this crisis too will pass

A survey by the International Bar Association and Cambridge Strategy Group in October 2019, testing perceptions on the digitalisation of legal services, revealed several findings that are surprising, even counterintuitive in some cases. The survey was sent to members of the Law Firm Management Committee and of the six Regional Fora. 685 responses were received from a total of 100 countries. Initial findings were presented at the IBA ‘Building the law firm of the future’ conference in London on 22 November, the deck for which is attached here. A more comprehensive report is currently being prepared.
Continue Reading What do lawyers really think about digitalisation?

The paper linked here was presented by Robert Millard at the Saïd Business School Professional Services Firm conference held in Boston, Massachusetts on 12-13 August 2019, immediately after the Academy of Management annual conference. It draws together elements of Stakeholder theory and the literature of legal ethics, so try to provide an answer to this question.
Continue Reading Should law firms predicate their mergers upon client interests?