Challenging the status quo in law firms
Most law firms recognise that the legal market is changing. Most also believe that the business of law must evolve too, to meet changing client demands and grow the business. To do so, all of the many business processes and procedures involved in running a law firm merit evaluation for improvement, in order to be more profitable. With so many variables that can affect the firm business, it’s hard to decide where to begin.
This is where the status quo creeps into the subconscious as well as the conscious mind. “It’s always been done this way” is an attractive solution because it feels safe. Maintaining the status quo is a form of risk aversion, and it serves a purpose in a static environment. This “status quo bias” can oftentimes blind law firm leadership from considering alternative courses of action to improve efficiency and profitability.
There are recent examples of companies in other industries that failed to see the business risk of status quo thinking, such as Blockbuster missing a huge opportunity with Netflix. There is also the cautionary tale of Eastman Kodak’s costly digital camera mistake of simply doing something different as opposed to doing the right things differently.
Law firms are no longer able to be technological laggards that are resistant to change. The business challenges, pace of change, as well as new opportunities that didn’t exist years ago, make it a necessity. Modern law firms are demonstrating exemplary creativity in legal problem-solving today. The majority of this problem-solving stems from simply looking beyond status quos and refusing to accept that this is as good as it gets.
In our discussions with hundreds of law firms from around the world, we see examples of status quo thinking in various forms, stemming from finance, culture, and legal technology. These do not all apply to every firm, but for those firms looking to build a sufficiently attractive case for change, these 12 alleged status quos represent practical starting points.
Aderant proposes a well-reasoned approach is to challenge status quo thinking in law firms. This means examining why law firms execute business processes as an exercise in identifying areas for driving operational efficiency and preparing the firm for the future of law.