In December 2013, we asked five legal industry experts to share their 2014 resolutions for the performance of their law firm and the industry at large. As we move into 2015, we asked those professionals to revisit their goals, reflect on 2014 and share their resolutions for the new year.
Sandy Mak, partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
In 2014, the legal market settled down and we saw less of a focus on the dynamics of various law-firm mergers and a return to ‘business as usual’ in the legal industry.
In 2015, I believe law firms will have to continue to differentiate their service offerings and take bold steps to be responsive to client needs. Clients are requiring more for less in an increasingly competitive market and we have to be prepared to meet these challenges head-on through new technologies, innovative pricing models and greater flexibility in the workplace environment.
My resolution is to be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that this new way of working presents.
Tony Bleasdale, regional director (Asia-Pacific), BigHand
The key focus for 2015 is investing in technology and mobility. As providers of digital dictation software that empowers our clients to improve productivity, increase efficiency and better utilise resources, we want legal professionals to be able to work remotely and flexibly, find more balance in their professional lives and achieve the same functionality when mobile as they do in the office.
Rob Knowsley, principal, Knowsley Management Services
In 2014, I observed the expected mixed bag of outcomes, with some lawyers unable to properly balance the legal work of their comfort zones with the all-important increased focus on client, prospect and referrer-centric business development.
Those who made the time investment and had reasonable consistency in execution observed the ‘cause and effect’ of sensible business development, and are seeing enough of the green shoots to keep them on track.
For 2015, I would advise firms to be more aware of the degree to which team members are aligning their actual inputs to their work plans, and to take early and consistent action to get people back on track. I observed too many instances in 2014 where management action was belated or ineffective, which is not good for firms or their teams.
Dr Justine Rogers, law lecturer, University of NSW
In 2015, start sharing stories about, and rewarding staff and colleagues for, ethical decisions and behaviour. When ethics issues come up, let others in the firm know how they were identified and addressed. These are two effective ways of strengthening your firm’s ethical infrastructure.
From my perspective as an ethics lecturer, the most voiced fear of law students is not about defending the guilty, but working in a workplace in which core, intrinsic values are not important.
So even if there is an ethics policy at your firm or chambers, doing the right thing needs to be seen as possible and worthwhile.
Gavin Hanrahan, managing partner, Turnbull Hill Lawyers
Our goal of ensuring our offerings have the right amount of information, innovation and service is a constant challenge. We introduced major software upgrades last year, which has us well placed to continue to meet our goal. One of our challenges for 2015 is to ensure we are utilising the technology available to us in the most efficient way. New doesn’t always mean efficient.
According to our experts, striving for mobility and flexibility, being innovative, utilising technology in an efficient way, focusing on ethics and renewing your commitment to business development are the keys to success in 2015.
To start 2015 on the right foot, view our free infographic to ensure you maintain that vital work-life balance.