4 steps to future proof your law firm

Kayresha Naidoo


January 16, 2024

I borrowed this from an online source - I thought it perfectly summed up what we talk to our clients about, all the time.

Sorry to the authors, I can’t remember where I got it, but it sums up some of my thoughts nicely.

The future of law is about relatability.

For small to midsize law firms in particular, clients no longer want to feel intimidated by the traditional hubris exhibited by many in the legal profession. Instead, legal consumers want and need an advocate who is willing to “sit on the same side of the table” as them. They don’t want confusing legalese spoken to them, or to be billed for things they don’t understand. Forward-thinking firms get this and are willing to invest in training their attorneys to deliver an excellent client experience.

In this case, “excellence” represents the ability of a lawyer to reduce a client’s anxiety and make them feel more empowered to make educated decisions throughout their work together and beyond.

Creating a culture of relatable lawyers breaks from the traditional law firm model and requires vision, alignment, discipline, engagement and accountability.

4 Steps Toward Creating a More Relatable Law Firm

If you are a law firm leader — or an aspiring one — here are a few things your firm can do to become healthier, more curious and more human-centred.

1. Leadership Training

Leadership skills are not taught in law school, yet they are critical to lawyers’ success. Firms that invest in professional development programs that focus on helping attorneys to lead effectively not only strengthen the firm’s bench but also have a useful tool for attracting and retaining talent.

2. Client Journey Road Map

The experience a client has with a firm should not fall to happenstance. To ensure a healthy, impactful and profitable client relationship, firms must be intentional in choreographing every step of the client’s experience with the firm and its people. Creating a “client journey road map” provides guidance to everyone at the firm who will “touch” the client or their matter in some way. Designing a client onboarding process that includes thoughtful and intuitive questions will establish trust and position attorneys as the curious, relatable and compassionate advocates their clients need.

3. Team Building

Many law firms have “eat what you kill” cultures that are filled with uber-competitive attorneys who are not incentivized to be collaborative. While this may drive billable hours, building a firm full of “siloized” lawyers does nothing to foster an environment conducive to learning or leading. Creating activities and systems around building camaraderie and team spirit goes a long way in delivering both client satisfaction and improved attorney retention.

4. Feedback

This word sends chills down many spines. When we think about providing or receiving feedback, we automatically imagine words of criticism and suggestions for improvement, but that is only half of the equation. Establishing a system for the exchange of feedback, both positive and constructively critical, will do much to improve rapport within the firm, instil a sense of firm citizenship among attorneys, and support a culture of perpetual learning and development.

What Is Your Firm Doing to Lead the Way?

Future-proofing your firm requires a new way of thinking. Long-term success will be realized by the lawyers and firms that understand the value of humility, self-awareness, and a desire to genuinely connect with clients in a very human way.

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