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GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS  –  At a time when competition is fierce but budgets are tight, law firms are having to balance the need to make necessary staff cuts with the need to fully or partially restore pay to professionals and attorneys who are at risk of being scooped up by rivals. But, just as importantly, firms are are having to figure out how to handle the messaging around those seemingly incongruous moves. As Dan Packel reports—and The American Lawyer’s 2020 Midlevel Associates Survey recently showed us—the worst thing a firm leader can do when delivering news internally is try to tap-dance around the truth. “Generally speaking, law firm leaders have come to understand they normally have two roles. One is the cheerleader and the other is the business manager,” said Zeughauser Group consultant Bruce McLean. “Here, you need to be straight up with partners and business professionals about what’s going on and how you’re going to deal with it. Transparency is absolutely important, even if that’s different from the historic role of being a cheerleader.”

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