The leaders of global professional services firms are currently facing challenges that are taxing their capabilities to the full. From the likely repercussions associated with the decisions around law firm ownership and working practices in various U.S. states, through worries about the impact of the expected economic downturn on fee income and profitability, keeping the right partners and helping others out of the firm, all aspects of associate development given the impact of home working on their interactions (or lack of) with the firm’s partners and clients. With the imminent arrival of a vaccine, there is also the question of the when and how to return to office-based working. And that’s just the start.

In the face of these challenges, one would hope that firms had invested in effective leadership development so that their leaders (and we include all partners in our view of who leads firms, not just the people occupying MP/CEO positions and their fellow board members) had the capability to deal effectively with these challenges. While some challenges are unique to the pandemic, many are not or are derivative of situations firms have faced in the past.

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