Several years ago, Lisa Bodell, a professor at Wharton, published her book, “Kill the Company.” In it, she describes an exercise by the same name. The premise was simple: a team of leaders is instructed to deploy the same level of competitiveness, aggressiveness and tenacity they would typically reserve to dismantle their competitors on their own company. The result: a laundry list of vulnerabilities—weak spots that threaten the long-term viability of the company or its ability to thrive, expand and prosper—and an opportunity—to right the ship and fortify the company’s position.
In much the same way, the pandemic presents law firms an opportunity to hit the reset button. The past year laid bare false truths (e.g., lawyers have to work from their office; legal assistants are compulsory) and opened the door for significant change in a short period of time. Lawyers, clients and professionals discovered new and effective ways to work together, shedding seemingly unnegotiable facades (pants, anyone?) to connect in more personal, authentic ways. Yet, as firms reopen their doors and people return to the office will they, too, re-adopt bad habits alongside the good ones?