“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
2020 took us all out of our comfort zones. It was the year of the great reset, where we were forced to pause, step back, and re-assess what really matters.
What many of us came to appreciate was that:
- Certainty is an illusion;
- We can plan for many things but may still be blindsided by things we never imagined;
- We are stronger than we think;
- And if there was ever a time to try something new, to reinvent ourselves, to innovate, that time is now.
In 2020, law firms took austerity measures, leaders took a hard look at how to survive and proceed in the new normal, people learned to work more flexibly, remotely, and to cope with health scares, job insecurity, a loss of boundaries between work and home life, and constraints on our mobility and social lives. As a result, we have become more agile, more digital, more resilient, more accepting. We have adapted. And we have realized that we are tougher than we thought.
2021 is the year to try something new because what do we have to lose? Right now, we have this window of opportunity where people are more open-minded about things not going perfectly according to plan. Who wants to be “with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”? Law firms have to find ways to stand out to succeed in the new normal. This year is a good year for attorneys to experiment with launching new niche practice areas. To differentiate your law firm by building products and services others aren’t offering. To make an effort to improve your law firm’s culture so it’s a place people really want to work through good times and bad. To try a different talent supply chain model outside the traditional partner-associate leverage pyramid. To improve processes and collaborate with other service providers to optimize value for clients and shareholders alike.
In the future, we will be featuring some law firms that are daring to do things differently. Stay tuned (but don’t wait to get in the arena)!