Fox & Partners recently hosted a webinar discussion on “Partner Leadership Challenges In Professional Services Firms In The Covid Era” and the recording is now available to watch here.

The participants were David Morley, former managing partner of Allen & Overy, who now runs his own strategy consultancy for the legal sector, Adam Brown UK chief executive of SSQ, the legal search experts, and Fox & Partners’ Catriona Watt; the discussion was chaired by Fox & Partners’ Caroline Field.

The key challenges identified and discussed by our panellists included:

  • How to maintain identity, culture and common purpose when everyone is working from home
  • How to tackle overstaffing at all levels where inefficiencies are exposed
  • How to keep and attract the best people
  • How to get ahead by strategic hiring

Our key takeaways:

  • The old law firm model has changed forever and new, more flexible structures are emerging
  • 2021 will see increased competition and dominance by US firms in London’s legal market
  • Firms offering a more flexible remuneration structure will be attractive to top performers who are out-performing their current platform
  • Money is not the only factor motivating moves. US firms and boutique practices may capture the entrepreneurial spirit of some ambitious partners.  A desire for flexibility may also be a driver
  • Keeping key partners may be at the expense of asking less well-performing partners to leave
  • There is always a right way and wrong way to undertake a partner exit and firms should focus on planning, consistency, communication, provision of information and garnering support in order to mitigate risk and ensure their culture does not suffer
  • Detailed checks and due diligence is recommended when bringing in lateral hires but care needs to be taken to navigate the legal risks, particularly when bringing a team on board

The full recording is available here.