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Law Practice Management
Will lawyers of all ages working remotely be sufficiently engaged in bar associations, civic affairs, networking, and all of the rainmaking activities that are needed for a firm to survive?
Will communication break down if it is all done by text message, email, and the occasional phone call or Zoom meeting?
Can we expect lawyers to be disciplined enough to be as productive as they might be in an office setting?
Can a firm maintain a culture that will attract and keep lawyers and employees if they do not see one another regularly?
There are many more questions, but these are the big ones. Unfortunately for firm managers there are no “yes” or “no” answers to these questions. There is no “one size fits all” answer.
My advice to law firm leaders is that now is a prime time for strategic planning.
• For planning to be successful, firms must include all of the generations of the firm and key non-lawyers in the planning process.
• Senior lawyers need to express their ideas and concerns with younger lawyers and younger lawyers need to express their views to the more senior lawyers.
• Frankly, some good implicit bias training within firms would also benefit all generations in understanding one another.
• Ultimately, the planning process should be intended to address these questions, and any plan should have buy-in from all ages.
• The plan should be consistent with your view of your firm’s culture.
• Further, more than ever, strategic plans will need to be continually reviewed and tweaked as the firm experiences success or failure with aspects of the plan.
• Firm culture will have to be monitored regularly.
The best that any of us can do in this period of transition is to enter into planning with an open mind and a spirit of flexibility. If something doesn’t work, change it. But we can no longer run a law firm with the attitude that “you will do it this way because that is how we have always done it.” That simply will not work.
Let me know if you have ideas for how to approach these issues, and I will share them. Be patient with yourself and one another. Good luck!
John Trimble is a senior partner and firm General Counsel at Lewis Wagner in Indianapolis, IN. He can be reached at

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