Given the initial consolidation achieved almost everywhere after the outbreak of the pandemic and the massive restrictions linked to the lockdown, we believe that it is now time to think about the next stage of crisis management and future growth. This should aim at:
The Corona crisis can essentially be seen as a catalyst and accelerator for long-standing trends:
Being a leader in a law firm means actively dealing with these questions  and first of all understanding the time frame in which reactions and adjustments have to take place. Key milestones mark the transitions between short, medium, and long-term measures:
Against this backdrop, this article examines the short-term measures to be taken until the end of the domestic lockdown in terms of
 We recommend Chris Zook ‘Profit from the Core’, Harvard Business Review, 2010
Crises are an opportunity to intensify the relationship with strategically relevant clients of the firm and for partners to establish themselves as the central trusted advisor against the competition.
The basis for this is,
Often partners do not understand these challenges in their entirety and with enough level of detail. Very few law firms have aggregated them and focussed their range of services and advisory approach on them. However, this knowledge is essential for a law firm’s ability to adapt and learn in order to emerge from this crisis stronger than before.
The entrepreneurial challenges will lead to a need for advice in the areas of finance, regulatory, litigation, corporate, labour and especially restructuring/insolvency. As many clients operate in an international environment, we feel firms should also consider their capabilities in trade law related matters – a relevant area given changing trade relations, which is to a certain extent standardized, but in other areas also offers opportunities for high-margin work.
Regarding clients, we recommend as a short-term measure to carry out a portfolio analysis to identify and consider in more detail the strategic clients who account for approx. 80 percent of the firm’s turnover.
The positioning of a law firm determines what the firm stands for and how it differs from its competitors, particularly regarding the following aspects:
In the short term, we feel it is important for firms to consider the market relevance of their positioning – even if the resulting consequences, adjustments, and related communication requirements may need to be tackled longer term:
the law firm has an unclear positioning, i.e. it serves many target groups that
differ in expectations and needs (and thus usually also in pricing and margin),
the partners should develop a focused, sustainable positioning, because otherwise,
and especially in times of crisis, they can only differentiate themselves on
price – which only works if all processes are consistently trimmed for cost
 Here, too, we recommend reading ‘Profit from the Core’.
The focus here is on ensuring organisational stability (resilience) and financial management.
We assume that in the coming months, after an initial easing of the lockdown, we might experience varying restrictions, possibly even up to a renewed lockdown.
Regarding the organization of a law firm, we therefore recommend the following short-term measures:
-To define two modi operandi of the firm:
In times of crisis, when people within the firm often work in isolation, one of the central leadership tasks of the firm’s management /practice group leaders / all partners is to provide reassurance and orientation to counter fears and to ensure internal cohesion and organisational coherence.
We therefore recommend the following short-term measures in this area:
In our next article we will present our thoughts on medium-term measures – again with reference to clients, positioning & strategy, and firm organization & leadership.
Stay tuned, stay healthy!