Keep the Change: The Worst Enemy of Law Firm Change Management is Inertia

Law firms cite to a lot of things, like cases.  But, when it comes to modernizing business management tactics, law firms cite traditional barriers, like cost and effort.  Law firm culture is a static one, embracing of the status quo, at all costs.  If you’re a lawyer, you’re probably willing to remain on the Titanic, as it recedes below the water line, because jumping into a life boat seems like a significant and uncomfortable change.  You’re convinced that the ship can be righted, right up until the bitter end; and so, you ride your server down to the ocean floor.

Part of the problem is that lawyers tend to ignore business management issues until they can’t anymore.  And, even when obvious and solvable problems arise, lawyers still stick their heads in the sand.  It’s easy to convince yourself that it’s easier to do nothing, while your business falls apart.

In law school, lawyers are taught to be reactive problem solvers; and, they never forget that.  That’s a perfectly serviceable approach when clients are coming to you with problems — that’s how it’s supposed to work.  But, that’s a big problem when you’re trying to manage a business.  Being reactive, being responsive to emergencies, that’s a flammable mix in the business management environment.  As a business manager, your object is to be forward thinking.  Your goal is to try to identify trends, and act on them.  Your strategy is to be proactive, to respond to potential problems before they become kinetic problems.

It’s tough to fight inertia in the law firm environment, especially when, on a practical level, it’s easier to just ignore a software upgrade because veteran secretary Bernice is just not that into it.  But, when the screws begin to fall off, it’s tough to patch things up in the air.

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If you feel like your law firm is managing you, it’s time to build a proactive business plan, to shake yourself out of the doldrums — and, we can help.

The Wyoming State Bar offers free law practice management consulting services through Red Cave Law Firm Consulting.  To request a consult, visit the Wyoming State Bar’s law practice management page, and start running your law firm like a business.

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