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Law firms may not be 'fit for the future'

‘We are all facing our Kodak moments’, says Martin Darroch 

22 November 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Law firms that do not adapt to disruptions in the market may not be “fit for the future”, Martin Darroch has said.

The CEO of Harper Macleod said that there are lessons for law firms from Kodak’s failure to embrace digital photography in the 1990s.

“We are all facing our Kodak moments,” said Darroch at Managing Partner’s seventh Remuneration and Career Management Strategies for Law Firms conference yesterday.

“We all have legacy businesses, but the question is whether they are fit for the future.”

A balance needs to be struck between short and long-term change, along with the speed of change, he said.

“We can’t trade in culture like a bashed up car,” he said. “Culture evolves and people evolve and clients evolve, so controlled development is needed.”

The key to making cultural change is to match strategy with firm culture, he said.

Law firms should focus on “a few critical shifts in behaviour”, said Darroch. “Major shifts can be very challenging; small changes can have a major impact on the business.”

He noted that it is important to honour the strengths of the firm’s existing culture and to integrate formal and informal interventions.

Firms should then measure and monitor cultural progress, he said, with partners leading by example.

“If the firm’s leaders don’t do it or show it, why should anyone else in the business do it?”


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