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Johnny Cash sang a prayer: “Hard times, hard times, come again no more. Many days you have lingered all around my cabin door.” These days many lawyers may be sharing that prayer as the real estate market falters, the automobile manufacturers order gallons of red ink and the economy lurches toward recession.
In the spirit of never raising a problem without also suggesting possible solutions, we present this issue devoted to not just surviving, but rather thriving in a downturn. We confront the typical survival strategies—and look for solutions that don’t involve circling the partnership wagons, decimating staff and younger lawyers, cutting your marketing budget or looking for merger opportunities, all in the vain hope that this will be a silver bullet. Moderate stress forces living organizations to change and grow stronger; a moderate recession can teach a law firm to do well in hard times and then to soar with the updrafts when the economy improves. We look at why you should be team-building, opening the lines of communication with lawyers and staff and seeking to become a stronger, more adaptive and better organization as a result.
As always, this issue is a collective result of our great editorial team, writers and others who have risen to the challenge of shaping an issue around a topic that was not on our original editorial calendar. I owe a huge debt of thanks to them all-—particularly to Ed Flitton, who not only delivered our cover story, but who organized and lead the issue’s roundtable. I hope we have provided you with real tips to help ensure that hard times don’t visit your door!
This is my last issue as Editor-in-Chief of Law Practice magazine. I wish to say thanks to the entire editorial team, the Law Practice Editorial Board, our columnists and authors, the Edge Award Article Review Board, the ABA Law Practice Management Section staff and the LPM Section’s Executive Board, which has given me the unbelievable opportunity to lead this world-class publication. As Abba said: “So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me....” The magazine will now be lead by my good friend and colleague Dan Pinnington. I know he will continue the legacy of the magazine and take it in new and exciting directions.