July/August 2020

Perspectives

Making “Big Ideas” Into “Big Reality”

Rodney Dowell

As the nation and the legal community responded to the pandemic crisis, we saw that law firms—from solo to the largest firms—were forced to transition from planning for the next big idea that would drive new revenue to simply striving to implement remote work and, for many solo and small firms, scrambling to think about how to survive. The Law Practice Division and the ABA were there to help. This Division expanded its Disaster Resource section to include COVID-19 resources, and I could not be prouder of the efforts of the individuals who ensured that we had those resources in place for our members.

As I write this, I am hopeful that by the date of publication we are beyond the worst of the crisis and that we can now move forward to resurrect our law firms and begin anew to think of big ideas. In the spirit of optimism, I want to share my thoughts on implementing the next big idea for your firm.

I believe that every organization, including this Division, should strive to identify and implement “big ideas” that, even if not transformative, at least make a significant and lasting change. I recognize that organizations tend toward inertia, especially if the organization is successful and not subject to immediately identifiable significant challenges. Where an organization is successful, there is often little interest in recognizing existing and future challenges. Taking action to overcome that type of inertia requires either a leader with such a force of personality that she can move through the organizational inertia or a leader who takes steps to develop team ownership of the big idea so that it is not “my big idea,” but “our big idea.”

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