September/October 2020

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The Next Normal—Don't Fall Back

Catherine Sanders Reach

During the Great Recession of 2008, many articles were published about the “the new normal.” They focused on law firms’ need to make changes to be more flexible and client focused. The topics included better financial management, alternative billing practices, adopting project management and streamlining processes for efficiency in response to the economic downturn and its effects. However, when the economy stabilized, many firms went back to the old ways of doing things. Today the new normal facing law firms is the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic upheaval. Firms have pivoted to adopt technology to deliver remote services. They have reviewed and revised policies, budgets and procedures. They embraced, or at least accepted, working from home. Instead of characterizing this shift as a new normal, law firms should instead view it as the “next normal.” There will be more new normal environments, so preparation for the next normal would help frame a mindset of constant iteration and improvement, adopting and adapting to change as it is thrust upon us. What are your next steps to prepare for the next normal?

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