Somaya Ouazzani, CEO & founder of Mimoza Fleur, discusses how the legal industry has benefited from the pandemic, in Edward Fennell’s Legal Diary.
The legal industry has been one of the few industries that has partly benefited from the pandemic. Many of the cuts, furloughs and redundancies we saw last year were precautionary as opposed to necessary.
The slick and smart firms have exploited the situation to capitalise on strategic lateral hires in the form of partners and senior associates. A lot of the legal industries national law firms lost nervous teams to firms with strong buying power – American firms played this well, as did the likes of Stewarts, Taylor Wessing and Howard Kennedy.
Firms have become more prepared to offer partners greater control over their personal lives and more autonomy in their careers. So, providing fee earners are billing well, consistently and originating their own work, they can essentially wrangle for whatever it is that’s important to them. This has revolutionised the legal industry and will hopefully help to improve diversity and inclusivity.
Senior non-partner lawyers have also done well out of this. They’ve been able to leverage their experience and relative affordability to secure day 1 partner roles sooner than they might have at their existing firms.
Media, sports and private wealth are hot areas right now. Attracting more affordable senior non-partners (with fertile and well cultivated networks) is a strategy a lot of my clients are wanting to deploy having seen it work in other sectors for a diverse range of firms including Hogan Lovells, Payne Hicks Beach, and Kirkland & Ellis.
Ultimately, the legal industry has weathered this very aggressive Covid storm extremely well. Those firms with forward thinking, ambitious mind sets have fared the best, as have those with healthy cash reserves, good cash collections and sophisticated non legal operational input and frameworks. The shorter sighted firms resisted advice against losing support staff, the outcome of which is overstretched fee earners. Others gave up their premises or massively downsized prematurely.
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