44 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | FEB 2022 EMBRACING THE FUTURE OF THE LAW FIRM Over the last couple of years, the business world has had to adapt to a brand new way of working, and the legal sector is no different. For most law firms, this has meant accelerating plans for remote working and improving flexibility, but we are missing a trick if we fail to capitalise on the additional opportunities this now presents. Embracing technology One of the main challenges at the start of the pandemic was the acceleration of digital agendas. Depending on the size of the business, this could have meant getting hundreds, even thousands, of employees working remotely within days. While some firms already had remote working in place, enabling the entirety of their business to work from home without issue, not all would have had the resources secured and ready to go. With the sensitive nature of the legal sector, it was not just purchasing and distributing the equipment that was a challenge. Behavioural habits needed to change too. Many lawyers were still largely paper-based with physical files, and even when firms had navigated their own processes, courts and clients were not always able to meet them on the same digital platforms. Cybersecurity also played an important role Embracing the Future of the Law Firm Sarah Walker-Smith CEO, Shakespeare Martineau 60 Gracechurch St, London EC3V 0HR Tel: +44 0121 237 3013 E: email@example.com www.shma.co.uk In spite of the uncertainties that firms were forced to contend with throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the legal sector has emerged with a clear path towards future growth. Lawyer Monthly hears from Shakespeare Martineau CEO Sarah Walker-Smith on the outcomes of the pandemic and how adaptable law firms can seize the opportunity to ready themselves for the future. Sarah Walker-Smith is the CEO of law firm Shakespeare Martineau and professional services group Ampa. She was the first female non-lawyer CEO in the legal top 50 and was recently named as the UK’s most influential legal leader on social media. Sarah is also a governor at Nottingham Trent University, a member of the Society of Leadership Fellows at St George’s House and is on the board of the West Midlands CBI Council, as well as non-exec chair of Radikl, a scale-up business supporting female entrepreneurs’ growth and success to investment funds. Shakespeare Martineau is a full-service UK law firm with more than 900 staff across its offices in Sheffield, Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes, Stratford-upon-Avon, Solihull and Glasgow. The firm provides legal services to companies, organisations, government departments, families and individuals in life and in business. There is no such thing as B2B; P2P (people to people) is even more relevant now than it was before the events of the last two years.