46 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | FEB 2022 EMBRACING THE FUTURE OF THE LAW FIRM strength will come from the core values that are weaved throughout. Trust and collaboration have become particularly important over the last couple of years, so ensuring these values are part of the firm’s long-term plans is essential. Sustainability is another priority that many people have rightly started to focus on. Remote working has enabled many companies to lower their carbon footprint, with reduced commutes and consumables like power and paper, and less travelling to see clients. Sustainability must remain at the top of the agenda, enabling firms to build on the progress they have already made. Not only will this help the environment, but it will also resonate with a growing number of their people. It is no use simply talking about sustainability; action must be taken, whether that is through the creation of green initiatives or by taking the next step up and seeking B Corp status to hold themselves accountable, as we are doing. There also needs to be a change in the legal sector’s approach to profit. Longterm success has to be the goal. Firms often obsess over the simple annual figure of profit per equity partner (PEP). When investing in a business’s future, profits could take a hit for a short period of time. We need to find a more balanced set of measures which incentivise both short and long-term considerations, creating sustainable value. Not only will this benefit the business, but also clients, investors and local communities. Leading the charge Effective leadership is core to all of these changes. For too long, leaders in the legal sector have been invisible to the majority of employees. Simply being a figurehead is no longer enough; teams must be able to see that the person in charge cares about the future of the firm. Listening is a key part of this, so leaders should consider how they can ensure every voice is heard, from top to bottom. The creation of a shadow board, reverse mentors and frequent surveys are just some of the ways to bring people together over ideas and strategy, leading to positive change for all. Undoubtedly, there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome to successfully continue to transform our sector. First of all is the fact that change takes time to get right. Firms must be willing to continuously improve their processes through constant review, addressing any issues that arise. Getting feedback from its people is essential to this, as they are the ones who are experiencing the changes most. Being willing to adapt ensures team members are not left behind during the transformation process. Remote working in particular has raised concerns around collaboration, with some people in the office and others at home. It could be easy to forget to include those at home in discussions that can happen around For too long, leaders in the legal sector have been invisible to the majority of employees.