Legal Business Blogs

Sponsored briefing: Challenges in leading law firms – the Cambridge approach

Leading a law firm has always been demanding, but the extent and pace of change engulfing the global legal industry today is undoubtedly taking the challenge to a new level. As a result, leaders of firms are understandably seeking additional guidance and insight as they navigate a complex strategic landscape clouded by unprecedented levels of uncertainty, ambiguity and disruption. The key drivers of these dynamics – which include exponential advances in technology, significant changes in client expectations and buying patterns, and the increasing volume and competitive impact of new entrants and new models – are well documented. The big questions we are now exploring with law firm leaders and partners centre on what this new paradigm means for the traditional law firm business model, strategic decision making, differentiation, organisational structure and agility, the development of talent and the leadership skills needed to deliver fundamental change.

Artificial intelligence and digital transformation are profoundly impacting not only front-line legal services delivery, but also other elements of the law firm value chain, with far-reaching implications for how firms are organised and led. Technology’s growing capacity for the automation of cognition is forcing a major rethink of the nature of expertise and, consequentially, the spectrum of skills lawyers will need in order to continue to be effective. A further crucial question is whether the traditional law firm remains the optimal structure for the intensely competitive environment now emerging, particularly as a stream of new entrants – benefitting from lower barriers to entry, deploying nimbler operating models and accessing long-term investment capital – drives and exploits the continuing trend of disaggregation and commoditisation. Clients are embracing the increased choice, innovation and efficiency that these structural shifts are bringing to legal services, and their growing receptivity to a broadening and segmented supplier base is in itself a further accelerator of change.

‘Leaders and partners can benefit from peer learning, underpinned by guidance and input from our specialist PSF team and wider faculty.’
Matthew Jones, Cambridge Judge Business School

At Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education we are applying our distinctive blend of research-led thinking and practitioner-oriented perspectives to this multidimensional agenda, pairing the research strength of a globally renowned academic institution with the industry-leading expertise and practical insights of our dedicated professional service firms team, informed by substantial, on-the-ground experience in law firm leadership and legal practice. When combined, these elements enable leaders and partners to explore and define the critical success factors for their firms in this new era, including in relation to client-centricity, operational excellence, innovation and digital transformation, as well as what all this means for the firm of the future. Whether it is through our open programmes, or our customised firm engagements, leaders and partners can benefit from peer learning, underpinned by guidance and input from our specialist PSF team and wider faculty of over 70 members, while also finding essential time and space in which to debate, reflect and plan – all in a uniquely inspiring setting.

Matthew Jones, fellow in professional services leadership and strategy, Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education

Using academic excellence to drive business evolution and impact

The Custom Programme offering is aimed at building a programme to meet your firm’s challenge, designed with your input, delivered within your context – solutions that are yours alone. The four-step process incorporates:

a) Diagnostic phase – needs are analysed and assessed jointly.
b) Design methodology – working with you to create the ideal solution.
c) Programme delivery – the combination of formats will be designed to achieve objectives.
d) Evaluation and impact – a key ongoing feature, agile and adept at shifting design and content to reflect and respond to needs.

Our Open Enrolment Programmes are specially designed for law firm partners as individuals to meet the demands of today’s partner role, aimed at balancing client-facing work with the activities and responsibilities of a leader, helping law firm partners to be more effective at both firm and practice level. They cover topics including strategy, people management, client service, innovation and digital transformation.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of these professional service firm programmes and how they can benefit you for your organisation, or simply wish to receive our regular and informative newsletter, please get in touch:

Stacey Clifford, business development director, Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education

T: 01223 339605

Cambridge Judge Business School