It might be winter outside but who needs to go out when The Good Wife is back on TV! The current series focuses on Carrie Agos, managing partner of Florrick, Agos & Lockhart, being accused of conspiracy. The story shows how this crisis affects the lives of his co-managing partners Alicia Florrick and Diane Lockhart, the reputation of their fledgling law firm and their struggle to maintain the loyalty of their clients.
While it is not inconceivable that such a situation could occur to the managing partner of a law firm in Israel, the challenge this holds is not exclusive to this specific situation. In fact, any crisis to a partnership can raise similar issues. Such examples could be a partner leaving to set up their own firm, a team of lawyers moving to a competitor firm, or even a tragic accident or death of a senior partner.
There is no question that these are all sensitive situations that require coordination between the management of the firm, PR consultants and legal marketing and business development advisors. But as with any crisis management, if handled correctly, the detrimental effect on the firm and its clients can be limited.
The most important first step is to have a consistent message which is first communicated internally to the whole firm and is then communicated externally as a press release, or via personal calls to the relevant clients, depending on what is appropriate.
Although lateral hires of partners is currently uncommon in Israel, this is likely to change in the future as competition between the top 20 firms grows significantly. Furthermore, many Israeli law firms rely on the reputation of one “key” partner within a practice area, which is not a sustainable situation if something happens to that partner. Even though it is true that clients typically hire lawyers and not law firms, that does not mean that firm clients will not stay with the firm even if their main contact leaves. It all depends on how the situation is handled.
For more advice on how to handle crisis situations in your firm and their effect on your business development, please contact Deborah Kandel, firstname.lastname@example.org.