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Are law firms more sophisticated than we give them credit for?

Given the many changes to the legal industry in recent years, it's become somewhat fashionable to question the business savvy of the people leading traditional law firms. But my experience is that this thinking misses the point - at least in the main.

It's true that law firms are going through a period of transformation like no other. And it's also true that, against this backdrop, they have challenges that other businesses don't. For instance, unlike law firms, normal corporations don't need to deal with the politics and personalities that are the natural byproduct of a business built on personal skill and knowledge and a structure that relies multiple business owners.

However, most senior lawyers I deal with are smart business people in their own right who have the added benefit of having been up close and personal with the businesses of many successful clients.

So, despite common perceptions, most law firm leaders usually only make strategic business decisions after rigorous analysis and scenario modelling. They certainly don't rely on good old gut feel or knee-jerk reaction.

That's the point I was trying to get across when I spoke to the Australian Financial Review recently about whether or not law firms would choose to go through with listing on the ASX given recent challenges to the legal industry. 

You can read the full article here.