Viral Change: The Evolution of Law Firms in a Post-COVID-19 World

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Recorded On: 10/21/2020

Join us as we share a popular session from ALA Today: The Virtual Conference. Observers of the profession have long noticed that law firms talk a lot about change but that most real change only takes place around a major financial downturn. And the COVID-19 pandemic has created a severe financial crisis for many (but not all) segments of the profession. While the pandemic is prompting many firms to make several short-term changes — salary reductions, layoffs, lawyers working in shifts to reduce crowding, even the construction of “sneeze guards” — those may prove to be the easy changes. This program will focus on the mid- and long-term changes we are likely to see impacting law firms — increasing incursion and success of non-law firm competitors, increasing segmentation, less associate leverage, moderation of associate salaries, increased partner capital. 


  • Recognize how the short-term decisions made as a result of COVID-19 are going to affect the mid- and long-term decisions. 
  • Predict the mid- and long-term changes that are likely to impact the legal profession. 
  • Explain why these trends will accelerate now and how law firms can adapt to them. 
  • Identify the client priorities that are motivating these trends. 

Educational Category: Legal Industry/Business Management 

60 Minutes 

Audience Level: Intermediate 

CLM App Management Category for Functional Specialists: Legal Industry/Business Management 

CLM Recertification Eligible: Yes 

CLE: Participatory Credit 

CPE Field of Study: Business Management & Organization 

CPE Credit Eligible: 1 

CPE Prerequisites: None 

CPE Advanced Preparation: None

Blane Prescott

Blane Prescott is a Consultant and the Managing Shareholder of MesaFive, LLC, a strategy and management consulting firm based in San Francisco. Prescott works with clients on a wide variety of management and strategy issues, including merger negotiations and assessments, partner compensation, economics, growth and restructuring. He is the author of more than 60 articles on law firm issues and was a Partner and Consultant with Hildebrandt International for more than 20 years. Additionally, he's served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of large law firms based in the United States.

Judy Hissong

Judith Hissong, CLM, PCC, is the President of Nesso Strategies and Founder of the Legal Leadership Institute. Nesso is the Italian word for connection, and connecting strategies is Hissong's passion. Her financial background pairs with her athletic mindset and her executive coach training as she partners with law firm professionals for strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, team building and training in conflict and communication skills. She has more than a decade of law firm leadership experience, giving her an insider's understanding of the complexities of the business of law. Hissong also serves on the ALA Board of Directors.


Recorded 10/21/2020
Recorded 10/21/2020