Managing Legal Change Initiatives

Managing Legal Change Initiatives highlights the best methods of introducing and managing change in a sector that is known for being averse to it. 

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  • Publication date: September, 2017
  • Pages: 103
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-300-3


Successfully managing a change initiative is no simple feat, regardless of the size of the firm – distilling the process of change into a workforce takes careful planning and support. Change is stressful and difficult for people to process and accept, as we often cling to what we know. This is especially true of lawyers, who are notoriously averse to change.

However, the legal sector has begun to rapidly transform – and the firms that don’t change with it are going to struggle to stay relevant. In these turbulent times for firms, change initiatives must be properly managed to ensure the whole firm can successfully shift to the new norm and stick to it. Without the proper support and management, a firm runs the risks of alienating their workforce – who will not take well to sudden and imposed change.

Managing Legal Change Initiatives looks to illustrate the best methods of introducing and managing change in a sector that is known for being adverse to it. The book highlights the critical obstacles and pitfalls that law firms will face during transitional periods, and outlines some of the best methods of approaching organizational change; from building a change framework to follow, to encouraging a shift in partner behavior through the compensation strategy. This new book also explores why change is so difficult for individuals – with discussion of the neuroscience behind change, and the role of emotional intelligence in leaders to help garner a transformation. 

With the disruptions to legal services predicted to continue for some time, it will be those firms who adapt, put into place, and act upon a change management strategy that will be the ones capitalize on changes to come.


Chapter 1: Understanding change – Understanding and working with the legal mind

  • Why do many lawyers find change to be so difficult? 
  • Understanding the hurdles to bringing about change 
  • What definitely does not work in introducing change 
  • Developing a sense of urgency that gets partner’s attention 
  • Some approaches that firm leaders have found to be effective
  • Fitting your leadership style to the challenge 

Chapter 2: Becoming change-able – Practical strategies for responding to a fast-changing world

  • The importance of being change-able 
  • The key components of a successful change programme
  • Dealing with rogue elephants and the strategically non-compliant 
  • Adopting Pareto for change
  • Communication is at the core of a successful programme 
  • Winning hearts and minds to create a change-able firm 

Chapter 3: A framework for effective change management 

  • McKinsey 7-S model 
  • Kotter’s eight-step process 
  • A cross-cultural framework 
  • Framework for behavioral change 
  • A change-readiness assessment 
  • Taking the plunge 
  • Appreciative inquiry 
  • Leading the change

Chapter 4: Once an opportunity is identified, what next? Creating and driving an innovation agenda

  • A “stage-gate” approach 
  • The stage-gate process in detail

Chapter 5: Succession planning – Ensuring losing a partner doesn’t mean losing a client

  • What should firms do to start to future-proof themselves?
  • Culture 
  • How to build a succession plan 

Chapter 6: Compensation to reward the right behaviors

  • What are the desired behaviors? 
  • Recognizing the need for a change in determining compensation 
  • Introducing incentives 
  • Compensation systems 
  • Incentivizing behaviors under different systems 
  • Conclusion 

Chapter 7: Changing minds – The neuroscience of change management in law firms 

  • Intentions vs behavior
  • Embracing change 
  • Building relationships
  • Improving learning 
  • Importance of insight
  • Leading change 

Chapter 8: Getting commitment to change 

  • Why people resist change 
  • The assumptions that create resistance 
  • Overcoming resistance to change 
  • Making change stick 
  • Conclusion 

Chapter 9: Strategic approaches to introducing change

  • Why do you think firms find change to be so difficult? 
  • What are some of the more common hurdles you have observed or experienced in bringing about change?
  • What definitely does not work in introducing change? 
  • How do you develop a sense of urgency that gets partners’ attention? 
  • Can you share some approaches that fi rm leaders have found to be effective? 
  • How does one fit their leadership style to the challenge?
Check our Executive Summary and full table of contents here


Patrick J. McKenna
Author, lecturer, strategist and advisor to the leaders of premier law firms
Arthur G. Greene
Principal, Boyer Greene LLC
Dr Bob Murray
Founder and principals of Fortinberry Murray
Andrew Hedley
Andrew Hedley works with the leaders of law firms on issues of vision, strategy, and change. He established Hedley Consulting in 2005 after almost a decade as the business development director of two UK top 20 international law firms. His practice is recognised as a leading boutique strategy consultancy within the legal sector.  Andrew is a recognised expert in the field of law firm mergers. Whilst working within private practice he was a member of a small strategy group tasked with pursuing M&A opportunities which led to the execution of a number of significant mergers as well as numerous early-stage negotiationsand evaluations. He has carried this expertise through to his consultancy practice and now advisesfirms at all stages of the merger process – from creating initial strategy, to candidate firm identification and evaluation, through the full negotiation and business case development process and, finally, postcompletion implementation strategy and delivery.
Neryl East
Neryl East, MA, PhD, is a writer, academic, speaker and communication specialist with extensive experience in both internal and external communication in Australian government, private sector and not-for-profit organisations. Neryl’s specialties include issues management, change management; and integrating new and traditional media. She lectures in public relations and journalism, is in demand as a keynote presenter and trains organisations in many facets of communication including media skills and writing in plain language. In 2010 Neryl was selected as an ambassador for the Year of Women in Local Government, a programme supported by the Australian government. She is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia and the National Speakers Association of Australia. Neryl is the author of Named and Shamed: Rod Oxley’s inside story of the Wollongong corruption scandal and the Ark Group’s Strategic Internal Communications for Complex Organisations report, now in its second edition. Neryl can be contacted via her website.
Duncan Hart
Former barrister and solicitor for more than 20 years. Full-time management consultant. Editor of the second edition of Management of the Australian Law Practice.  Duncan can be contacted via email at
Dr Alicia Fortinberry
Founder and principals of Fortinberry Murray
David J. Parnell
Author, speaker, Forbes and American Lawyer Media columnist, and the founder and principal of True North Partner Management
Carol Mynott
Director at PwC - Professional Services and Global Mobility
Nick Marson
CEO The Parallel Mind Ltd

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