As we approach Level 3 in NZ next week, it still feels a bit surreal!  In speaking with hundreds of people in the legal industry (employers and employees) - there’s been plenty of nerves, much uncertainty and challenge ahead but there’s also plenty of good news!  

Here’s some high-level takeaways and observations from my conversations during COVID-19 lockdown:

 

  • It’s been so refreshing to see the legal profession be so visible and collegial with shared info hubs, news, and insights.  Thought leadership is, and will always be, critical in such uncertain times, and means a lot to future hires. They are all observing who is helping and contributing during this time.  

 

  • Partners are (not surprisingly) talking about significant workflow increases across employment matters, commercial property (rent and development issues), and restructuring. They are in holding patterns right now, but are ready to support their clients when needed.

 

  • Off-shore Kiwi lawyers aren’t flooding home to NZ (yet) - but I’m having loads of conversations with them and NZ is in their plans.  They’re going to be selective about which particular firms, and teams within firms, they’ll consider joining.  

 

  • Working from home is still a bizarre concept for many, many NZ firms - some have had to rush out and buy a load of laptops and screens just to get WFH functional!  On this front, make sure you are regularly checking in with your team members and support them through this (especially your juniors and anyone new to the firm!). 

 

  • Finally, those lawyers who aren’t just technically great but also bring a strategic and commercial lense to their practice are really going to excel in the coming months.  It’s going to take a lot of grit, relationship management, and business nous to get some clients through these next few months, but without a doubt - there is lots of opportunity in the legal space as we move forward.

 

Despite the circumstances, I’m enjoying connecting with more in the legal industry than ever before.  If you’d like to reach out to gain some more market insights - please drop me an email at mcgregor@consult.co.nz with your number and I’ll be in touch.

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