Two senior Chaffetz Lindsey partners share some thoughts on operating a business during a financial crisis. This page: Thoughts from Charlie Scibetta, Chaffetz Lindsey Managing Partner. Previous page: Form Your Crisis Team and Strategy. (Sandy Litvack, former General Counsel, Chief of Corporate Operations at the Walt Disney Company)
A Crisis Can Drive Innovation and Opportunity.
During the subprime crisis of the late 2000s, premier law firms faced severe demand contraction as the economy seized. Hoping to emerge from that crisis somewhat smaller, but otherwise not much different from the way they went in, they laid off attorneys and staff and cut other costs. We thought differently.
As partners in a leading global law firm, we faced conflicts of interest and a high cost structure that impeded our ability to serve our clients when they needed us most. We did not want to emerge from the downturn only to face the same obstacles.
So, while other businesses hunkered down and cut their teams, we leaned in and started a new disputes boutique. Our founding team was, in essence, our “crisis response team.” That team included our founding partners, our in-house IT and operations manager, and our outside marketing and branding advisors and other consultants. We took advantage of affordable real estate options. We created jobs while others were shedding them. Most importantly, we built a firm that was far better suited to serve our clients, in good economies and bad.
Now, in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, we will face challenges, but we stand even more prepared than we were as a brand new business in 2009 to lean into them. As an established firm, we do not have the administrative burden of building a new business. We are focused 100% on helping our clients. And as we do that, we continue to learn from the lessons we are presented. Like many others, we already are improving client service and value through even more robust use of remote working procedures.
Finally, we do not for one second take for granted the good fortune of being able to operate our business, serve our clients, and keep our lawyers and staff employed and safe during this crisis. We know that others are hit much harder, and we know that because we are still able to work we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to help our community through this. We will take a leadership role in that effort.
— Charlie Scibetta, Founding and Managing Partner, Chaffetz Lindsey
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