Law Firm of the Year Finalist 2021: Cozen O’Connor

Michael Heller, CEO and Chairman

The legal landscape of 2021 is very different from what it was at the beginning of 2020. What is one of the biggest challenges facing law firms today?

Over the past year we’ve learned that a lot of work can be done remotely, and that working remotely has some really big benefits (besides safety). For example, it is expensive to fly a New York-based employee to Denver just to observe a training hearing or testimony. But since every meeting was virtual, it was easy to get staff involved in hearings and statements, and that was excellent training for them. However, staying in a remote work environment after a pandemic would mean a loss of personal interaction, training and mentoring opportunities, which are also crucial for employee development. So one challenge is figuring out how to take the lessons we learned from the past year and apply them to the return to a new normal.

Conversely, name one possibility that law firms are offered in the current situation.

The climate for many of our customers is still very challenging – and they will remember who was there for them during these difficult times. They will remember who answered their panicked calls at 3 a.m. to explain the details of the latest relief law or if they can request a vaccination from staff. A crisis is always an opportunity for lawyers to deepen their long-term client relationships.

In 50 words or less, what does the legal profession need to do to prepare the next generation of lawyers?

This next generation of lawyers is a strong social advocate, and law firms need to do more to demonstrate their commitment to the issues that young lawyers care about, from climate change and the environment to racial justice and justice.

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