What Leadership Looks Like in the Law Industry

Written by Fatima Freifer
Written by Fatima Freifer


case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdomcase management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom


Today’s legal professionals are faced with complex challenges, rapid change and shifting expectations. As a result, they must be equipped with the right skills to lead their teams and drive performance. But what does leadership look like in the legal industry? [1]

The legal industry is dynamic and complex. Even so, many people still see it as a place where lawyers spend their days in front of a screen doing research or reading contracts. But the truth is that working in law is challenging and exciting at the same time. Lawyers need to be extremely knowledgeable about their subject matter, have excellent communication skills and above all else, remain calm under pressure. A successful lawyer has to be able to lead their team, communicate with clients, manage time efficiently and much more, which is aided by using leading legal software. [2]

The Importance of Being an Effective Leader

Leading a law firm can be a rewarding experience. However, it requires a lot of effort, time and dedication to succeed. Leaders in the law industry set clear goals and expectations for their teams. They inspire their people, letting them know what is expected of them, and providing them with the resources they need to succeed, such as lawyer practice management software. They are transparent and honest, letting their people know when they are doing a good job and when there is room for improvement. They also hold themselves and their teams accountable for results. [3] They are focused on achieving outcomes, rather than the short-term wins. They understand that the best way to achieve their long-term goals is to take action in the short-term. This includes taking risks. Risk taking is important for leaders. It shows their team that they are prepared to try new things and do what is necessary to succeed. Being a good leader means being fair, transparent and consistent. It means being focused on achieving results for your team, as well as for the organisation as a whole. It means inspiring trust and respect from your team, as well as the people you work with. [4]

Being a leader in the legal industry can be difficult, but there are certain things that make one stand out from the rest. One of the best ways to show leadership is by being clear about your vision for the organisation. It is necessary to show willingness to take risks and undertake big developments when necessary. This can help one gain trust and respect from other lawyers, which will make it easier for them to follow the lead.[5]

Challenges new leaders face

Legal leaders face a number of unique challenges in the industry. [6] As the legal industry continues its rapid growth, the demands on leaders continue to increase as well. To succeed in this environment, leaders must be able to adapt and maintain focus. Here are three key challenges they face:

The legal community is a highly competitive environment, with an average starting salary of only $60,000. [7] Also, lawyers often work long hours and face an unpredictable schedule which can lead to lawyer burnout. Legal leaders must be willing to put in long hours, as well as deal with the emotional stress of dealing with contentious cases. In addition to these challenges, legal leaders also face other unique challenges. [8] For example, legal leaders must be able to balance their personal and professional lives, as well as deal with the emotional stress of dealing with contentious cases, which is why law office case management software is an essential tool to ease any legal burdens. Finally, legal leaders must have strong writing skills, as well as the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

There are also other trends that leaders need to be aware of when running a law firm. The first is the rise in automation technology. Automation tools allow lawyers to do many tasks that used to require a lot of manual work, freeing up time for both lawyers and non-lawyers. Another trend is the need for more collaboration between different functions within a law firm—for example, between attorneys and paralegals or accountants. Finally, there is a growing need to hire diverse talent across all levels of the organisation.[9]

6 Traits that Make Someone a Perfect Law Firm Leader

Becoming an effective manager in a law firm requires effort and time. While it does not occur overnight, it is good to know that one can develop these six traits to become a good law firm leader:

Strong Vision – It is essential to have a strong vision for your team, and the ability to create a compelling vision for your organisation. A vision is something that inspires people to take action. It gives people something to strive towards and helps them to see a brighter future. This is one of the most important traits in an effective leader.

Strong Communication Skills – Communication is key to effective leadership. You need to be able to communicate your vision to your team in a way that inspires them to follow you and achieve your goals. You need to be able to communicate with the people you work with, including clients and senior management.

Strong Emotional Intelligence – Emotional intelligence is not just about being able to control your own emotions. It is about being able to read the emotions of others. It is about being able to identify someone’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they feel by the way they communicate with you.

Strong Resilience –As a leader, you need to be able to admit when you are wrong and learn from your mistakes. You need to be able to navigate through challenges without letting them break you.

Strong Drive to Succeed – Leadership is about more than just inspiring others to achieve. It is about achieving your own goals as well. You need to have a strong drive to succeed, and a burning desire to help your team achieve their goals. [10]


Lawyers play an important role in shaping an organisation’s direction and results, and therefore leadership is imperative. Leadership is a learned ability, and every lawyer can improve their leadership abilities by taking education, training, leadership development programmes, self-reflection, and practice. To support the construction of a versatile, adaptable, and nimble leader who can assess issues and respond accordingly, we must have a broad understanding of leadership effectiveness and an expanded perspective on leadership theories, competencies, and styles.


[1] Leadership in Law Firms: An Expert Guide, Daniel Smallwood, April 2020, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-law-firms-expert-guide-daniel-smallwood

[2] Law 3.0: the challenges facing legal leadership

By Susan Hackett, https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/articles/law-3-0-the-challenges-facing-legal-leadership

[3] 6 New Leadership Literacies Lawyers Must Build

Paula Davis https://www.forbes.com/sites/pauladavislaack/2018/02/22/6-new-leadership-literacies-lawyers-must-build/

[4] The Main Challenges UK Law Firms Can Expect In 2022, Fatima Freifer https://goodlawsoftware.co.uk/business-management/the-main-challenges-uk-law-firms-can-expect-in-2022/

[5] Competition Within The Legal Industry, Fatima Freifer, https://goodlawsoftware.co.uk/business-management/competition-within-the-legal-industry/

[6] The Prevalence of Impostor Syndrome in the Legal Profession, Fatima Freifer, https://goodlawsoftware.co.uk/business-management/the-prevalence-of-impostor-syndrome-in-the-legal-profession/

[7] Ten challenges facing the legal profession this year, Darren Gower https://www.lpmmag.co.uk/blog/ten-challenges-facing-the-legal-profession-this-year/

[8] The Greatest Legal Sector Challenges (and Opportunities) 2020-2030 https://www.moorelegaltechnology.co.uk/insights/business-innovation-for-lawyers/the-greatest-legal-sector-challenges-and-opportunities-2017-2027.html


[9] Eight Leadership Skills You Need for your Law Firm to Excel, Erika Winston

[10] 5 leadership skills you need to know in the law industry, Debbie H 13 Mar 2019,


case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdomcase management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom

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