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How BigLaw firms can ensure longevity

One BigLaw managing partner anticipated the biggest challenges of the coming decade and gave advice on assuring the ongoing success of such practices. 

user iconJess Feyder 17 April 2023 Big Law
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Nick Nichola, managing partner Australia at K&L Gates, spoke to Lawyers Weekly on the topic.

“Talent is the biggest driver of success at a law firm,” he outlined. “Our people are our greatest resource, and to continue to grow and provide the highest level of client service means attracting outstanding legal talent, developing them and then retaining them.”

“There are many alternative career paths for lawyers today other than partnership; therefore, to ensure renewal at the highest levels of your firm, you must focus on investing in the development of people as this will dictate whether you continue to retain your talent and grow as a firm,” he outlined.


“The importance of structured programs, mentoring and sponsorship aligned to career levels will be critical.”

Mr Nichola noted the other big change he sees coming over the next decade is centred on the influence of technology.

“The rapid development of technology is putting a strain on lawmakers to keep up with the advancements,” Mr Nichola outlined.

“For law firms, the question will be how we understand emerging technology so we can both advise our clients on its best use and also use that same technology to improve the efficiency of our services.”

Mr Nichola gave advice for assuring the longevity of a firm.

“I can only talk about what we have done at K&L Gates to ensure the continuing success of the firm,” he said. “Every firm has different circumstances to contend with, and I will leave it to them to decide how to best navigate that.”

“Our approach has been that you cannot sit still,” Mr Nichola commented. “Longevity comes from looking ahead and being prepared to adapt to the changes affecting our industry.”

“Expecting to keep doing what you have always done and continue to thrive is not an option.”

Mr Nichola continued: “Firms need to look for better ways of delivering practical advice and stellar service to clients.”

“Innovation will be a key driver [of] the firm’s success.” 

K&L Gates has recently appointed its first director of practice innovation based in the United States.

“The role was filled by the co-chair of the Australian innovation committee, Carolyn Austin, who relocated to the US to lead this critical future-facing function. 

“In this role, Carolyn will have the global opportunity to build on the outstanding work she has already done with the Australian innovation committee and as a member of the firm’s global innovation committee,” Mr Nichola noted.

“Working within a global platform has emphasised the importance of diversity and inclusion.”

“We need diversity in all its forms to drive the highest levels of client service and inclusiveness in our Australian offices.”