The future of leadership

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Call to action for best and brightest

Only time will tell whether young environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s stinging words of “How dare you!”, delivered to the UN with such vehemence, will have succeeded in hammering home her message on climate change. Her powerful words also evoke the ponderance of a Chinese saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

India Business Law Journal Oct 2019Both are calls to action, yet the latter could well apply to the legal community in the context of law firms and the leaders who drive them forward. Securing the future requires leaders to act now, if they haven’t already done so, and meeting the challenges head on is the only way forward.

One such challenge relates to succession planning in law firms in India, where clients often overwhelmingly identify law firms with the leaders who run them, and the fortunes of legions of lawyers can depend on the well-being and standing of a celebrity managing partner or promoter family. As detailed in this month’s Cover story the presence of these larger-than-life individuals, who are invaluable as rainmakers, can be a challenge for succession planning. As Chetan Chopra, legal head at United Breweries, says, the reality is that senior lawyers want to be “the face and main showstopper on a deal, while their associates hide in the background”.

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