Do you hear the birds sing?

D&I Quarterly Q1/2020

Posted on

26 Mar

2020

D&I Quarterly

D&I Quarterly Q1/2020 brings together a selection of our experts’ articles published on our digital magazine Quarterly and here on D&I Insight.

For this Quarterly, we have put together the most current insight on the legal implications of the coronavirus outbreak. We hope that you will find these articles useful. Please be informed that all coronavirus –related articles will be regularly updated in our D&I Hub for COVID-19.

Dittmar & Indrenius > Insight > Do you hear the birds sing?

When given the alternative, we typically resort to doing things just like before.

Even the best of intentions are poor indicators of our future actions. Threats to old structures may make us feel uneasy. Such is the human brain. We have a tendency to prefer the systems that bring a sense of reliability and familiarity to our lives.

Had you asked me two weeks ago for reasons to switch full on to Plan D (all gadgets and tools in use in all client engagements) I would have talked about speed, efficiency and transparency combined with a sense of tailoring, active listening and frequent interaction. I might have even thrown in my view on the role of digitalisation in reducing the carbon footprint of lawyering.

Painting a picture of a crisis in which a pandemic is triggering global recession, our clients’ businesses are experiencing serious disturbances, and
people everywhere are not only encouraged to practice social distancing but prohibited from travelling and meetings and even from having printed documents delivered to them by hand, because the person carrying the papers might also be carrying COVID-19? Unimaginable.

The word “crisis” comes from the Greek κρίσις – krisis, originally referring to an unstable situation, a testing time, in which the outcome may
be worse or better depending on our actions. Throughout history, people have survived crisis and been capable of adapting to a changed set of
circumstances. Even the most overwhelming breakdowns may result in breakthroughs but first, a sense of normalcy and stability needs to be
established. Under these exceptional circumstances, safeguarding the clients’ business continuity is our first priority. Understanding our clients’ realities and helping their businesses forward through analysing alternatives and fiding new opportunities is the key. Being able to deliver our services remotely, with the same attention and quality as always before, comes as a good second.

At D&I, we have been working for the best in kind customer experience and modern service delivery for 121 years. During the last couple of years, we
have received more top-rankings in Chambers and IFLR than ever before, with praising client quotes for our business understanding. Most recently, we ranked TOP 3 in key customer experience –categories in the Prospera Law Firm Review 2020, the annual survey for the largest purchasers of legal
services in Finland. In “Client Understanding” and “Forefront of Digitalisation”, we ranked #1. We ourselves like to think that these recognitions stem
from our strong culture of collaboration in which the client is in the centre stage, part of the team. On a more practical note, we believe in our daily routines relating to our D&I Powerhouse service method.

Sometimes routines prevent innovation. Focus is required when creating new habits – crisis or not! Loosely quoting a Finnish futurist, inventor and author Perttu Pölönen: when we focus on where we can be better and more valuable than the dreaded machine, when we focus on what will not (presumably) change, we may make it. The things we focus on will get better. The good gets better.

They say that without the noise in Wuhan, you could hear the birds sing. After the pandemic, there will be some new good things in our lives. We will have found the mute button. Physical distance will have brought us mentally closer to each other in all relationships that really matter. Remote collaborative working will be the new normal. Online signings and closings will be actively in use, no matter how big the transaction or how spread over different addresses the parties are. But some things won’t change. Closing dinners will never feel the same on Skype.

Right now

“We just completed final negotiation round of a strategically important deal and had it bargained, reviewed and executed completely online without anyone having to leave their remote offices during the last week of the process. Our client was both relieved and very satisfied with how smoothly everything went.

I’ve personally been awaiting the jump from digitizing everything to true transformation of our working habits for some time already. This pandemic requires most companies to configure themselves to remote work, and complete remote capability will change the way we work in the future. We may see transformation of brick and mortar law offices with online capabilities into true digital legal service platforms.”
Anna Haapanen, Partner, Innovation Powerhouse

A Culture of Collaboration in times of change

In just a few weeks, our daily lives have changed quite a bit. This has also had a great impact on the way we collaborate. Many organizations have switched to a fully virtual work community in just a few days. Here are D&I’s Head of People & Culture, Mikael Ahtokari’s thoughts on five key cultural ingredients to promote in these turbulent times:

  1. Whole human beings
    Also virtual colleagues should have the opportunity to discuss their feelings, concerns and share daily experiences to understand each other better. As the COVID-19 outbreak hits people in different ways, empathy and compassion is important.
  2. Encounters
    Create new kind of virtual spaces for lunch, coffee and other informal encounters between individuals, teams and any member of the organization.
  3. Curiosity and innovation
    A change of context sparks new kind of thinking and energizes people to rethink daily tasks.
  4. Digital thinking
    What normally may seem as an add-on to everyday processes now moves to the core. Organizations also need to rethink the way they collaborate.
  5. Enriched communication
    Empathy, listening, two-way communication and timely flow of information is more important than ever. This also builds trust and strengthens a common sense of purpose.

Written by

Katja Hollmén

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