2021 Law Firm Procurement Priorities
Last year, in The Top Three Priorities for Your Law Firm’s Procurement Function in 2020, we recommended that law firm procurement offices prepare for a recession and promote the value of the procurement function to the organization as a whole. While we certainly did not foresee in any detail what 2020 would bring—a global pandemic, social justice protests and constant economic upheaval—firms that promptly implemented that advice were probably better prepared to meet the challenges of this chaotic year, while their staff may have been better protected from layoffs and cutbacks.
However prepared firms were, the uncertainty of 2020 has forced dramatic overnight changes for legal professionals. As a result, law firms are increasingly focused on developing agility and controlling costs. The pandemic has had markedly divergent impacts across different industries—the transportation and hospitality industries are down about 60 percent each, while medical technology, pharmaceuticals and software and IT services are all up to a similar degree—but this year’s ever-shifting tides have demonstrated that any industry can be vulnerable, and all must be prepared.
In this year’s law firm procurement survey, we once again solicited inputs from procurement leaders across the country to learn how they have been meeting their firms’ needs and where they plan to direct their focus in the future. From those discussions, and our own ongoing experiences with clients, HBR has selected three strategic priorities to guide the efforts of law firm procurement offices in 2021 and into the murky future that lies beyond.