Reed Smith's GC Roundtable Series

Remaining visible with clients has never been more important. In 2020, as we collectively faced the challenges resulting from the global pandemic, Reed Smith launched its global Virtual Roundtable Series Program, designed as a platform for clients to share experiences, discuss live issues, and explore solutions for the future. Through the 15 roundtable events, our teams of lawyers and business professionals connected with more than 75 clients around the world, fostering a collaborative peer-to-peer learning environment and allowing clients to engage in informative and thought-provoking conversations in an informal setting.

Authors: Sadie Baron Deven Vyas M. Tamara Box Kyri Evagora Douglas E. Cameron

butterfly emerging from chrysalis

Using the common themes that we explored with clients in our 2020 Virtual Roundtable Series Program, this year-end thought leadership report summarizes the key insights, trends, and forecasts shared and experienced by clients around the world in 2020. The themes focused on and were dominated by COVID-19, the well-being of staff and employees, heightened social and political tensions, and how businesses needed to adapt in order to survive.

The diverse role of legal teams

Throughout the uncertainty of 2020, general counsel and legal teams were forced to adapt quickly as they moved between the various stages of their organizations’ responses to the pandemic.

Technology as a lifeline and as an influence on shaping the future

Technology took on a new meaning for many businesses during the height of the pandemic – serving as a lifeline and an essential service that ensured a seamless transition to remote working and a continuity of operations. As we moved through the pandemic and continued to grow more comfortable working under a “new normal,” management and business leaders evaluated preexisting methods of working in light of our changing relationship with technology.

Rethinking the communications protocol

While businesses around the world faced numerous challenges in 2020, a recurring bright spot could be found in the measures taken to improve communication, especially at a time when communicating with staff, colleagues, and clients alike, had never been more important. Virtual platforms like Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft Teams were instrumental in helping to achieve enhanced team morale and increased collaboration between teams, and in maintaining visibility with external counsel.

Remote working has been a success... but the importance of offices cannot be undervalued

When discussing the events of 2020, popular and common themes notably included the benefits, drawbacks, and personal experiences around remote working. Going forward, the future office will have to fight to win back employees, and the winning formula could be the model workplace of the future, providing a stable balance for productivity, lifestyle, and enjoyment, as well as health and safety. The dialogue will continue well into 2021 and possibly beyond.

Investing in talent – the world is the employer’s oyster!

By looking beyond the normal “talent pool” to include candidates who would previously not have been considered for geographical reasons, companies are realizing that they have greater access to skilled labor, allowing them to recruit “anyone, anywhere.” Employers are now leveraging a level of flexibility that did not exist before, and their business models are being stress-tested to see what works best for specific business needs.