The COVID-19 Pandemic Teaches the Legal Sector a New Way of Doing Business

The COVID-19 Pandemic Teaches the Legal Sector a New Way of Doing Business

Published on : 15/02/2021 15 February Feb 02 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an extraordinary impact on day-to-day life globally. Entire industries and countries are in various stages of lock-down, and governments recommend measures to contain the spread of the virus. 
The measures to protect and prevent the spread of the virus have changed how we do business across the planet.

Remote work can be a love-hate relationship

Working from home full-time has changed the way in-house counsel and law firms conduct business for the legal sector. 
 

CONS

Pivoting to working at home is not simple. 
  • For those in the legal sector, they must have access to shared documents, version control, and stringent security, which may require an update of their infrastructure for business management.
  • A significant concern is that remote working makes them vulnerable to compromising client records of other sensitive information through cyber-attacks.  
  • If collaboration is required, it gets more complicated. It's a headache to keep track of multiple modifications to documents without the right technology.
  • Separating home and work is another challenge, causing added difficulties and challenges. Picture this: you're in an important client meeting, and one of your children bursts in and asks to go potty. (Or even worse, already has done so, but not in the right place). 
  • Keeping your workspace uncluttered and quiet, particularly if you lack a dedicated space, is difficult with your family trapped at home with you 24/7. 

PROS

However, remote work has its benefits and advantages for lawyers, in-house counsel, and law firms. 
  • When set up correctly, the remote work-model can boost productivity. Your staff can recapture time spent commuting to and from a brick-and-mortar office to accomplish more work. 
  • You can empower your people to control how and when they do their work to lift company morale. (Micro-managers take note: this might mean giving yourself more time back as well). 
  • Devise creative ways to interact with clients with online meeting tools, so they don't miss a thing.
  • The remote model allows you to follow the trend to offer flexible remote work hours to accommodate working parents' schedules. 
  • Work from anywhere, anytime in the cloud model allows freedom and satisfaction for employees. 
 

How can In-House Counsel and Law Firms succeed in a remote model? 

Many legal organizations are not used to working with new technologies. Without the technical knowledge, how do they ensure that everything works as it should all the time? 

Rethink How You Operate with the Help of Skilled Technical Professionals
The potential of data breaches requires technology professionals to defend client confidentiality. 

Your clients demand accountability and may miss the reassurance of in-person interactions to have confidence in your legal work. Those legal professionals who have adapted to video conferencing, podcasts, and better ways to centralize documents, can ease those concerns. 

Courts and judicial systems are adapting to the world of isolation and social distancing. It is now more common to use the telephone, video, and other methods to conduct matters. 

Your Mainstay Cases May Need to Change
The pandemic has affected what may have been your legal organizations' core business negatively. Your client's expectations have shifted due to the impact and cost of the measures needed to protect public health and control the virus's spread. 

Mergers & Acquisitions are increasingly at risk. Demand has fallen, and it is not clear whether merger proposals will still be viable once we have COVID-19 under control. Some key players may also pose a risk by succumbing to the virus. 

As Steven Nigro, Founder and Managing Partner, TAG Financial Institutions Group, LLC. Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory stated in a Feb 3 Forbes article:
"Many of the transactions that closed in 2020 originated before the pandemic…At the beginning of the pandemic, we had our hands full with over 20 transactions in various stages of the acquisition process. Clients quickly pressed the pause button." 

Force Majeure cases, in contrast, are on the rise as projects and agreements are abandoned as a result of the health crisis. Event managers who planned and signed contracts years ahead of time must renegotiate with vendors as the pandemic made it clear that holding an in-person event was impossible.  
 

Where Do We Go From Here?

Legal organizations are ramping up digital media approaches for providing information to their clients, employees, and vendors. They are offering podcasts, webinars, and interactive seminars to remain engaged and cement relationships. They embrace the full suite of automation for legal practices to meet the challenges now and in the future.

Steven Nigro adds, "Some of my peers are questioning if going to offices and traveling through the sky will be necessary. Maybe they're right; doing those things might not be required anymore."

With the right technology partner and your own creative approach to meet COVID-19 challenges, you can emerge stronger than ever. Lessons learned from adapting to this health crisis will still apply post-pandemic. As always, meeting and adapting to challenges in the legal sector is in every successful legal organization's DNA.  


About the author: Legal Suite is the worldwide leader in digital transformation for lawyers. We have delivered our state-of-the-art software for lawyers, law firms, and in-house general counsel to 65,000 users for over two decades. www.legal-suite.com

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