Analysts agree: the COVID-19 crisis will fundamentally change the way our world is organized long after it subsides. For the legal industry, this means law will be practiced differently worldwide, and law firms need to get ready. Small, temporary changes that your law firm may have enacted during other crises like the 2008 financial crisis may have been enough to get you through it. But the COVID-19 crisis calls for an altogether change in perspective and paradigm.
Social distancing means work must continue through effective use of technology and a virtual workforce. Law firms, especially those still using a more traditional work model, must now rise to the challenge and join the digital age. In this way, coronavirus will push law firms and courts into the 21st Century once and for all.
This push is happening now. Given the urgency to rapidly adjust to new operating procedures, the first question one might have is, “How can my law firm survive this crisis?” But a better question is this: “How can my law firm thrive through this crisis?”
A change in business operations is the answer, and digitalization is the tool. Instead of canceling your usual procedures, the key to thriving through this crisis is to use technology to help you do those procedures differently. Don’t stop engaging with your clients. Talk to them virtually. Don’t stop having conferences, but conduct them online. Don’t stop selling your services. Adapt to the reality that more people are online than before, and work with your marketing agency or team to attract new clients online.
Law firms will find that technology can help them more effectively manage contracts than old-fashioned filing cabinets or email. They’ll also find that working remotely can strongly benefit the firm’s productivity. Studies have shown that businesses with remote workforces have found greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and more efficient use of resources.
Courts, too, will likely go digital, in which case technology will help improve access to the justice system. Litigation will look quite different during and after the crisis. Legal education, too, will look different when law students will be taking classes online.
The good news is that in 2020, advances in technology and society’s preparedness for the use of technology will help the legal industry adapt to going virtual. There are tools now for digitalization to become your law firm’s new reality — a reality that will look different from yesterday, but still, a reality that you have every ability to succeed in.
At Custom Legal Marketing, we are staying abreast of the changes affecting the legal industry and reacting quickly to help our clients thrive during this crisis. As digital marketing pioneers, we’re here to help law firms respond to digitalization and help bring them into the 21st century and beyond the lasting effects of COVID-19.