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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, law firms are now being confronted with their greatest fear: transformation. The legal industry’s pervading reactive mindset and resistance to change is not something new though. Extensive research has demonstrated the sector’s inability to keep up with exogenous technological developments, which not only hampers opportunities for innovation and growth but it also negatively affects their ability to handle business disruption effectively.
So, with the industry going through these unprecedented times, an obvious question arises: How will the coronavirus affect the legal sector and what will it look like after this crisis is over?
One thing is certain: When the scourge of COVID-19 ends, nothing will be the same as before.
Obviously, this means that law firms are now being forced to make the critical decision of whether to adapt to these daunting challenges by taking bold and risky steps forward or stick to the modes of thinking and working that brought success in the past and die.
In this article, we look at how the pandemic will reshape the industry’s landscape and what your law firm can do to become leaner, agile, and more adaptable.
Although “digital transformation” has become one of the most popular buzzwords in the industry, the legal function still remains at an early stage of transformation with law firms lacking the maturity and preparedness to embrace new technologies. This point is further highlighted in the 2018 Georgetown Report, which concludes that most law firms “are still fighting the last war”.
Undoubtedly, this is something that will change. The coronavirus will propel law into the digital age, as this has now become not merely a matter of choice, but rather a matter of survival. At this point, as a legal leader, what you really need to understand is that going digital is not just about platforms and data. Instead, it encompasses a holistic business paradigm shift, which demands a more agile, willing-to-grow and customer-centric version of you. But if you are willing to take that leap, the sky is the limit! According to a 2018 McKinsey report, organisations that have gone digital are 23 times more likely to acquire customers; six times as likely to retain customers; and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result!
And we couldn’t think of a better example than our client, Shepherd Harris, a well-known law firm in Enfield Town, who were one of the early firms that embraced technology with the aim of delivering excellent client service. Today, after years of using our holistic legal software solution, the firm has managed to exceed client expectations and build stronger bonds with them. This has resulted in the generation of client referrals and positive word of mouth leading to higher revenues and expanded customer base!
With the Covid-19 outbreak the walls of remote work resistance have been breached with rapid speed forcing millions of legal professionals to work from home. Remote work is nothing new to business, however. Almost 70% of organisations have embraced flexible remote working as a way to improve employee productivity and job satisfaction. And although the legal industry has consistently shut its eyes to the benefits of this #1 business market trend, they responded fairly quickly to this urgency. Of course, this is because they did not have the privilege of staying clung to the traditional ways of doing things anymore.
But what does this mean for the future of the industry?
We recently conducted a survey to answer this question and see how the pandemic will affect the legal sector. Long story short, the Covid-19 marks the end of the industry as we know it. Our findings reveal that a staggering 77% of legal businesses believe that their practice will change forever once the lockdown is lifted, with 56% of them further arguing that remote working will be the new normal for doing business from now on. Finally, another 10% claims that they will make better use of technology as a way to enhance efficiency and productivity within their practice.
But, unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for smaller firms. With reduced access to remote working, they were the ones that suffered the consequences of the imposed lockdown the most. And what’s the reason behind that? Short answer: They did not have the right cloud hosted IT solution in place to deal with this disruption.
So, if there’s one thing you should take away from this crisis, it’s that this is a defining moment in the legal industry, which under no circumstances can be treated like business as usual. Instead, now is the best time for your law firm to grab this opportunity to reassess, strategize and ultimately align your practice with the changes occurring in your macro-environment. And by now, you should have understood that there are no secrets in doing that successfully. Only through embracing digital transformation, will you be able to bridge the physical gap, ensure business continuity and thrive.
Want some expert advice on how you can achieve that? With over 35 years of experience in the legal technology industry, we can recommend the best way forward.
Get in touch with our knowledgeable team today.