Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own – Bruce Lee
I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. These are immensely challenging and unprecedented times for those in the legal sector with many unknowns of what is yet to come. But one thing is certain – the legal profession and legal practice will not be the same when we come out the other end.
In a recent opinion piece in The Law Society’s Gazette “Coronavirus brings out the best in our legal profession“, John Hyde reports on some of the positives that he has been hearing from law firms across the UK. He notes:-
The response was staggering. For all the lazy assumptions about this being a profession stuck in a bygone time and with no inclination to modernise, many firms have shown remarkable resilience and deftness to keep the show on the road.
With that optimism in mind, the following are some great insights from others aiming to help other lawyers and business owners:-
Impact on Law Firms and Practical Guidance
Very useful roundup of some of LexisNexis’s articles regarding the pandemic, covering issues such as “flexible working, the impacts on the financial services sector, the FTSE 350, restructuring and insolvency, corporate financial performance, updates from the Spring Budget 2020, remote working and much more.”
“Last week was probably the biggest shift in our working lives many of us can remember. For some it brought their entire working lives into doubt, for others it meant a full doubling down as a surge in demand appeared.”
(There are also weekly update blogs from Moore Legal Technology that you can read here)
“If there is one thing we learned over the past two weeks it’s that you can never be too prepared. Having the right plan and the right technology in place can be a differentiator when the IT department is overloaded with requests. Not only does being prepared have a positive impact on the employees, but also on their clients and families.”
“Small firm lawyers are feeling a lot of disruption these days. Now is not the time to panic. Now is not the time to recoil or run your business from a place of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. You must show leadership. You must be strategic. You must be ready to pivot.”
“Will legal services demand drop? In the very short term the answer is that some service lines will see a spike and others will see a rapid fall. For now, they will likely cancel each other out.”
“We know members will have questions about the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for their clients, their businesses, their professional obligations, their own wellbeing and that of their employees.” The Law Society’s advice page includes guidance re attending court, advice for employers and advice for firm owners, managing partners or senior leaders.
“We know the spread of coronavirus is placing enormous pressure on the legal profession. We are already undertaking a range of activities to support solicitors deal with this challenge. However, we want to do more and are looking carefully at what additional measures including financial measures that we could take.”
“Firms are also bracing for the pandemic’s long-term economic impacts that could boost demand for some legal services, while depressing the market for others.”
“It’s helpful in times like these for leadership teams to have a common understanding of what’s going on in the broader economy, its implications for law firm demand and a road map for how to tackle the difficult decisions ahead. The following offers such a framing.”
“If law firms and court systems cannot find a way to work remotely in the coming weeks, Covid-19 will rapidly run them into the ground.”
“The coronavirus is rapidly demanding legal attention from commercial firms whose clients are seriously impacted. At the same time, the ability of commercial lawyers to even carry out their work is being threatened by the virus.”
For more insights on technology in court see also these insights from Mark Thorley on courts and technology.
Coronavirus Legal Insights & Advice for Businesses
And the following are useful coronavirus legal insights pages from a selection of top corporate law firms:-
- Coronavirus Legal Insights (from Clifford Chance)
- Covid-19 / Coronavirus Legal Advice – Business Continuity (from Gregory Abrams Davidson Solicitors)
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) hub (from Dentons)
- Coronavirus COVID-19 Hub (from Curwens)
- International legal & commercial implications of Coronavirus (COVID-19) (from CMS)
- Coronavirus: Managing business impact and legal risks (from White & Case)
- Quick guide for employers and business owners during the coronavirus crisis 2020 (from Lewis Nedas)
- Coronavirus: Legal implications of a global pandemic (from Norton Rose Fulbright)
Other Recommended Reading re Covid-19 Impact and Advice for Lawyers?
Given this is an extremely fast-moving situation, the advice for law firms and businesses will inevitably be shifting constantly and dramatically. If you come across any essential reading for law firms that isn’t included above I’d be delighted to hear from you and will aim to update this list with some excellent new insights pieces in the coming weeks.
Image credit: Javier Allegue Barros