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Legal Industry’s Response to Remote Work: Impact of Coronavirus on Legal Industry

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What’s going on here?

COVID-19 has brought a change in almost every industry, and the legal sector has been one of them. It has forced lawyers and staff to work out of their offices and into their homes, where they have to juggle between work and other duties.

What does this mean?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there have been several circulars and notifications from the Courts, indicating that most hearings are going to take place remotely using technology. From a technological aspect, most firms have adapted pretty quickly, and tools like LoopUp, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are being used in different departments to facilitate work. Lawyers and clients can effectively communicate with each other using these software programs so that they can discuss the case and regularly check in with developments along with keeping themselves safe.

If clients want to contact lawyers, they can do so online. Firms have started to pay more attention to their websites. For example, if you need help reaching a compensation claims solicitor you can trust, all you have to do is go over their website and ask for help. Moreover, the communication between the courts and lawyering firms has also been digitalized as there is more and more focus on delivering documents via emails rather than in person.

The virus has also impacted how different firms work. Where most of these firms have adapted to technology, there is still the question of mentorship and learning, which can only be achieved when lawyers work together. There has been a great shift in the working environment as there are fewer chances of growth as a team, but more as an individual. Many firms have also reduced working hours to put less pressure on their employees, while others are trying to battle the losses they have endured by downsizing.

What’s the big picture effect?

Although most firms have made great efforts to make sure that they don’t suffer many losses, working solely online may not be sustainable in the long term. There are a lot of issues when it comes to online hearing, which includes internet connectivity issues or the fact that many individuals can cheat the system by secretly recording these hearings and using it in the wrong way. In addition, as face to face meetings are reduced, the importance of human interaction is lost. It is quite hard for lawyers to do lawyering as they can’t put up the subtle hints from their clients that something is not quite right. Human interaction is a very important part of the lawyering system, and if you take it out of the equation, the job becomes very bland and hard.

Despite all the problems that firms have had to face, one of the obvious plusses of lockdown is the decreasing real estate cost. The priority, right now, is to follow all the SOPs and guidelines laid out by the government to ensure that the spread of the virus is hindered. Where the virus has presented the legal industry with a lot of challenges, it is evident that it has also brought a lot of positive changes such as modernity to the legal industry.

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