The Coronavirus has caused disruption in practically every industry. With almost 25% of the US workforce unemployed or underemployed, everyone is feeling the pain. But the legal industry is looking to change that.
The DSS Law Firm, one of the premier law firms in the USA who have had to make changes due to COVID-19, says that the legal industry is pivoting successfully to open up the profession while protecting the general public.
Working Remotely to Fix Closed Offices
The biggest obstacle the legal industry has to face is not lack of work, as in other industries, but the inability to actually meet with their clients, insurance companies, and other legal professionals.
Although this has caused a drop in efficiency, law firms are already starting to change. DSS Law says it’s encouraging staff to work remotely.
Using strong internet connections, attorneys are able to go to work while staying home.
The Courts are Going Virtual
It may be some time before in-person court hearings can happen again. Older court buildings don’t have the necessary layouts to properly enforce social distancing, particularly when it comes to more complex cases.
The state of New York has finally decided to begin addressing the backlog of cases by opening up virtual courts. Following in the footsteps of countries like Singapore, judges are now able to rule remotely.
Currently, New York is expected to hear almost 13,000 cases using virtual courts.
A Big Backlog of Cases Provide Opportunities for the Future
Many legal analysts have predicted that law firms will lay off much of their staff during the Coronavirus crisis.
While this is true, the DSS Law Firm predicts that this will eventually lead to a boost in job opportunities once the crisis has subsided. Law firms and courts will need to strengthen their staff in order to cope with the huge mountain of pending cases.
To find out more about what individual law firms are doing during the crisis, here’s a great place to get started.
Expected Coronavirus-related Cases
Although ordinary personal injury claims are down as a result of stay-at-home orders, many legal experts predict that there will be a big increase in virus-related cases.
The reasoning for this is that there have already been some cases filed against employers who didn’t put sufficient protections in place to both enforce social distancing and protect workers from the spread of the virus.
These types of cases could very well increase as more and more of the country begin to reopen, particularly in states that have opened earlier. That’s why employers are being cautioned to make sure they are sufficiently prepared to welcome back their employees to the workplace.
Changing the Way Law Firms Operate
What has become clear from the crisis is that even though many states are reopening their doors, law firms are in no hurry to follow suit. Publicly, many law firms are saying that remote working technology is enabling their partners to fulfill their usual workloads.
Coronavirus is providing opportunities for law firms to alter the way they operate forever. Sources from the industry state that many law firms are considering more flexible working arrangements to enable them to reduce their real estate costs.
In perhaps the most competitive industry in America, law firms are always searching for ways to boost their bottom lines and cut overheads.
However, it should be mentioned that cutting office space and more remote working will alter the dynamics of how the legal industry works. Keeping lawyers engaged, mentoring, and team cohesion will all become major obstacles.
Practice Areas and Coronavirus
The legal profession has had to pivot to confront the Covid-19 crisis. The fact is that while personal injury cases may have dropped in the short-term, other practice areas have seen renewed demand.
For example, the legal area of trust & estates has seen unprecedented demand. It’s about so much more than the transfer of wealth, though. Everything from tax mitigation to estate preservation to healthcare concerns have all come into play.
Lawyers specializing in areas like the above have found themselves with more work than ever before, as other lawyers find themselves scrambling to pay the bills.
It’s fair to say that the legal industry hasn’t been hit equally by the global pandemic. For many lawyers, it’s provided a magnificent opportunity to grow and expand.
Like everywhere else in the business world, there have been winners and losers.
The Coronavirus has disrupted the legal industry and forced it to innovate, especially with regard to new technologies. The temporary short-term pain experienced now could open up the legal industry and force it to evolve.
DSS Law acknowledges that these are worrying times for a lot of smaller law firms, but, ultimately, the legal profession will emerge stronger and better equipped to meet the needs of the American public.
Only time will tell how long it will take for the industry to emerge from this crisis.