Covid-19 broke out late December 2019, and by March, 2020, the whole world has become impacted by the novel Coronavirus. Nations are on lockdown. Businesses have closed down and many are on the brink of financial collapse. Law firms have (physically) shut down. Lawyers are indoors and cannot go to work. Law firm vendors and process management consultants are faced with layoffs and lesser work because the entire world is still grappling with the crippling effects of Covid-19. Courtrooms have shut down and hearings, rulings and other litigation based matters have been put on hold, in many cases indefinitely pending whenever a favourable outcome is determined for the Covid-19 pandemic. This means lesser work—with a resulting lesser income—for litigation lawyers. Supply chains all over the world has been disrupted, leading to panicked calls to law firms for requisite advisory on the legal implications of this disruption in commercial supply contracts.
Covid-19 Presents a Bleak, Global landscape for many Law Firms
Covid-19 has effectively showcased the deficiencies that exist in law firm practice models which, for many law firm practitioners, have remained unchanged and unedited for the past several years.
“It is a sad reality that many law firms live in the echoes of past years, refusing to shed the older models of running their law firms and embracing an agile, digital-focused law practice,” Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani, head digital transformation, Kabbiz Digital, notes. “While many law firms have led transformation efforts and worked strategically to become digital powerhouses unbounded by the physical constraints of conventional law office work, the vast majority of law firms still prefer—and still operate—the brick and mortar law office model where everything is tied to their offices. It has taken a devastating worldwide pandemic for law firm managers to understand this, but by now, it seems they are asking the right questions at a point too late in time.”
Covid-19 has ruined the income balance sheets for many law firms because they cannot operate or operate with a skeletal staff. Since they cannot operate, they cannot make profit and pay out earned fees to their fee earners. For many law firms and lawyers whose work flow and client relations have grounded to a halt or slowed to an inconsequential trickle because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the near, foreseeable future seems bleak.
However, it is pertinent to note that the future holds more. At least, many law firms and lawyers have realized the importance of “Digital Law Practice” and many are swiftly working to ramp up knowledge and trainings in this area so they can make the necessary transition to creating an agile, digital practice for themselves so they can continue to work in spite of the Covid-19 and the attendant (physical) restrictions placed on people’s movements. The reason for this is simple: the entire world is still grappling with the Covid-19 and there seems to be no end in sight.
Furthermore—and this factor will cut across all industries worldwide if the layoffs, Furloughs and job losses are any indication—the future of work post Covid-19 will be far different from what it was pre Covid-19 and law firms alongside their counterparts in other service based enterprises need to be prepared for this.
In the light of the above, it is important for law firms to review their operations and fully embrace Digital law, particularly given the popularity of several platforms at this trying time.
To get more information about Kabbiz Digital’s Covid-19 hub, click here.