Law Firms Must Adapt and Respond to Pandemic Led Industry Change

We recently took a closer look at the legal sector to understand what the future holds. We have found that top law firms should recognise the need for increased autonomy, whilst continuing to drive technological change in order to succeed in the future. The dramatic shake up caused by the coronavirus pandemic means their futures will now be determined by both the adoption of remote working and new technology, but also by the ability to continuously adapt and respond to change.

We reached out to representatives from firms including DAC Beachcroft, Ashurst and Osborne Clarke to understand the challenges and opportunities facing the legal sector in a turbulent year.

Following the closure of offices during lockdown, a survey from British Council for Offices[1] suggests 46% of office workers want to blend remote and office working in the future. Our Legal Expert, Tiggy Robinson said “firms need to accept this new flexible approach to how and where work is conducted. There is an opportunity to reimagine company culture, which will help with attracting and retaining talent.” 

How firms conduct business with clients has now become virtual rather than physical and this opens up opportunities for creative new online solutions. The legal sector should move from a passive to an active approach to designing a leading virtual client experience and applying Design Thinking principles can help.

The path to technological change for law firms doesn’t just mean introducing the latest software. Firms should also be considering if existing technology has been fully adopted. Tiggy explains: “In June, the use of Microsoft Teams grew by 894%[2] compared with its base usage in February 2020. This illustrates the importance of remote collaboration across firms, however are the full benefits of these technologies being realised or are teams using a small proportion of the functionality available from collaboration tools like this?”

Nathan Hayes, IT Director at international legal practice Osborne Clarke said:

“The pandemic has clearly disrupted our working practices making our people significantly more receptive to change. We have a once in a generation opportunity to take advantage of that to accelerate improvements to the way in which we work and lock in the associated benefits before the window of opportunity closes.”

Our findings explore the different areas the legal sector is addressing, to prepare for the future of work: People, culture, clients, technology, working environments and processes. In each area the common theme centres around adaptability and moving towards a new era. An industry rich in tradition, history and legacy… law now needs to overcome any resistance to innovating and try a new approach fit for a world where change is the only constant.

Our full findings can be downloaded in the white paper here.

The Future of Work in the Legal sector

[1]  http://www.bco.org.uk/News/News46982.aspx

[2] https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252485100/Microsoft-Teams-usage-growth-surpasses-Zoom

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