Living in lockdown due to Covid-19 has meant that most law firms are now operating remotely with the majority of staff working from home. It is becoming clear that many of the things that we know and love will not be the same in a post-lockdown life, so I thought that I’d examine how this may look for law firms moving forward.
While a lot of firms have the facility to work remotely, many will not have used it until now. Speaking from experience, within my own team everybody prefers to work in the office rather than at home and although remote working is an option, most don’t choose to work from home. Due to Covid-19, remote working has been forced upon most of us. For my firm in particular, there has been increased productivity levels, and working from home has actually been a really positive change for the firm. Going forward many firms may choose that their staff work from home on a more frequent basis, some even suggesting smaller office spaces to lower overhead costs, with the majority of work being done from home.
During this time there have been many practice areas affected, the main one being conveyancing- with the housing market frozen for a while, many conveyancers were put on furlough leave. However, those who practice in restructuring and insolvency, or contract law, may have had an increase in work. This means that lawyers may need to be flexible in their approach and repurposed. Where there is flexibility to do so, a lawyer may take on work in other practice areas to help share the load. In future, this may mean a lot more collaboration between the practice areas within firms, fusing the practice together to allow that flexibility for lawyers to dip in and out of other practice areas to adapt to client need.
Overall, the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to bring about many positive changes for the legal sector. We could be seeing a move to agile working, flexible working hours, and firms that really recognise the importance of changing client needs. Although many firms were beginning to transition to this way of working, this may be the push that some firms needed, and hopefully the benefits have been seen!