The legal community was no exception to the tragic impact of COVID-19.
With little notice, law firms across the country were forced to shut their doors, leaving attorneys of all practice areas to figure out a way to work from home. What would an industry that has always been skeptical of change do at this crucial time of crisis? They adapted to their environment, and successfully so.
During the last year and a half, the legal community reflected on how to best incorporate changes that will help them sustain, and embraced these changes wholeheartedly.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of lawyers is projected to grow by 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. Roughly 46,000 openings for lawyers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
The Rising Demand for Attorneys
Fast-forward to 2021, and instead of cutting back on hiring, many firms are now eager to attract new talent. Some firms have even increased the base pay for their associates.
As per Leopard Solutions, a legal market data provider, more than 1,000 firms across the country had nearly 8,300 open jobs for lawyers at all levels in May 2021, representing a 150% increase from the start of the pandemic.
Legal Practice Areas that are Thriving during the Pandemic
With much of the working world moving online, cyber-attacks have continued to rise. In fact, cybercrime has increased by 600% since the beginning of the pandemic, with the average cost of a business data breach totalling $4.24 million. When remote work is a factor, that cost is even higher at $4.96 million. It’s no wonder cybersecurity law professionals are in high demand.
From state bar associations to the federal government, numerous organizations are in the process of developing new regulations to better protect people’s private information. The cybersecurity sector is expected to see a staggering 15% growth by 2026.
During the pandemic, while PPP loans helped bridge the financial gap for some businesses, many others could not manage their finances and filed for bankruptcy. Barring the few industries that witnessed exponential growth during the pandemic, it’s safe to say that most businesses have yet to fully recover from the financial hit they took in the last two years. It’s no surprise then that bankruptcy rates remain higher than the average.
Unfortunately, these challenges won’t be going away anytime soon, which means business owners will continue to need legal expertise and guidance when filing for bankruptcy.
Disruption to the employment landscape has opened the door for thousands of employment-related lawsuits.
With the switch to remote work, many organizations’ timekeeping practices were either amended or eliminated altogether. From employees seeking guidance and reimbursement for setting up a home office to defining standard business hours vs. overtime, the sudden change in work ethic and best practices challenged the employers in ways they weren’t prepared for.
Furthermore, as pitfalls regarding vaccination requirements and disclosures of private health information persist, more lawsuits are sure to follow.
Changing Times Call for Big Changes
Now that the legal community has recognized that remote work can be done effectively and that in several cases, it can result in a better work-life balance, many want to continue working from home, at least part-time.
However, as your practice continues to grow in the year ahead, keeping your data safe and accessible should remain a top priority.
The good news is you have an affordable and powerful alternative to costly on-premise software. Cloud-based law practice management software is a significant improvement over the outdated software of yesteryear.
When your law firm runs its business on the cloud, you have continued convenience and safe access to your law firm’s data at your fingertips. E-signatures can be acquired easily, contactless billing and invoicing are built-in, and clients can make payments online with great ease. Not to mention, in this new era of remote work, your employees expect to work from home when needed, and cloud-based software offers them this flexibility.
If your firm is using the right software, you will also gain valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not. This, in turn, allows you to readjust your business strategy and helps you get set up for success.
Curious to learn more about the benefits of law practice management software? Contact us for a free trial today!