2020 was a year for the record books. The worldwide pandemic turned the world on its head, resulting in an unprecedented year for everyone. Fortunately, the pandemic now appears to be receding and things are returning to a semblance of normal in many parts of the country. Businesses, including law firms, are beginning to re-open, and employees are heading back to work. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and life as we once knew it is returning.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the lessons learned over the past year. Rather, law firm leaders should reflect on what was learned from the effects of the pandemic, including the benefits of remote working, and how to incorporate those learnings into their businesses moving forward. Here are just a few of those lessons to keep in mind.
Remote work can be profitable for law firms
One key lesson learned over the past year was that law firms could continue to profit even with a dispersed and remote workforce. According to a recent survey, many firms had a more profitable year in 2020 compared to 2019. The increased profits came from the implementation of improved workflows and technology to ensure financial stability during the first half of the the pandemic. Firms also enacted cost-saving measures, which included reducing staff and office space. Those steps helped to offset reductions in income and set the stage for an unexpectedly good year overall.
So when employees work remotely, it doesn’t mean that your revenue will necessarily decline. In fact, remote work and the steps taken to facilitate it can actually increase profits, while simultaneously resulting in a happier, more productive workforce. So if some of your firm’s attorneys or staff want to work from home whether full-time or part-time, you should consider allowing them to.
Some employees prefer to work remotely – and you should let them
For law firm leaders seeking to require the return of their workforce to the office, take heed of the results of a recent survey. Not all lawyers and staff in your firm are going to be on board with the immediate return to in-office work on a full-time basis. In order to retain talent and ensure the continued success of your firm in the months following the pandemic, it’s important to ensure that you understand and address the valid concerns and preferences of your firm’s workforce. The more comfortable that they are with the circumstances and schedule of their return to the office, the better off the firm will be in the long run.
This means you need to keep in mind the results of another recent survey, which showed that most lawyers are more than ready to get back to work – but only when the time is right and with the necessary support. Importantly, remote working flexibility will be a must, as will access to the legal technology software and tools needed to enable a flexible work schedule. Specifically, the categories where lawyers reported that the most assistance would be required centered on remote work software and tools and law firm technology generally.
Cloud-based remote working technology offers built-in business resiliency
Speaking of technology, another important learning from the pandemic is the importance of having the right software in place to ensure business continuity, since that can make all the difference when faced with an unexpected situation. For example, attorney Shawn Hamp recently shared that his firm was able to easily transition to remote work and lost no time when the pandemic hit because his firm was already using cloud-based law practice management software:
“We didn’t skip a beat when the pandemic hit because we were already cloud-based and we use MyCase for case management software. I sent my staff home the next day and said take your phone with you and your computer.”
So if your firm doesn’t already have software in place that will ensure business resiliency, there’s no better time than now to to replace your firm’s outdated and impractical IT infrastructure with more modern and efficient cloud-based legal software. If you’re not sure where to start, you’ll find all you need to know about choosing cloud-based software that will lay the foundation for business continuity in this post.
Related: [Blog Post] 5 Virtual Collaboration Tools Law Firms Need in 2021
There’s no better time than now to move your law firm to the cloud
The good news is that in 2021 you have an affordable and powerful alternative to costly premisses-based software. Cloud-based law practice management software is a vast improvement over the clunky software of yesteryear. When your law firm is in the cloud, 24/7 convenient access to your law firm’s data is the norm. E-signatures can be obtained easily, contactless billing and invoicing is built-in, and clients can easily make payments online. If your firm is using the right software, you can even run in depth reports that provide an instantaneous snapshot of your law firm’s operations, allowing you to see what’s working – and what’s not.
So if your firm hasn’t yet transitioned to cloud-based software, what are you waiting for? Your employees expect to be able to work remotely when needed, and cloud-based software offers built-in business resiliency. Download this FREE guide today for lots of advice on choosing the right legal software for your firm and setting your practice up for success by moving to the cloud: Moving Your Law Practice to the Cloud – How to Transition to Cloud-based Legal Software.