Editor’s note: To follow up on an initial COVID-19 survey revealing the financial, operational, and individual challenges attorneys are facing during COVID-19, MyCase recently launched a second nationwide survey exploring the state of law offices, current workload, and predictions for the future of the legal industry. What follows are the findings of our June 2020 survey responses collected from a broad range of legal professionals. View Part 1 and Part 2 of the survey here.
With no definitive end in sight to the global health crisis, it has become increasingly difficult to track the far-reaching implications of the pandemic. But as a state of flux becomes the new normal, many new learnings regarding the future of the practice of law have come to light. One thing is clear: law firms’ outlooks on financial stability, preparedness for future disruption, and technology are more hopeful than in previous months.
With clientele growth challenged and courts closing as a result of COVID-19, many firms faced financial instability. Solutions such as cutting expenses and reducing headcount stood out as two of the most ubiquitous approaches to combating loss. But sentiment around financial futures in the legal community have shifted to a more positive outlook than in prior stages of the pandemic. Though financial stability remains a top concern among legal professionals of all practice areas, 52% of survey respondents are more optimistic about the future of their firm than they were 30 days ago. Interestingly enough, 53% of respondents anticipate an increased workload in the coming months which may indicate a correlation.
Technology Adoption & Future Disruption
Technology indifference and objections that were once barriers to adoption may be less so now that remote work has become a viable alternative to the physical workspace. Attorneys are broadly in agreement that technology enables them to maintain business continuity, even while many of their teams are fractured teams and face-to-face interaction is limited. 90% of firms surveyed mentioned that cloud-based technology enables their firm to work remotely at this time. This echoes a sentiment expressed in poll results from early April when 79% of respondents using cloud-based systems stated that they were well-equipped to work from home.
Looking forward, the uncertainties spawned by the pandemic are critical indicators of how the legal industry will progress in the adoption and usage of technology. When asked their opinion on increased technology adoption in law firms and courts, overwhelmingly, respondents indicated that the change was a positive one, with 52% strongly agreeing that technology adoption in law firms is a good thing, and 54% strongly agreeing that the same is true of courts. It’s worth noting that 87% of firms believe that there will be additional COVID disruptions that will emerge in 2020.
Along those same lines, respondents believe that firms who fail to implement or utilize cloud technology are more susceptible to financial hardship in the second half of 2020, with 70% agreeing that cloud technology is paramount to financial stability. This is indicative of more attorneys recognizing the advantages technology brings to managing the operations of a firm as the health crisis continues to evolve.
If the future of your book of business is in question amid the pandemic, reference this webinar, How to Safeguard Your Law Firm Against Future Disruption.
What long-term changes has your firm made related to COVID-19?
“We put a greater emphasis on having procedures in place in case of another business interruption.” -Carlos, Becerra Law Group
“We have improved our work from home technology. Otherwise, having MyCase in place for years and all of our files already on the platform has made a HUGE difference and made for a seamless transition.” -Brianne, Michael A. Lampert PA
“No visitors except by appointment policy will likely be long term, we will keep that in place even after COVID-19.” -Rob, Ryan Law Firm