There is little doubt that the legal profession has been profoundly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Many reports show that the pandemic caused the decreasing viability of law practices, job losses, and reduced hours. Law firms of all shapes and sizes have suffered as well.
The development of digital technologies will affect traditional industries, including law. Let’s consider the main factors that influence jurisprudence.
In 2008-09, the weakness of the financial markets was noticed in New York by both national and international law firms. In contrast, law firms in Texas and Washington saw revenue and revenues rise, while the revenues of other regional firms were unchanged or only slightly declined (-3%). In this regard, law firms less associated with global financial markets will likely suffer fewer losses.
2. Force majeure
The consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic will become a more attentive attitude of participants in economic legal relations to the sections of force majeure in their contracts with counterparties, lawyers are convinced. Before that, these sections were almost unclaimed, and the attention of lawyers was paid to them on a leftover basis. Now the situation has changed.
The main implications for legal regulation will entail judicial practice related to default due to the consequences of the pandemic. This practice will be formed for all spheres of public relations, as well as in different countries. The result will most likely be the development of common approaches to similar cases, as well as exceptions with interesting legal positions. With an eye to judicial practice, contractual structures will also develop.
3. Business downturns accelerate long-term and ongoing trends
During the recent economic downturn, law firm rates rose by an average of 3% per year, but at the same time pressure on payment, the collection increased. From 2015 to 2020, the number of cases when the declared rates do not actually work more than doubled due to increased discounts, partial or complete cancellation of debts.
Now we expect that the focus will shift to agreements that provide customers with more certainty: conditions for a fixed payment, or agreements about the fixed price of services.
4. Integrating new joiners and maintaining the culture
Of course, the transition to remote working has not been without challenges. Where new joiners and junior team members are concerned, for example, some legal operations teams have found it more difficult to maintain cohesion through a virtual approach.
In response, some teams have begun exploring alternative solutions, including using technology to carry out, track and report on virtual professional development and training.