Challenges Law Firms Are Facing in 2021
As firms recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a lot to do to reinstate the business and change its trajectory. Below are the main challenges law firms are facing in the aftermath of the economic shutdown.
The Digital Revolution
As technology has evolved, so have customers’ expectations. The demand for law firms to provide virtual services continues to grow. This may pose a challenge for firms balancing office and remote teams, but it’s a necessary step for companies to remain competitive.
When the country faced the 2020 lockdowns, many court cases came to a halt. However, clients whose cases were ongoing maintained the expectation that cases would be resolved. Law firms had to quickly reorganize and invest in remote workstations.
Some law firms had to cut down on staff and partners to accommodate their strained budget during the pandemic. This poses a new challenge. Law firms once again need to recruit, train, and absorb new talent.
New positions may also be needed for business support. These include:
- IT specialists – to deal with connectivity support and digital security
- Virtual assistants – to support lawyers in managing their calendars, communication, and documentation. They may also assist in providing live customer support, invoicing, and making online payments.
- Social media manager – to support in marketing and keeping the media accounts up to date with fresh and helpful content as well as maintain the firm’s website.
One of the major setbacks for reputable law firms right now is how to handle backlogged cases. Some cases were already past due by the time COVID-19 hit. Now clients have to wait even longer. Many will have to go beyond 2021, and this includes civil matters as well.
There is no sector that hasn’t experienced financial disruption. PWC suggests that over 80% of top law firms are struggling to meet their daily obligations. This calls for the owners/partners to review financial ambitions and re-align resources to cater to the demand extended by recruitment and training.
Carrying on cases that have taken years to resolve also strains the firms’ budget and demand for efficiency. Firms may also need to compromise on income expectations to accommodate struggling clients due to COVID-19 implications.
Cases continue being heard over video conferences, and clients get access to legal advice remotely. The confidential information shared in these meetings is extremely lucrative for hackers. If stolen, privacy is compromised. Cybercriminals may use it as seed ransomware. Hackers may also demand to be paid in exchange for the stolen files. This is a major threat to the legal sector, especially law firms with a longstanding presence.
To curb these attacks, law firms need to invest in top-quality broadband connections with encryption and other advanced features such as audio recording. A software specialist will be an asset in mitigating these attacks.
Finally, as competition continues to grow, law firms need to support each other in the face of unending COVID-19 uncertainties. Partners need to network now more than ever to rise above these challenges.