The Law Has Always Been Essential Too

Kathy Fortin

June 15, 2020

 

The Law Has Always Been Essential Too 

 

In our consulting we have stayed connected with clients through regular Zoom meetings. We also hold monthly virtual sessions for any lawyers or law firm administrators wanting to join in our discussions about the effects of the coronavirus on law firms.

We are learning first-hand how law firms have been affected  these past several months and about the pressing concerns for the months ahead. Here I offer comments on issues that have been raised in hopes they are helpful as you navigate similar challenges.

  1. Demand during the crisis. Historically law firms have done well in times of crisis. Lawyers assist individuals, families, and businesses. This is a positive note for the profession. Questions that firms will grapple with for some time are whether they can retain their staff and how will their business continue to change.
  2. Demand among different practice areas. We see that there is significant difference from one practice area to another. Specialty areas like estate planning and family law have grown and the growth is expected to continue. Health care workers and the elderly have sought to get their affairs in order. Divorces and child custody cases are on the rise. Litigation slowed due to court closures, until virtual depositions, hearings, and mediations began to take place. Insurance companies have still been working to settle matters.  Personal injury cases came to an abrupt halt as people were driving less. Real estate, bankruptcy, and other areas continue to fluctuate.
  3. Technology readiness. The abrupt shut-down orders and the orders to work from home challenged many small law firms. Some were better equipped for everyone to work remotely. Shared files, data management systems and other programs, and laptops enabled staff to work remotely with a smooth transition. Others were less equipped and suffered delays in their adjustment, as well as the need to rush to upgrade their systems. The realization that firms need to be more attentive to their infrastructure is ongoing.
  4. Bridging financial gaps. Financial setbacks are on every lawyer’s mind. Many firms that experienced a decline in new client calls the first month or so now report a return to prior levels. While firms may have suffered a revenue setback, many expect recovery over time. Some are looking closely at their annual budget to be prepared for any continued uncertainties during the second half of the year. Many small firms sought PPP loans and are completing the required process for forgiveness.

There are of course other issues emerging that law firms are focused on. I will cover more of them in my next Blog.

?    What does the lawyer market look like?

?    How are law firms reopening?

?    How can lawyers measure productivity and manage staff remotely?

If you would like to join our monthly Zoom sessions to discuss the topics addressed here or have other topics to recommend for discussion contact me at kwf@arthurggreene.com or see instructions that appears in our ad in the June issue of the NH Bar News.