Editor’s note: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses in ways many of us could not have imagined at the beginning of 2020. MyCase wanted to understand the financial, operational, and individual changes law firms are making to maintain business continuity during this time, so we launched a nationwide survey from April 8th-10th and collected results from 819 legal professionals.
On an individual level, lawyers and legal professionals are experiencing a mix of productivity challenges in a new and potentially permanently changed legal landscape. Learn the top productivity challenges individuals are facing, the tools they’re adopting, and their thoughts on the long term effects of COVID-19 on the legal industry.
Individual Productivity Challenges
Having explored the broader impact of COVID-19 as law firms begin working remotely, we pushed in to uncover the challenges individuals are facing in their day-to-day. Survey results indicate that nationwide shelter in place orders have given rise to a multitude of challenges among legal professionals. Of respondents, 20% are struggling to meet their billable hour requirements which could be caused by any number of factors, including productivity issues due to remote working, a downturn in clientele, or court closures. Despite the increased adoption of video teleconferencing technology, 19% of legal professionals are struggling to meet with clients. And on the front of maintaining incoming revenue, a reported 16% are struggling to collect payments.
Firms are adopting a range of technology tools to combat the aforementioned personal (and firm-wide) operational challenges they’re newly confronted with. COVID-19 has increased video conference technology adoption among law firms significantly, with 64% of respondents having adopted video conferencing in the last month. But all of this begs the question as to what degree the technological and operational changes reflect a new normal in law practice management.
The Long Term Effects of COVID-19
As is true of a multitude of other industries, the pandemic has disrupted the way in which attorneys run their businesses. Whether a new precedent has been set ultimately remains to be seen, however, 69% of firms agree that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the way law firms operate. Surely a reflection of their recent personal experiences, 76% of those surveyed agree COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the way their firm uses technology. And In the wake of federal and state courts suspending trials or closing across the country, 73% of those surveyed agree long-term effects will be felt even in the court system.
It’s worth noting that of legal professionals surveyed, 90% believe that legal management software is essential to operate their firm remotely. This overwhelming majority speaks to the advantages of being equipped to manage cases, correspond with clients, and collaborate with staff within a system built uniquely for law firms.
Thoughts & Advice from Fellow Law Firms
“Hang in there. This too shall pass. This is the time to make sure your software is working the best for your firm and optimizing its efficiency.” -Michelle Howser, Howser & Associates
“This is the time to work on systems, policies and team culture. Use this downtime to revamp your firm from the inside so that it is well prepared to handle a larger volume of work once the pandemic is over.” -Ilona D. Anderson, Saenz & Anderson, PLLC
“Good online case management software really does make a world of difference. Get it, learn it, use it. For example, our struggles with signatures are much less with MyCase because many of those items we can use electronic signatures, especially right now. It can keep you in touch with staff and give you access to all your case information.” -Rebecca Pescador, Whole Family Legal, LLC
Editor’s Note: This article is published with the author’s permission with first publication on MyCase Blog.