The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the way America runs its day-to-day operations, to say the least, and the legal system is no different. As the pandemic continues to intensify throughout all 50 states, America’s law firms are finding new ways to communicate with the general public and let them know that they still have legal protections that groups of lawyers are ready to defend.
However, this doesn’t mean that they’re still not facing their fair share of challenges. In the beginning of the pandemic, American law firms knew they would need to be on top of every change and update that was to come from the government in regards to the coronavirus. This has been uncharted territory for everyone, so legal issues relating to Covid-19 have remained foggy since the start, and then once travel restrictions began being put into play, a whole new layer of difficulties arose.
Once the virus really began spreading throughout America, and the economy began to dwindle, law firms knew they would have to shift their priorities to ensure that they would be able to run as smoothly as possible. This initially involved a massive amount of job cuts, as every industry has also seen since the start of this pandemic. As time went on and the virus only spread further, government buildings and offices remained closed, leading to a complete decline in case settlements. According to Mark Herrmann, who spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm, many clients and firms are still waiting out the pandemic to continue with their business.
“With courts closed, trials canceled, and the pandemic showing no signs of ending, many no longer feel pressured to settle their cases. Most law firms are facing increasing financial uncertainty the longer the pandemic continues.”
Although many law firms have struggled, others have found new ways of continuing their legal and civic duties while remaining safe in the midst of this global health crisis. Technology has become a major resource for law firms throughout the country to use in order to continue operating their businesses and serve their clients.
Platforms like Zoom allow for video-conferencing between lawyers, clients, judges, etc. to occur, in fact, most lawyers have been able to continue working full-time remotely thanks to these programs. Many firms are even experiencing surges in business by advertising as a remote service. This way, clients feel much more comfortable scheduling meetings knowing that they don’t have to leave their home and risk potential infection. In order to get their names out there, firms are utilizing social media and third-party platforms to more easily connect with potential clients and advertise their remote services.
One of these remote third-party services that has risen in popularity is Lawyers+, which essentially works like a dating service for lawyers and clients. The website allows individuals looking for legal help to simply search the type of lawyer they’re looking for (business, criminal defense, personal injury, family, etc.) and then enter their specific city. From there, clients can see lawyers in their area that specialize in whatever they are looking for. According to Herrmann, these kinds of services and other digital means of communicating with clients will outlast the pandemic simply due to the convenience of it.
“The practices law firms adapted to get through the COVID-19 crisis will continue to be used to help law firms adjust, adapt, and advance in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world.”
Lawyers+ has also risen in popularity among law firms and lawyers themselves, not just clients, due to the fact that lawyers can create their own listings for themselves so that potential future clients in their area who need their specific type of legal assistance can more easily find them. Clients and lawyers alike can create profiles for themselves to make it easy to save certain pages that may peak their interest. Clients can also bookmark any lawyer or firm that they feel they may want assistance from and then go on their profiles where they can access every name that they saved, like an address book of lawyers.
The site also offers a multitude of useful legal information that one may need if they’ve never experienced working with a lawyer before. For example, say you lose a loved one unexpectedly and have no idea what the first steps would be in terms of their property and other belongings. There’s an article on the site exactly for that situation titled “What To Do After Losing A Loved One,” which is just one of many helpful resources one could use to navigate these uncertain times.
According to Market My Market – a firm that has been helping other law firms navigate the pandemic – the only way for any law firm, or business in general, to survive the rest of the pandemic is through services like Lawyers+ that make it easy to create a digital presence for clients to access you through.
Beyond just stay at home orders that force individuals to stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary, many clients are deciding on their own not to go out into the world to continue their legal battles, especially if they can find the same services online. So even if your part of the country allows for in person meetings, remember there’s a whole other pool of clients that are choosing to remain quarantined but still need legal assistance. A solid digital presence has been necessary for the success of most businesses within the past five years, and now that we’re enduring a global crisis that forces us to remain at home, there’s truly never been a better time to make that presence known.
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