The Corona Virus has been a shock to the legal system. We are generally confined to our homes and often prevented from working from our offices. We are dealing with connections with clients, challenges with court closures, marketing, and changes to the legal profession both during and after the COVID 19 crisis passes.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 12, 2020, there has been a net loss of 64,000 jobs in the legal sector bringing the total number of jobs in the industry down to 1,097,006. Law firms are laying off new associates, curtailing or reducing summer internships, reducing partners and associates draws, and holding off on growth plans.
Some law practice areas have been especially impacted by COVID19:
- Mergers and acquisitions are generally on hold, at least until the business and financial markets stabilize.
- Estate planning is booming with many people wanting to prepare beforehand in case of contracting the virus.
- Bankruptcy practices are increasingly busy with more growth expected as the fallout from layoffs and business closures take effect.
- Family law will increase as more stay-at-home couples discover their differences are insurmountable. Subject, of course, to the financial reality of divorce costs.
- Litigation will boom with all matter of lawsuits resulting from the disruption of business-as-usual. Claims against insurers will skyrocket.
The impact on law firms is significant:
- Dealing with the changing fortunes of specific practice areas.
- Mergers between law firms are increasingly likely.
- Some attorneys will quit mid-sized and large firms to start boutique practices.
- Working from home will become much more accepted, even in large firms.
- The necessity of large and expensive office space will come under scrutiny.
Attorneys legal careers are also impacted:
- Lawyers let go by firms may begin solo practices.
- Partners near retirement may decide to leave their law practice at this time.
- Some lawyers will see the necessity for, or the opportunity in, changing practice areas.
- Lawyers not especially happy with being a lawyer may decide to change careers.
- Lawyers, both associates, and partners may question the stability and viability of the traditional law firm model.
- The number of virtual law firms, without fixed offices and often comprised of attorneys in different jurisdictions, will increase.
There are many additional impacts of the Corona Virus on the legal profession which will be revealed as the virus and our responses to it unfold.
There is one significant benefit that arises from this COVID19 disruption:
- Periods of crisis offer both the necessity and the will to create change. As an attorney, you now have an excellent reason to examine your law practice and make major changes in the way you practice law.
- Consider yourself the impact of the virus on the legal profession and on your law practice.
- What negative effects do you foresee?
- What changes do you need to make in your practice?
- What opportunities are there to create a law practice that is more to your liking, that is better able to prosper in the current climate and in the post-Covid19 world?
- The Corona Virus has given you an opportunity, will you take it?
Professional Lawyer Coach