When we wrote our blog on how we expected 2020 to go for the legal sector, we never thought in a million years that COVID-19 would have such a big impact; not just for this sector but for the wider UK as a whole.
Whilst 2019 certainly was a year of uncertainty, 2020 is now set to be even more so. Brexit has faded into the background for the moment, with justifiably bigger concerns over health, healthcare, the economy and how we will come through this crisis – not to mention the lessons learned along the way.
At the start of the year, the UK economy was already facing the threat of a downturn, but with the opportunity for legal firms to take opportunities into the regulatory and consultancy sectors regarding important and exporting. This still holds true, as we are now looking to important vital tests and medications into the country, but a lot of other transactions are now on hold as employees across the country are either working remotely or furloughed until further notice, depending on each unique business’ circumstances.
It’s obviously not just the UK seeing difficulties; law firms have been impacted across the world. There are many that have announced furloughs, wage freezes, pauses on recruitment and even dissolvement as the deepening crisis becomes too much for already difficult financial pressures. You can see a full list of these on the Coronavirus law firm updates below.
Technology has really come to the fore for every sector to address helping workers who are able to work remotely – for example, China’s Supreme People’s Court has moved to using a “mobile micro court app” to hear commercial disputes. All Chinese courts are currently instructed to settle disputes online to prevent people being made to enter the courtroom.
On a lower level, communication apps and programs such as Zoom and Teams are being widely used to allow workers to speak to each other remotely; clients are being advised to use online cloud based sharing areas up upload documents (rather than sending via the post) and of course, the traditional method of picking up the phone is proving invaluable as long as office phone lines can be redirected.
What does the future hold?
Right now, nobody can answer this question with any certainty; not only for the legal sector but overall. With many countries in “lockdown” and developments happening on a daily basis, many companies are only looking ahead to the next few weeks as opposed to months to see how they can continue to trade.
For further updates on how the situation is impacting the courier industry, please see here: https://gofers.co.uk/news/coronavirus-and-its-impact-on-the-courier-industry/