A Pandemic Like No Other
COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. The virus grew from a new illness to a worldwide pandemic that has claimed the lives of thousands within a few short months. Cities and countries around the world closed their borders and sheltered in place.
The way we’ve conducted ourselves on a personal and professional level has shifted. Even now, as cities and countries everywhere are starting to reopen, we have not returned to what life was.
For many, including lawyers, work is very different than it was pre-pandemic. Here are three ways that the pandemic has changed the job of an attorney.
1. Reality is much more virtual.
With the dangers of being around people, in indoor spaces, life went virtual. The courts closed. Office spaces closed, too. Everything went virtual, whether through the use of Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or any other conferencing platform.
The virtual effect of the pandemic manifested itself in two ways for lawyers. The way attorneys conducted business changed because offices closed. Instead of meeting with clients in person, you now had to solely make phone calls, use email, and video chat to communicate. Also, many attorneys no longer had an office shared with others in their practice. For attorneys, the ability to discuss cases with coworkers and get feedback may be an integral part of their day. Now, this kind of interaction happens virtually. Those who went into offices had to adjust to working from home.
What does this mean for the future? For many lawyers, remote work was never an option. Now, people see that it is. Will employees be required to return to the office, or is this paving a new way of life?
The final way the virtual takeover has affected attorneys is in regards to court. Courts closed, and this has caused more delays in an already backlogged system. Trials are either pushed back or held virtually. While it is great that we have the technology to make this possible, virtual hearings come with their own set of potential mishaps. Hearings with a lost internet connection, distractions in the background, and other technical issues have happened throughout this pandemic. For lawyers, these technology-related considerations are now an important factor to take into account when preparing for hearings.
“As we continue to soldier through this, figuring out ways to adapt is the most important thing to do until this is all behind us.”
2. The laws may have changed.
Depending on what area of law you practice, the laws may have changed to accommodate the pandemic’s effects. The most notable example of this is in housing court. Most states around the country passed eviction moratoriums, resulting in landlords generally being unable to evict tenants. For housing attorneys, when the moratorium is lifted, the courts will be busy with eviction lawsuits. In the meantime, there are still battles between tenants and landlords without the threat of eviction.
3. Business has not been as usual.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy as a whole. Most businesses are not pandemic-proof, resulting in layoffs across the board and record-high unemployment rates. Conversely, your law practice may have benefited from this pandemic depending on your practice areas – divorce rates, for example, have gone up 34%. For others, keeping business afloat and figuring out how to stay connected was the top priority.
Looking Towards the Future
The effects of COVID-19 are still present around the world. For lawyers, there are many ways that it has changed their job. As we continue to soldier through this, figuring out ways to adapt is the most important thing to do until this is all behind us. One of those ways to adapt is by signing up with LegalQ. Attorneys need a pipeline of new clients to grow their practice, especially in the aftermath of this pandemic.
LegalQ is a platform that enables attorneys to get paid for helping users get the legal advice they need to move forward with confidence. It is entirely virtual, making it easy to sign up and provide consultations. Join LegalQ to begin growing your practice today.
By: Joanna Smykowski
Supplemental data measuring the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“US Divorce Rates Soar During COVID-19 Crisis”, Legal Template.