Some thoughts on some positives which have come from 2020/2021.
Lawyers, like everyone else, were and continue to be much affected by COVID19 as to how they interact with the societies in which they live and which they serve.
From what I have seen, lawyers have adapted better than many service providers with interactions relevant to maintaining provision of services and, indeed for some, expanding the type and range of services provided.
Whilst lawyers and the legal profession are often criticised for poor communication, primarily with clients, it strikes me that is actually because “communication” is the core of a lawyer’s role that the legal profession has been able to maintain and, for some, expand the provision of services during this Covid 19 era
Yet, if one looks back, the legal profession has relied on its ability to communicate and adapt to choose new methods of communication for centuries. The acceleration and diversification in relation methodologies in the last 18 months of Covid 19 is just a manifestation of the efficacy with which the legal profession does this.
The speed and efficiency with which the Court system that adopted to a less physical meeting environment is such that, long-term, I imagine the future will bring savings in many types of litigation, as less “physical” court appearances will be required for preliminary and ex parte litigation steps as well as some substantive hearings.
For myself personally, I found my first ex parte application hearing held in an electronic sense to have been one which was much more efficient and cost-effective than a conventional physical Court application.
The proliferation of systems for document drafting, review, amendment and execution have potential both to save clients’ money, reduce time taken and so expedite transactions.
On-screen meetings have well and truly proven themselves in many areas of practice, though each system used has its own quirks.
Legal education, at all levels, has thrived in the “virtual” environment.
The use of social media to engage with clients, at least in initial stages of an engagement, has, for me, proved something of unexpectedly effective novelty.