2021 has provided businesses with more than plenty of hurdles to navigate. Whilst some companies have thrived and used the pandemic to leverage their work, client facing industries seem to have taken the biggest hit, one of these industries being legal services & legal operations management.
With the coronavirus restrictions businesses were suddenly unable to meet their clients face-to-face and give them the personal customer service experience they were familiar with. On the flip side, it could be said that COVID-19 gave some companies a ‘nudge in the right direction’ in terms of technology use.
But what challenges are legal services facing moving forward into 2022?
Broadband connectivity is the first hurdle
At the start of the pandemic a lot of companies ran tests to see if their internal networks could handle remote workers, but what may not have been considered is if employees' home wi-fi could handle working from home! Not everyone has high speed fibre broadband to get them through their work day, so much so it turns out that the ‘big four’ providers – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, supply nine in 10 households and left many customers disappointed when remote working became the "norm" for non-essential workers.
Is this going to improve in 2022? Unfortunately, it is out of our hands, but demand tends to be followed with supply, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Connectivity issues are the main cause of tricky video conferencing calls. With the only other option being a simple phone call most people have leaned towards providers such as Zoom and Skype, to help them interact with clients whilst working remotely. If you have ever tried to have a video call with a bad connection, you’ll understand the frustration!
Not only this but bad connectivity can affect upload and download speeds, and this can be a huge roadblock for legal operations, who require large file sharing capabilities for documents such as contracts.
But now we are more settled into our remote work life, do legal services still have other challenges still ahead of them in the coming year?
Tech Solutions & Document Exchange
Law firms who may have previously collaborated on work in the office together or met clients in person to retrieve signatures and exchange documents, have now had to figure out a way to do this online securely. This means if they haven’t already, companies need to focus on investing time and money into exploring new platforms that can help them in the day-to-day remote running of their business.
If this is you, to find out how to drive the adoption of new technology within your business, check out our video on ‘How to Drive the Adoption of Tech with Clients’ to learn more.
Training and Development
More than 35% of employees in law said working from home has hampered their training and development. Being in an office environment and having senior colleagues around you is certainly easier to learn than being sat at home on your own. Simple things such as asking questions become harder and replies become slower. People who are learning remotely, need to be instinctive and have the ability to learn on their own.
But on the other hand, has everything about remote working been for the worse? Fortunately, there has been some good to come out of remote work!
More of a work life balance
It’s no secret that lawyers work tirelessly to help their clients, their work hours roll into their spare time often and most firms even provide them with dinner in the evenings when they stay past 7pm! Not only this, but weekends can also be eaten into regularly. So now that remote work has cropped up, it’s not surprising lawyers are enjoying less time commuting or in the office and more time at home.
Talent pool increases
Before remote working, businesses were limited to a certain location when hiring new employees. Now companies are no longer limited to a geographical talent pool as remote work supports people working all over the country. This is great news for companies wanting to hire, but not so great for job searchers as the competition has increased. It’s also opened up the doors for remote working holidays, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, some people could easily work abroad with just their laptop!
Better use of productive software
If remote working hasn’t done so already, it will soon force companies to look into an online solution to fit their remote work and client management. Without being able to meet clients, businesses now need somewhere secure that they can share their documents, instant message and collaborate on projects. Just because face to face meetings have generally stopped, doesn’t mean that the client service standards need to slip. Having an online space to work with your clients efficiently means happy future customers.
To summarise, do we think remote working has improved the legal services profession? It’s hard to say that it has completely improved it but there are definitely more positives than negatives to come from the disaster pandemic. Now that we’ve almost muddled through 2021, 2022 should be a little easier to tackle and a much smoother ride in relation to remote work.