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Essay Competition: How do you think the legal sector will adapt to life after Covid-19?

By 31st July 2020One Comment

@HarrysLawLife teamed up with Kissoon Carr to hold an essay competition. Participants were asked to write a 500-word essay titled; ‘How do you think the legal sector will adapt to life after Covid-19?’

We had vast amounts of excellent entries, making it extremely competitive. The essay that stood out to us most was that of Hadiyah Shah. We featured Hadiyah on a minisode of the Legally Speaking Podcast so she could tell us more about her legal journey and entry.

You can find Hadiyah’s essay below:

Business models are often centred around predictions and trends, and yet Covid-19 demonstrates that there will always be unforeseeable events, which will defy the mathematical and scientific scope of prediction. Therefore, the legal sector must embark upon a radical reshuffling and reshaping of its models, legislation and processes in order to successfully adapt to life after Covid-19. Commerce and law are inextricably linked, and the economic assault caused by Covid-19 has forced many businesses to go into administration and insolvency. Such matters are mediated by the law, and of course, law firms will be needed to navigate these issues. Ultimately, law firms are businesses, which use the simplest of models, that is, supply and demand. If there is a decrease in clients and case load, then revenue generated also decreases. Moreover, if businesses have been forced to optimise, reduce operating hours or collapse and call for insolvency, then the demand for services in the legal sector will decrease, and in turn there will be a decrease in revenue generated. We can anticipate an increase in optimisation in the legal sector, which means cutting costs, or in other words, fewer employees. Perhaps there will be an adjustment to clauses liked forced majeure, or such clauses will become more common.

 

We can expect the legal sector to have grasped the importance of utilising technology since the pandemic has resulted in a mass increase of remote working. The legal sector may struggle to adapt to life after Covid-19 unless there is a major investment in an online programme. Remote working is in contradiction with billable hours, and there needs to be a standardisation of productivity, which can still be maintained outside of an office. Remote working involves accessing online platforms, such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, the Cloud and Google Drive. However, such software is prone to cyber-attacks, and given the delicate nature of certain aspects of law, maintaining client confidentiality and data protection are of the utmost importance. Therefore, I would advise that the legal sector invests in their IT department to ensure that remote working, if necessary in the future, is defended against cyber-attacks. Having worked from home, some employees may find the idea of commuting to the office unappealing, and firms will need to accommodate such preferences. Any work that can be efficiently and effectively carried out remotely or digitally should be done so,  as it could reduce operating costs. The Courts must commit to the digitisation of court proceedings wherever possible. We should not forget that the legal sector also involves educational institutions. A traditional law degree is valued more than an online equivalent; however, there must be a change in attitude, especially since the 2020 cohort of prospective lawyers will have CV’s saturated with virtual vacation schemes and internships. The legal sector must embrace the unknown, and the challenges ahead.

The other top essay entries were that of Amy Weir-Simmons, Bethany Brown, Maia Crockford, and Thalia Sheriff Horner. You can read them all using the links below!

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