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How are Canadian Lawyers Adjusting During COVID-19?

November 19, 2020 • Canadian Regulation

people wearing masks looking at paperJust like any other firm, in any other industry, Canadian law firms have been faced with critical decisions since the onset of the pandemic.

They weren’t just making decisions for themselves but also helping their clients navigate through an uncertain economic climate.

For many law firms, some of the key areas of concern were (and still remain) secure communication with clients, long-term cost management, and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Though, there is a silver lining in all this.

According to McKinsey, law firms perform better in downturns than the overall economy. Data shows that during the past three downturns, the global financial crisis of 2008–09 was the only one that resulted in a decline in aggregate Am Law 100 revenue.

So, how can law firms and lawyers adjust to the changing economic climate? We share some of the things lawyers are doing to ensure the success of their clients as well as their practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leveraging Technology

In-person hearings and consultation services are being impacted as COVID-19 cases start to rise again. This is why many lawyers are increasingly leveraging online platforms such as Zoom, Teams, and Skype to provide their services.

Though, video calling solutions and online sharing of information do increase security risks, particularly if confidential information is being shared.

So, it is critical for organizations, in the legal space, to have appropriate cybersecurity plans in place. Plans that factor in additional security threats arising from information sharing and remote working. It is also equally important to work with partners who take cybersecurity seriously.

For instance, at Teranet, all financial transactions on our portal are secured using Secure Socket Layers (SSL) – with a minimum of 40-bit encryption. Additionally, our servers are protected by sophisticated firewall hardware and software. Firewall logs are regularly monitored to ensure that firewall security isn’t compromised.

Focusing on Client Communication

Another key area that lawyers are focusing on is client communication. While communication is important during normal circumstances, it becomes even more critical during a pandemic.

As the situation is so fluid and things are changing every day, clients require swift feedback and guidance.

Similarly, as their budgets may be constrained, providing them with greater cost certainty can help strengthen long-term relationships. You can look at fixed or capped arrangements or a custom contract that aligns fees to the outcomes achieved.

Helping Clients Pivot

In addition to focusing on communicating with clients, lawyers have also been helping clients review their current policies and adapt them to meet the requirements laid down by provincial and federal governments.

In times like these, it is important to help clients perform an internal risk analysis to identify all potential ‎risks and develop strategies to prevent any future issues. Similarly, a review of all contracts, customer service policies, and employee safety standards and protocols is also critical.

Given the rapidly changing COVID-19 ‎circumstances, access to timely and accurate information has never been more important. As you work with changing regulations and evolving client needs, we are there to provide you with the most up-to-date data and support.

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