Challenges Facing Contemporary Law Firm
The post-pandemic era has introduced a number of challenges for all professions, including the legal industry. Moreover, many of these represent paradigm shifts, the impact of which will become permanent aspects of the legal landscape.
Let’s take a look at some of the challenges facing contemporary law firms.
The Rise of Remote Work
Many people who had to work remotely during the quarantines were pleasantly surprised to learn they could be just as productive at home as they could commuting to an office every day. On the other hand, this also led to people working many more hours than before because the work was right there at home with them.
This has created work/life balance issues.
Fortunately, no-code workflow software has made it easier to automate approvals and assignments. This can make collaboration more readily accomplished—even when a team is spread over a wide geographic area. Legal teams can receive requests through platforms such as Slack and Firms. Audit trails can be kept for request changes, approval histories and messages. These benefits can make working more efficient and eliminate bottlenecks, which can help mitigate work/life balance concerns.
The Great Resignation
Nearly one in five lawyers left their firms in 2021, according to a report from the International Bar Association. Survey respondents cited desires for better pay, improved work/life balance and more satisfaction in their work. The study also found many respondents preferred remote work, including meeting with clients virtually.
Additionally, the report cites concerns from young lawyers regarding barriers to their career progression such as balancing commitments, insufficient mentorship and a lack of promotion opportunities. Law firms as well as in-house legal departments must be prepared to address those concerns if they are to attract and retain top talent.
Increasing Demand For Services
Many law offices are dealing with increased workloads, even as 20% of their lawyers are leaving for greener pastures. This has resulted in rate increases as well as offices turning down work.
Firms and in-house teams struggling to meet this increased demand will experience problems in the near future. Even if it isn’t currently a problem at your firm, taking steps to ensure it doesn’t become a problem is worthwhile.
Reevaluating your processes in an effort to streamline them and looking for ways to leverage technological advancements to your advantage is highly advisable. Again, there exists a host of legal management software capable of automating processes, increasing your capacity and helping you benefit from the growth in demand.
An Inflationary Economy
While the economy does seem to be improving as of this writing (February 2023), inflation remains at the highest level it has been in four decades. Key to surviving in an economy of this nature is finding ways to maintain your competitive edge, even as you work to enhance the capabilities of your office.
Key to this endeavor is finding ways to entice the best and brightest talent to join your team. As mentioned above, this means finding ways to address concerns contributing to “The Great Resignation.”
Instituting competitive compensation packages that go beyond money is a solid step toward this end. Offering the right package of perks can be a tipping factor when you’re competing for talent. Even better, this can also save you money in an inflationary environment.
Shoring up your finances with aggressive debt management, investment, and savings initiatives is also a smart thing to do. Offering clients alternative payment options can be helpful in this economy as well.
These are four of the key challenges facing contemporary law firms. However, it’s useful to remember that challenges bring forth opportunities for improvement. The tips offered here can help your team adjust to these concerns and stand out as being an agile, flexible and creative organization.