In March 2020, many attorneys wondered what impact the Covid-19 epidemic and resulting financial difficulties would have on their practice. A new universe emerged which included fewer new clients, social distancing, employee quarantines, and video meetings. Government programs including the PPP funds helped ease the financial blow.
Leading management consulting firm McKinsey & Company predicts that law firms will emerge better than most other sectors. In an online article, they point out that law firms usually out-perform the rest of the economy in an overall downturn.
Common sense will tell us that that law firms who provide services to industries most negatively affected by Covid-19 may continue to suffer. The need for legal services in industries like aviation and hospitality will likely stay in decline for some time; meanwhile, legal services for family law, labor, housing, construction, and health care should increase.
If you had to make staffing and other operational cuts during the pandemic, build back carefully. Add resources as variable costs and limit new fixed costs.
Author and New York University professor Scott Galloway, in his book, Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity – believes the Covid-19 pandemic will serve as an ‘accelerant’ for trends that were already occurring in society and business. Trends that law firms experienced include Fee flexibility for clients; Use of virtual communication; and Managing a remote workforce. Re-evaluate these areas and see how you can incorporate them into your ongoing operations and programs to be more effective.
Some attorneys found that the past year was a good time to focus on projects that will set them up for long-term success. One attorney in Houston we spoke with used the time to completely re-tool his marketing program, learning methods to improve his search engine placement and social media presence. He is already seeing positive results as we slowly emerge from the pandemic.
As business owners, we need to remember that out of crisis comes opportunity. Return to that “start-up” mentality you had when you started your business. Look actively for new opportunities to leverage your experience and skills to increase your value to your industry and your clients. Use new tools and technology to run your business better. With the right focus (and a bit of luck never hurts), you can make this pandemic period a necessary bump in the road in your journey to long-term success.