How Covid-19 Is Transforming the Legal Industry

Most CEOs can agree that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated business changes dramatically. Most businesses like online delivery and telemedicine have experienced radical changes worth decades in just a few months. Most senior executives had always prioritized digital transformation. However, the pandemic brought about a wave of change that led to a dramatic digital adoption and maturation.

Industries that were left behind digitally before the pandemic are now catching up with digitally advanced companies. According to a study by McKinsey, digitally mature companies perform better than less mature ones. Another study by Deloitte showed that these companies are also three times more likely to report annual net margins and net revenue growth higher than the industry average.

Definition of Digital Maturity

Digital maturity has to do with customers and how a business can redesign to offer more access, value, delivery speed, choice and customer satisfaction. All these aspects lead to greater brand loyalty and improve net promoter score that increases profitability. The road to digital maturity involves using the following:

  • Efficient technological tools

  • A multidisciplinary, fluid, up-skilled, agile, engaged and empowered workforce

  • Smart workflows

  • Data

A digitally mature company incorporates all business units and individuals to develop a culture of constant improvement. Digital transformation is a continuous process that does not stop and requires a lot of teamwork.

The Relationship Between Digital Maturity and Financial Performance

The Deloitte study continued further to examine how digital maturity and better financial performance are related. Certain key transformation elements, including efficiency, data mastery, customer satisfaction, up-skill workforce, intelligent workflows, product/service workflows, and focus on innovation and growth, were identified. The report called them digital pivots, and mature companies use them to achieve higher performance.

The business environment is rapidly evolving in complexity. The process of digital transformation needs continuous commitment. There are several factors that affect the business, including:

  • Geo-political changes

  • Technological advancements

  • Prospective disruptors

  • Regulatory complexity

  • Skills tools and strategic partners

Digital transformation accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted performance in the legal industry. The industry is now changing and shifting from its internal focus to a multidisciplinary and digital profile that closely resembles a business profile.

The legal buy-sell dynamic is not only controlled by lawyers but buyers as well. The legal delivery system is also controlled by other aspects like access to capital, technology and process. The role of lawyers in the legal delivery system is rapidly changing due to the impact of Covid-19.

Transformation of Law

Legal providers are bound to be affected if their customer base responds to digital transformation since they will demand that they do too. Legal consumers will be forced to require more efficient, collaborative, and cost-effective legal functions.

There is mounting evidence that the global financial crisis accelerated a full-blown transformation in the legal industry. Some of the notable changes include online courts, remote workforces, and distance learning. The Covid-19 pandemic has opened an opportunity for law to do better in terms of education and training, dispute resolution and service delivery.

The pandemic has also exposed flaws in the traditional legal models such as lawyer-focused, labour-intensive and monolithic models. Thanks to technology and process, legacy delivery models did not collapse during the pandemic.

Today, there is no compulsory attendance to courthouses as they can be attended virtually. The pandemic has changed the legal ecosystem making it more fluid, agile, efficient and collaborative. The speed at which this happened is remarkable, and it is aided by a lack of resistance and the desire for effectiveness.

The Evidence

Here is an excerpt of changes in the legal industry accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Utah and Arizona Regulatory Reforms

In August 2020, Utah's supreme court unanimously approved various changes to address the pandemic's challenges in the justice department. The court issued a statement declaring its decision to enable people to look for creative ways to allow lawyers and non-lawyers to practice their services. The Arizona supreme court also made significant changes, including sanctioning non-legal lawyers' licensing, thereby giving them authority to offer limited legal services.

Legal LeadershipóWithout Lawyers

In July 2020, Axiom, United Lex and Deloitte made significant leadership changes. All the new leaders were not lawyers. Capital investment in the legal industry requires more than just a law license. Other factors like technology, process, and digital transformation are more essential requirements in a leader. Nowadays, customers and investors are looking for leaders who have the business knowledge and understand their problems to deliver customer-oriented, multidisciplinary and data-backed solutions.

Law has a long way to go in digital transformation. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the practice, and it not just about lawyers anymore.

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