The business environment has not been the usual since the pandemic in 2020. Uncertain economic conditions and divisive politics have contributed to a tumultuous 2021, particularly for legal firms specializing in litigation. Some new litigation patterns have come up to deal with the conditions post the pandemic, and all law firms expect the same in 2021.
According to the annual Litigation Trends Survey by Norton Rose Fulbright, a global law firm, almost 200 corporate counsels from US-based companies were polled on dispute-related challenges and concerns. According to the survey, 31% of corporations have witnessed an increase in litigation due to COVID-19. Except this 45% expect a rise in pandemic-related lawsuits soon. Furthermore, one-third of businesses find themselves more vulnerable as victims of discrimination and social justice challenges, directing them towards action or devise inclusion policies with vast diversities in mind.
Covid-19 is a catalyst for technological advancements in the legal industry
The law practice is constantly evolving with technological advancement, with Bots catering to clients using voice search in internet-based research. From document analysis, research, litigation assistance, billing, due diligence, contract drafting, and even jury screening, Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominates human work staff for several tasks in the legal sector.
Lawyers use upcoming virtual reality facilities to explain ideas in courtroom situations, collaborate with clients, and teach new lawyers. As a result, cybersecurity and digital data privacy have become the topmost priorities for law firms in 2021.
Non-attorneys are also incorporating the latest technological aids to provide services that were previously available only to lawyers. This disaggregation of law-based labor to low-cost platforms will stay. Law firms must invest in cost-effective technology, reduces risk, and boosts efficiency. This will help law firms to mitigate risks and gain a competitive edge above the rest in the industry.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the jobs of legal experts and displacing individuals in the litigation arena who undertake repetitive tasks with highly skilled professions.
Furthermore, the rise of the freelancer and the side hustle has resulted in a far more dispersed workforce. This allowing employees to work from home and employers to enhance their business.
Virtual litigation support services have become very common with remote working in the legal business, with law firms migrating both back-office and client-facing services to the cloud. These significant market trends will continue to reshape the legal workforce over the next year and beyond.”
The pandemic due to COVID-19 will continue to have a significant impact on litigation and data management. Most of the courts do not conduct in-person jury trials. Covid has transformed the way litigation is currently handled.
A few of the modifications in litigation due to Covid are listed below.
Since the pandemic outbreak, most law firms are using ‘Zoom’ for all depositions. This has both- advantages and disadvantages. On the bright side, neither of the parties will have to travel. On the downside, nonverbal clues are difficult to detect on a screen. Overall, depositions on Zoom are a fantastic idea that will be around for a long time. It’s a great way to expedite most cases while lowering the time and cost of traditional depositions.
During the pandemic’s uncertainty, courts have issued emergency administrative orders halting in-person sessions and allowing video conferencing in civil and criminal cases, which are continuing. As a result, clients and attorneys must now decide whether to attend a virtual trial through Zoom or postpone a pending case forever across the country, spanning all nations and continents. Zoom trials are a fantastic way to keep the legal process on track.
Mediation is an essential part of the legal process. Despite the COVID-19 limitations, mediation continued to take place, with remote resolutions for disagreements. Mediators, like the courts, have also embraced the latest technology. They are now using remote video link providers like Zoom and Skype to provide their services.
Rather than a hearing, mediation lends itself to more straightforward conduct. Since it is frequently less formal and consists of a shorter duration. In addition, because there is no need to travel or reserve a place, remote mediation can save time and money. In the future, mediation through remote channels may become the norm, with parties opting for under-person mediation only in extraordinary circumstances.
The pandemic has caused law firms to adjust their business practices. Law companies have adopted the latest technology for all legal services and operations to settle more cases with minimum resources. Law firms have been compelled to change at a much faster rate than they would have been if not for external factors. Pay cuts, remote working, and such other requirements have resulted in the law firms rapidly adapting to the changing trends in technology.
The changes that have come about due to the pandemic since 2020 are expected to stay and rise in 2021 to challenge legal firms. However, as the pandemic ends gradually, there is a hope that many law firms would stick to the experimental and continuous improvement essential to maintain business growth.