While the year 2020 was marked by uncertainty and instability, 2021 offers many industries the chance to adapt and recover. Almost every industry had to adapt their practices to meet client needs and law firms were no exception. Many of the trends that have been occurring slowly over the past few years suddenly saw themselves on the fast track. When it comes to the field of law, what makes an innovative law firm in 2021? There are a few trends to watch.
Agility with Legal Services
With safety precautions required during the pandemic, lawyers had to increase their comfort levels by providing legal services using virtual appointments. They also had to provide information virtually as well. Clients have indicated that these virtual appointments are also convenient for them, indicating that they will likely continue. Legal services which continue to offer flexible scheduling remotely will be in a good position for client satisfaction in 2021.
Designing the Client Experience
Client expectations are always shifting and law firms need to be aware how those needs are changing. As the Law Society reports, client-centred law firm design focuses tightly on this experience. The focus for the average client today is flexibility and transparency in pricing with the traditional meeting in an office space being least important. This innovation is anticipated to continue long after the pandemic.
Expansion and Innovation in Virtual Work
Law firms are going to be seeing less office space requirements in the coming year. However, the focus will still be on productivity and profitability and the drivers of those areas. This will likely lead to heads of hybrid to ensure that work is completed as needed and develop the collaboration needed even when working from home. Individual needs are going to be a factor. However, even the best tools won’t replace an in-person office environment.
Disruption will Lead to New Business Models for Firms
Uncertainty is always going to lead how performance and compensation measures are evaluated. Since the pandemic demonstrated that much of a law firm’s structure and model is actually a choice rather than a necessity, management teams will be reviewing staffing models. It’s likely that outsourcing will increase. Additionally, it’s likely that some law firms will go under while others will emerge, prepared to deal with the current challenges.
Technology Adaptation Acceleration
Although many of the technology advancements were anticipated to hit the market in 2025 or even 2030, law firms and most other industries weren’t able to wait. The timeline for legal industry transformation was drastically changed. Creative service delivery as well as partnering models unlocked significant value. Legal processes will be fine-tuned with the goal of reducing overhead and in-person services. These changes are currently occurring and legal firms wanting to stay competitive will make these areas a priority.
While the trends and themes of the past year have been challenging to many firms, they also show great potential. With an increasing emphasis on innovation, law firms that are able to adopt these innovative trends can be more effective and competitive over the coming year.