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The COVID-19 challenge is unprecedented, both for the economy and for aspects of the legal system. Law-firm leaders must prepare for a wide range of scenarios, the likelihood of which will depend on the effectiveness of both public-health- and economic-policy interventions.
The legal profession, in Nigeria is not insulated from these worries. For instance, it has been suggested that on account of Covid-19, Nigerian lawyers and law firms may lose up to 30 to 35% of their projected revenue this year and in the several months to follow; that the firms may consider staff “rationalization” or a reduction of already meagre salaries. It is also said that clients will become more aggressive in fee negotiation; and reluctant in settlement of agreed fees; and that there might be an embargo on hiring, promotions, salaries increase, bonus payments and several others.
While some of these concerns which affect the very core of the profession’s survival may be real and should keep us thinking, we should pause for a moment and look at the positives (however minimal) that the Covid-19 pandemic might have brought to the legal profession and more importantly take inspiration from previous downturns.
Looking at past downturns provides lessons for law-firm leaders to consider. Statistics have shown that
- Law firms weather downturns better than the overall economy does.
- Economic downturns do not directly translate into a decline for transactional practices, as market difficulties, regulatory responses, stimulus programs, changes in employment, and other stressors provide potential sources of demand for legal services.
- Downturns accelerate long-term secular trends.
- Some law firms handle downturns much better than others do.
In weathering the Covid-19 storm, it is vital to start reducing risks by adopting technology-based solutions to make existing business activities more able to adapt. Yes! Change is hard but it is also inevitable.
Those who survive are those who are able to adapt – quickly. Those who recognize that the playing field has changed and they need to change their game to win.
Do you know what to do and how to adopt technology in your practice? We can help you if you’ve got any questions. Send us an email: [email protected].