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How COVID-19 Is Impacting Legal Businesses Across The US

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impede the economy and business as usual. Law firms are not left out. Many of them are trying to embrace technology to continue to run their business. At the same time, they are grappling with the big questions of how to use technology moving forward, promote sustainability, and continue to offer legal services to their clients.

In this article, different attorneys share their thoughts on how they have been working prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, how their law firms are dealing with the new normal, and their expectations for post-COVID-19. 

Dennis Sawan, of Sawan & Sawan on how things have been prior to Corona in technology concerning using WebEx, Zoom, etc.:

“So we were already using that to some extent because we’re licensed in four states – Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida. So it was sort of necessary for us to have some remote capabilities and we anticipate that this is going to be the type of thing that we’re going to need a lot more.”

Dennis Sawan – on how the clientele reacted to the use of technology in their practice? Are they embracing it or they reticent:

“I think it depends. I think a lot of this is probably based on age demographics. So younger clients are much more accepting of that. Still, a lot of people just want to see the person that they’re working with face-to-face. So it’s been challenging, but we’ve signed up new clients during lockdown orders and we’ve been able to work remotely with minimal interruption.”

Abe Cohn, of CLG Legal, on if he’s been using technology in the last 90 days and if people like it:

“I would say it’s undoubtedly been valuable, although that doesn’t necessarily mean people like it, unfortunately. People prefer to have in-person meetings… Traditionally, I have a lot of people coming into my office all the time. Now, that doesn’t exist anymore. So I definitely do a lot of Zoom calls… So definitely we’re in a digital age and law firms, I think, are absolutely embracing it.”

Sarah Anjum – on how things have changed in terms of technology:

“From the firm side, not much has changed. I think we’re very well positioned to go virtual. So my staff is now working from home instead of working in the office but we were already digitizing all of our files… So I think we were in a better position than most firms in my city for the pandemic. In terms of courts, it’s been a learning curve in switching, to some extent to Zoom hearings.”

Sarah Anjum, of The Law office Of Sarah Anjum – on how clientele felt about technology in particular:

“I think they’ve been initially concerned. It’s terrifying to be put in jail and to not know what you’re going to face, and then to have additional unexpected things thrust at them. I think with proper preparation nowadays, they’ve come to understand why we’re doing it. And they’ve been okay with it.”

Sarah Anjum – on how she sees things changing moving forward:

“I think courts have discovered that a lot of the things that we used to do in court in person can be done remotely. I hope that this expands access to e-filing and that some matters that could have taken care of over the phone will continue to be taken care of over the phone. But I would hate to see a reduction of interest in a court hearing. I just think it’s so important for my client to have their day in court.”

Josh Lopez, of The Law Office of Joshua Lopez, on if people have been open to technologies in terms of clients, whether onboarding or existing:

“Sometimes, especially like a new potential client, they do want that face-to-face meeting and they want to see who you are. Just to get a feel for you in person. And some people, despite everything that’s going on, they still want that face-to-face. Other people have been open and they understand, you know, they don’t want to get sick, they don’t want to get their family sick.”

Jack Greiner, of Graydon, on if they’ve used Zoom meetings for some of the client facing things:

“So we currently use WebEx primarily. There is no problem with it. Our IT Chief had some concerns initially with Zoom in terms of security. I think most of those have been resolved… I’ve used WebEx on a lot of my stuff. But I’ve been on a lot of Zoom calls and I feel like Zoom is maybe just a little more intuitive, a little bit more user friendly than WebEx, but only by a little bit.”

Chuck Hollis, of The Hollis Firm, on how much he used technology prior to the COVID situation and if things changed much for him:

“In terms of technology, not a lot has really changed. I belong to a BNI group and we’ve been meeting by way of Zoom since it was either late March or early April… It’s my understanding that a lot of these courts are using Zoom now for these conferences and things. I really hope to avoid using a Zoom as sort of platform for depositions though.”

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S4:E2 ANNA BETHUNE, CO- FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, BRAVE INITIATIVES