You are here:
11 May 2020 / news

Law firms reinvented in the face of COVID-19

Like all businesses, law firms are facing the coronavirus crisis. Business continuity, in the clients’ interest, requires exemplary coordination and constant technological innovation, and therefore a successful digital transformation.

The coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly the most serious crisis of our generation in terms of health impact, as well as economic and financial impacts. The global economy is at a standstill for an indefinite period, and the health crisis is testing the policies set up to ensure business continuity.

 Companies of all sizes must adapt immediately, at the risk of having to drastically reduce the volume of their activities, or face the risk of disappearing. This obviously affects law firms’ clients, as well as law firms themselves, which are sometimes too conservative, for whom digital transformation has not always been a priority in the past. The transition to teleworking should have been immediate with all that it implies in terms of licenses, hardware, remote access guaranteeing security and confidentiality.

Adapting to clients more or less impacted by the crisis

We note that, among the clients of Loyens & Loeff, some do not seem to be affected by the current crisis. This concerns "Fintech" projects in particular, such as online platforms or the creation and support of companies using DLT/Blockchain technology or artificial intelligence. For these clients who most often need a mix of corporate/commercial/tax services, the strategic priorities established several months ago have not changed. They expect their lawyers to form teams with the same set of skills and to deliver the same quality of work, within the same deadlines, regardless of the working environment, the restrictions in force or the place from which services are rendered.

the crisis has created a large number of legal challenges concerning the application of some specific contractual provisions, related to labour law or health law, thus creating an unexpected additional workload.

For other clients, particularly in construction, the sites have not been accessible since mid-March, affecting more than 30,000 people. One would therefore expect that the use of outside counsel, advising the parties involved in real estate projects, would slow down. However, the crisis has created a large number of legal challenges concerning the application of some specific contractual provisions, related to labour law or health law, thus creating an unexpected additional workload.

A challenge to take up towards a long-term transformation

In order to seize these opportunities, law firms must already have carried out a self-examination and aligned their business model with generational evolutions, initiated digital communication and determined the paths, objectives and obstacles to innovation to redefine their strategy and positioning on the relevant markets. Without this strategic thinking, Luxembourg-based firms can expect to lose market share, week after week, for failing to adapt to the needs of their clients during this period of health and financial crisis. In times of crisis, coordination of law firms’ activities must be perfect. We need to lead our clients by example.

Pursuing digital transformation, for an international law firm such as Loyens & Loeff, first requires the global implementation of an IT infrastructure based on mobility and offering functionalities allowing one to access client files and safely hold virtual meetings. Mobility increases the risk of cyber attacks, and the investments required to eliminate - or at least reduce - this risk are substantial.

Law firms cannot afford to stop innovating, and the health crisis is forcing us to offer new, more tailored and competitive services targeting new markets.

Firms also need to optimise their efficiency in delivering legal services, for example by improving internal processes (KYC, compliance, processing large amounts of information, etc.) and by exploring new communication tools emphasising the human aspect of contact with clients (legal podcasts, webinars, etc.).

Law firms cannot afford to stop innovating, and the health crisis is forcing us to offer new, more tailored and competitive services targeting new markets.

Will we return to our old habits once the crisis is over? It’s rather unlikely. The time saved by teleworking and the work-life balance, when performance and productivity come together, have forced us to constantly question our achievements, in the light of the latest technological innovations and a revamped future.

 

First published in Paperjam (in French).



Business meeting between two men - Article ASA Marquais

Considerations for Third-Party Litigation Funders in Luxembourg

Litigants seeking financing to bring forward or defend a dispute may now contact over thirty professional funders read more

De hoofdlijnennotitie uitwerking pensioenakkoord

De hoofdlijnennotitie uitwerking pensioenakkoord is veelbelovend. Op de juiste wijze invaren is echter een voorwaarde voor succes. Voor de conclusie ”invaren... read more

Legal considerations for businesses during the coronavirus outbreak in Belgium

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact the daily lives of people around the world, the priority for companies remains, of course, the safety of their... read more