The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has changed the way we all live, but for law firms it has also served to accelerate many three years into the future, according one consultant.
Firms are being forced to make ‘next-generation’ changes that will give them a competitive edge, says UK Crowe business advisory partner Ross Prince.
Law firms, in particular small to medium-sized firms, have been working on step changes to their businesses, including the use of agile technology and remote working, but the pandemic has advanced that thinking significantly, he said.
“However, the timescales for these change projects have been compressed by the pandemic, with firms surprised at how much they have been able to achieve when circumstances forced them to ‘get on with it’.
. . the resilience of law firms will be tested by significant drops in revenue, with further rationalisation of small to medium law firm as – quite literally – the penny drops.
“Indeed, it feels like we have shot three years into the future. It’s a great time for firms to capitalise on this inertia and make those next-generation changes to their business model that will give them a competitive edge.”
He noted that in his geographic area, the UK Midlands, the COVID-19 situation had made a dramatic change to the growth firms had experienced prior to the pandemic.
“Those that were either already set up for, or moved swiftly to remote working will have sustained earnings in certain market sectors, notably employment advice and family law.”
He said that the resilience of law firms will be tested by significant drops in revenue, with further rationalisation of small to medium law firm as – quite literally – the penny drops.
Prince added, that creating a medium sized firm out of a number of struggling smaller firms was not necessarily a valid route forward.
“Inevitably, in some cases, there will be cherry-picking of good teams in specialist areas rather than wholesale mergers or acquisitions.
“A clear business plan and understanding of how to implement it is vital if law firms are to navigate through what are, undoubtedly, going to be stormy times for the industry. However, COVID-19 has given teams a shot of confidence in their ability to make change and that is an opportunity not to be missed.”
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