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Robert Holms* The legal environment has indeed adapted to the new normalcy of the pandemic and its stay-at-home policies. These measures may be a silver lining for the typically traditional legal world, which is now embracing the benefits of a more modern approach to law. Everything has changed not just for these couple of months but for the foreseeable future.
New learning opportunities have arisen. Many areas of law see a considerable increase – unfortunately, divorces cases are expected to peak in a similar way to the Christmas effect, legal professionals will change the way they work while certain skills are now considered desirable.
New Law Areas are Booming
Our society has changed over the course of a few months, and there’s no surprise that with changes in the world comes changes in law, particularly areas that are more important than ever.
The legal profession is already seeing new areas of law continuing to emerge in 2021, along with several more traditional areas of law on the rise.
The workplace has changed, and so employment law will soon include more cases of workplace disputes over remote capabilities, safe working environments back in the office and employer’s responsibility regarding the second waves and future pandemics. Employees will have to adapt to flexible working hours while employers will be accountable for these new practices. Other areas of law that may experience growth are legal tech with a great need of litigation, digital solutions, with plenty of businesses in disputes with clients over delays and cancellations.
Privacy and cybersecurity cases are set to dominate 2021 and maybe years that follow. Legal professionals consult with businesses on how to create a culture of privacy and security through regulatory compliance programs. These lawyers assist their clients with how to apply strategies that meet legal requirements, represent them before regulatory agencies, and act as crisis administrators during incident response to diminish loss and make sure the business adheres to the law.
Data shows just how imperative this area of law can be: the average cost of a company data breach is almost $150 million. Because of the likelihood of commercial and economic ruin, businesses must be extremely cautious in protecting their data and respond immediately to reduce the damage in the event of a cyberattack.
Reports show just how imperative this area of law can be: the average cost of a company data breach is almost $150 million. As a recent IBM report showed, the cost to business of data breach can be immense.
Because of the likelihood of commercial and economic ruin, businesses must be extremely cautious in protecting their data and respond immediately to reduce the damage in the event of a cyberattack.
Divorce Attorneys Will Be Busy for the Next Year
It’s common that divorce attorneys are usually quite busy after the winter holidays, but the lockdown we’ve all experienced has led to a super-charged Christmas effect when it comes to relationships. According to Baumgartner Law Firm, divorce cases are set to surge, and the need for family law is booming, giving way to more opportunities for new law hires interested in Family Law.
A recent ABC report quoted Susan Myrers, President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers who said the surge in divorces was what her lawyers were hearing across the country.
With social distancing measures still in place, proceedings may take longer, while family-run businesses may experience a secondary effect for years to come.
On the other hand, the number of proceedings will continue to surge in family court after seeing an enormous rise at the beginning of the pandemic. Family attorneys will also have to deal with the uncertainty and stress most clients have been put under during lockdown and how that will impact outcomes and settlements.
The “New Normalcy” of Working
2021 seems to be an exciting time to enter the legal industry. Currently, the industry is seeing an upturn, much like most of the world, and soon-to-be lawyers will be a part of a newly legal industry.
Law students waiting to become fully mature attorneys won’t have to struggle with the idea of change or adapt to old systems, behaviours, traditional ways of working – instead, they will be part of a new system that can influence radical and positive changes in the industry. Work from home and social distancing policies have led to a new dynamic in the workplace. Our coworkers have already adapted to remote work conditions, and therefore, the dividing line between our professional and personal lives has become blurred. For soon-to-be lawyers, that means that hierarchies in law agencies will become more flexible.
Companies will emphasize emotional intelligence, customer/client focus and the ability to adapt to the latest technological developments in order to meet the new demands of their clientele. More law companies will implement flexible working schedules in order to balance their personal life with work in a way that the legal world has rarely seen.
Tech-savvy Employees – More Important than Ever
Today’s businesses work with people from varied age groups, each doing justice to their role, and together they drive the company towards collective success. In times of uncertainty, it becomes imperative to implement newer and more enhanced technologies that aim to transform the workplace into a more lucrative environment and therefore they need to turn from tech-shy to tech-savvy.
Future law workers will need to prove they can work with a large variety of software and hardware with flexibility and show the digital know-how from the application procedure forwards to contribute to a larger use of current technologies. Soon-to-be lawyers will also have to overcome potential challenges for companies in specific areas like finding a new way to attract clients, maintain business profile and build lucrative relationships without using traditional networking means (events or hospitality) because social distancing it’s even more expectable.
This will lead to new opportunities for law students to distinguish themselves entrepreneurially and technologically by finding more creative and tech-orientated solutions.
Law Students are Showing Resilience
The new normalcy with all its uncertainties is giving law students time to utilize this as an occasion to become more flexible than ever before and demonstrate their resilience to potential businesses.
In these uncertain times, gaining job experience and networking has become an ardent issue. Soon-to-be lawyers who are still finding new ways to adapt are proving to future employers that they can exceed limitations and are showing great potential even during a pandemic.
Robert Holms writes on legal and business affairs for a number of publications and law firms, and may be followed on Twitter.