Adaptable. Optimistic. Even innovative.
These aren’t words often associated with the legal profession. Lawyers, after all, have a bit of a reputation as change-averse, tradition-bound, even tech-phobic. I won’t trot out the hundreds of articles, essays, and books on the law’s reluctance to innovate, but there are enough to fill a library.
But it is just these characteristics—adaptability, innovation, the ability to leverage technology—that pulled the legal industry successfully the trials of 2020 with resounding success.
That is one of the key takeaways from Logikcull’s just released 2021 Corporate In-Housing Survey: COVID-19 Update. The survey sheds light on just how the legal profession has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the challenges organizations have faced and the successes they’ve achieved.
Gathering insights from 60+ organizations, including, for the first time, law firms and legal service providers, the report paints a surprisingly positive picture after an incredibly challenging year.
Legal professionals by and large say they were able to adapt quickly to the pandemic, with 70% of survey respondents saying their organization’s response was a success, allowing them to adjust to new requirements quickly and with little disruption.
Corporate legal departments were particularly inclined to respond positively, with 83% of corporate legal professionals characterizing their response as a success—and absolutely none saying they experienced significant disruption or difficulty as they adapted to the pandemic.
Across the board, adaptability, technology, and organizational leadership were behind the successful responses from corporate legal departments, law firms, and vendors alike.
Of course, it has not all been positive. Legal teams continue to struggle with limited resources and increased workloads. Indeed, an increased workload was the most commonly cited business impact, followed closely by reductions in internal and external spend. Seventy-eight percent of corporate respondents, for example, say they experienced increased workloads due to COVID cutbacks, while a third of all respondents had cut both external (34%) and internal (35%) spending.
Interestingly, while organizations of all types praised their response to the pandemic, the 2021 Corporate In-Housing Survey shows a significant divergence in expectations for the future. In-house legal teams are much more likely to view the changes of the past year as permanent, while their law firm peers largely expect a slow return to the pre-pandemic status quo.
These split results show both a difference in perspective and mindset, and warn that the innovation implemented over the past year could be fleeting—at least for those organizations that don’t fight to keep them.
Download your copy of Logikcull’s 2021 Corporate In-Housing Survey: COVID-19 Update to see the full results, including in-depth insights on budget, hiring and technological adoption, expectations for long-term change, and characteristics of successful COVID-19 response.