🎗️ Why Covid-induced legal changes are expected to stick 

After the financial crisis in 2008, many prognosticators suggested the legal industry was due for a shakeup. But the shift wasn’t seismic, aside from a few lean hiring years at big firms and a temporary downswing in business. 

During this new time of crisis, the ABA Journal has surveyed legal experts yet again. And this time they think more significant changes will endure. 

  • The Great Recession led to financial turmoil: But it didn’t force companies, firms or judges to change their daily habits. Coronavirus has upended all of society, preventing many of the face-to-face meetings previously considered necessary.  

  • Technology was forced upon the legal world: Client meetings, depositions and meetings have all gone online. Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Nathan Hecht said it would’ve taken years for courts to adopt such practices under regular circumstances. 

The biggest changes could be regulatory

As we discussed earlier this summer, nonlawyer ownership of legal providers could become a reality. Experts now believe the movement toward this change will be expedited by Covid. Why? Because legal services are expected to rise so greatly in the ensuing months and years that regulatory change will be required to create greater access to justice.   

The Verdict 

Jennifer Leonard, Penn Law’s chief innovation officer, said the legal field has never gone through anything like it has in the last few months. She described it as a disruption of “every single component of the legal system.” 

And when disruptions are that wide scale -- and mandatory -- they’re more likely to last.