Overcoming the Challenges Facing Law Firms in 2021

With 2020 behind us and 2021 in full swing, it’s time to consider how your law firm will overcome some of the key challenges it will face as we transition to the new normal of work and life. For many of them, technology may well be the answer.

The legal sector was challenging enough as we moved into 2020. Law firms throughout the UK needed to attract and mobilise the best talent, invest in new technologies and maintain competitive advantage, all with Brexit looming on the horizon. Fast-forward three months, and law firms were forced to add the COVID-19 pandemic to the list.

To say 2021 was a challenging year for law firms is an understatement. PwC’s Annual Law Firms’ Survey found that Profit per Equity Partner (PEP) and average chargeable hours both fell in 2020, potentially painting a grim picture for the year ahead.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Many law firms have adapted well to the challenge of COVID-19, adopting agile working technologies that have enabled them to remain productive and deliver excellent services to clients even whilst operating in such unfamiliar circumstances.

In this blog we’ll take a look at some of the key challenges facing law firms in 2021, and how the effective use of technology can help you overcome them.

Challenge One: COVID-19

We should probably address the elephant in the room first. According to PwC, “81% of Top 100 firms are concerned COVID-19 will stop them meeting their financial ambitions”. Even as bright skies appear on the horizon with vaccines being rolled out to thousands of people every day, it would be naïve to believe that the operating landscape for law firms will go back to ‘normal’ in 2021.

How Technology Can Help

In such a volatile market, capital will remain king as law firms seek to establish the financial foundations needed to ensure operational agility. There’s no silver bullet to overcoming the challenges of COVID-19, but transitioning to a modern cloud-based infrastructure will enhance your firm’s ability to bring in money and adapt to changes in the market quickly.

Book a cloud assessment to get started on your journey.

Challenge Two: Cyber Threats

The cybercriminal community was more active than ever before in 2020, with 91% of businesses reporting an increase in cyber-attacks since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Remote working has left law firms more exposed to cyber-attacks, as cybercriminals have sought to exploit increased attack surfaces with sophisticated phishing, ransomware and denial of service attacks.

How Technology Can Help

Agile working looks to be here to stay, and so law firms will need to evolve their cyber security approaches in 2021 to ensure they mitigate the risk of cyber-attack. Our new report ‘Planning For the Future of Cyber Security Today’ explains how remote working changed the cyber landscape, and how to respond.

Challenge Three: Consumer Expectations

Consumer expectations have been shaped over the past few years by the vast array of technology available to people through their smartphones. People can now do their banking, buy their groceries, book transport and carry out a myriad of other day-to-day activities online, and in 2021 they will expect the same kind of frictionless engagement with their law firms.

How Technology Can Help

An effective contact centre should be at the centre of your law firm’s customer service approach. The best apps in the world will fall flat if the back-end people, processes and technology supporting them are not up to scratch. Six Degrees’ Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) is a comprehensive, reliable and secure contact centre solution that helps businesses boost engagement, collaboration and operational effectiveness to drive customer success.

Challenge Four: Attracting the Best Talent

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the COVID-19 pandemic may actually open up opportunities for law firms to attract the best talent. Agile working allows your firm to access candidates you may not have had access to before, opening up the recruitment market and enabling you to get the very best people working with you.

How Technology Can Help

In order to attract the best talent, your law firm will need to offer attractive agile working arrangements that will meet the expectations of high calibre candidates. The latest Windows Virtual Desktop technology enables IT teams to deliver ubiquitous user experiences no matter where people are working. Check out our recent webinar to learn how Microsoft and Citrix have evolved their VDI technologies.

Challenge Five: Achieve Efficiencies

Whether your firm operates with billable hours or a transparent fee structure, there has never been a greater emphasis on achieving efficiencies that maximise returns. Technology is key to realising these efficiencies: a recent Forrester study found that highly mobile workers, including those moving around within an office, can save up to 1.5 hours per week from better access to voice calling.

How Technology Can Help

The transition to remote working has led many law firms to review and evolve their communication and collaboration tools. A Hays survey found that nearly a quarter (23%) of employers expect to change their communications approach as we enter this new era of work, and over a third (34%) expect to keep using new communication and collaboration tools going forward.

Overcoming the Challenges Facing Law Firms in 2021

2021 will be a challenging year for law firms, but it will also present opportunities to those firms that embrace technology to overcome the challenges they face. Six Degrees is supporting law firms as they transition to the ‘new normal’, enabling them to achieve efficiencies and maintain competitive advantage. Schedule a call to learn how we will help your law firm thrive in the new normal.

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