Bellwether Insights 2020: Has the crisis created permanent change to legal business operations?

Bellwether Insights 2020: Has the crisis created permanent change to legal business operations?


“There are decades where nothing happens, and weeks where decades happen.”

The second article in our research series (see the first, here: Bellwether Insights 2020: Could small firms be weathering the crisis?), where we are looking at trends highlighted by our industry-wide research study, Bellwether 2020: COVID-19 and the Legal Industry.


Like many companies, this year our focus has been redirected to the potential impact of the pandemic, choosing to conduct our study a month or two after the crisis first hit.

Due to the timing of our survey, our results benefitted from a view of the pandemic after the initial response had subsided. This means we are able to measure industry sentiment on the more long-term impacts of working remotely – and the longevity of the technologies that support.


Go team legal


The operational response to the crisis was strong, with very few firms needing to adopt drastic revenue-saving measures that are typical of recessions.

58% of firms chose to leverage the government furlough scheme, meaning that redundancies were kept low, with only a fifth of firms planning redundancies when the scheme comes to an end. 


Homeworking is also proving more of a success than previously predicted, as only 16% of firms said they felt they were working at under half capacity compared to previous productivity levels.

Prior to the crisis, technology uptake in the industry was certainly a barrier to homeworking for many. However, post-crisis there has been a widespread adoption of tools – and a 45% growth in firms using teleconferencing software.


Firms are making it work


Despite the circumstances, and more senior members feeling challenged by the use of new technology, firms are largely making it work. So, are the changes here to stay?

Our research showed that around half of respondents felt their firm would permanently change their HR policy. Slightly over half (54%) said their preference would be to work from home on a part-time basis post-crisis. Our study also highlighted that women and Under 45s felt more strongly about this than the decision-makers – though not significantly so. 


A stand-out statistic from the su

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About the author:

Amy leads the content marketing strategy for LexisNexis UK, writing thought leadership and product content for marketing campaigns, insight reports and legal industry magazines. She is an established writer and researcher, having contributed in national publications, such as City A.M. and Financial IT. She is also one of the writers and digital editors of LexisNexis' insights blogs, the Future of Law and the In-house blog.