Survey finds COVID-19 has significantly shrunk demand for legal services

77 per cent of respondents have experienced significant impact to day-to-day operations

Survey finds COVID-19 has significantly shrunk demand for legal services

A recent survey by cloud-based legaltech provider Clio has illustrated the widespread impact COVID-19 has had on the legal industry but found a few silver linings for practitioners.

Generally, Clio found firms have been experiencing a decline in business, with a 30 per cent decrease in the number of legal matters opened weekly since the beginning of 2020. Fifty-six per cent of respondents reported a significant decrease in requests for legal help, while only 14 per cent of respondents reported a significant rise in business. Overall, 77 per cent of surveyed legal professionals said that there has been a significant impact to their day-to-day operations.

The survey also found 38 per cent of respondents say going through a remote hearing, as opposed to with an in-person hearing, would negatively affect the outcome.

According to Clio, a provider of cloud-based legaltech, the results of its survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the legal industry may help firms and legal professionals address their consumers’ obstacles to seeking out legal assistance and adapt their operations and services accordingly. Clio added this report is the first in a series of briefings that it will be releasing over the coming months.

Jack Newton, Clio’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said that there has been “no indication that the need for legal services has subsided during the pandemic, but for many people, dealing with them right now isn’t top of mind.”

Even so, Clio said that public perception of legal professionals is still positive, with 78 per cent of respondents opining that the work of lawyers is an essential service, and with 20 per cent stating that lawyers are more relevant now. Thirteen per cent even said that they expected to deal with a COVID-19-related legal issue.

Clio highlighted the importance of technology in these times, for both consumers and lawyers. Among consumers who responded to the survey, 69 per cent said that they would prefer a lawyer who shares documents electronically, and 58 per cent said that they would prefer meeting a lawyer via videoconference, if they were to hire a lawyer within the next two months.

Among legal professionals who responded, 83 per cent called cloud-based technology necessary for survival, while 69 per cent opined that technology is even more important now, after the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The second half of 2020 will test many law firms, as they could face increased workloads while dealing with public reluctance to go to physical offices, creating meaningful bottlenecks in the legal system,” said Clio in a news release.

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