By Nathaniel Doughty
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began, many businesses have seen a slump in their productivity, with many members of staff having to work from home, and many more not working at all. Some companies however, like toilet paper companies for example, will be seeing a surge in profits and production.
The law sector has seen an increase of interest from clients since the pandemic began, with many people seeking out lawyers for a multitude of reasons. Some are seeking advice regarding employment, whereas others have had issues with landlords or financial issues. It has been reported that most clients are interested in either amending or creating a will.
Although the lockdown means all offices are shut, law firms can operate from home without much of an issue. Jaquie Timmins is the Head of Office at Pinsent Masons and specialises in pension law, she says that working from home is easier than ever with technology and social media at our disposal.
“When I qualified in 1991 nobody had a computer, it was unheard of, working from home was impossible. Mobile phones were in their infancy. So the ability to go online, and link up to all these different websites today is wonderful. So especially through the corona virus pandemic, its important to be able to work wherever you are. Even though I may have to work from home, I’m fully operational with my computer and my iPhone.”
So with law firms almost fully operational, it has been business as usual for the most part, apart from the increased interest in certain areas. With the death rate climbing still, the pandemic has caused many to be concerned over their morality, hoping to create some sort of safety net for their families if the worst does in fact happen.
Although the virus is more fatal to the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, many younger, healthy people are worried about their future. So people in their 30s and 40s are attempting to create a will before any tragedy strikes.
People are still not overly keen to trust lawyers however, Jaquie says, with many clients seeing them as a kind of necessary evil.
“If I could reach back to my younger self I would say its important to recognise that a legal service is a distress purchase for a lot of people, they don’t want to spend their money on legal advice, they have to. So you must demonstrate your value and do your best to help them.”
Making the client feel comfortable and in the loop is very important, and compassion is essential especially in these times of confusion and panic.
“Its really about winning them round. Because people can be, not hostile, but they don’t hold you in high regard. They’re looking at the cost of what they’re buying. So being robust and resilient is important as often times you’re not exactly flavour of the month. You’re there to win their confidence and support them”
So although lawyers are often looked down at by some, and are often distrusted, they are important in times like these to clients when we may need a bit of support or advice.