October 28, 2020 Business of Law

The Pandemic's Dramatic Effect on the Business of Law

How has the coronavirus impacted the legal industry?

By Daniel S. Wittenberg

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the legal industry. Since the pandemic resulted in shutdowns across the country, law firms have rolled out various cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, pay cuts, furloughs, and shortened summer programs. Given the generational influence of this circumstance, it behooves us to take a closer look at where things stand in the business of law.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the legal industry

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the legal industry

Credit: Angkana Kittayachaweng | Getty Images

Shrinking Demand for Legal Services

Overall, law firms have seen a sweeping decline in new matter creation. According to a recent report from Clio, the number of legal matters opened each week from surveyed firms has declined over 30 percent since the start of the year. The report also revealed that 56 percent of law firms saw a significant decrease in requests for legal assistance. According to Jeff Grossman, head of business development at Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, “one in five firms said demand for their services dropped 20% or more in April.”

Per the Clio survey, one reason firms are seeing a slowdown has to do with consumer attitudes toward legal problems. Roughly half of the respondents stated that if they had a legal issue, they would very likely delay reaching out for legal help until after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, while 22 percent reported that they were under the impression that lawyers have ceased offering legal services completely.

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