Delivering Legal Services in a Post-COVID Era - My Outside General Counsel

Whether our temporary normal — that of social distancing, teleworking, and distance learning — becomes the new normal once the crisis passes remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however: the novel coronavirus pandemic has left an indelible, lasting impact on how we work and how we conduct business. Everything from restaurants, to airlines, to retail stores have had to rethink the way they serve their customers and clients.

Law firms, too, will have to rethink and strategize the most effective (and safe) way to deliver services to their clients. Not generally known for innovation or rapidly embracing change, firms will be forced to consider new ways of doing business by, for example:

  • Embracing technology to support remote-conferencing with clients
  • Incorporating new tools and dashboards that accommodate digital document requests, approvals, and executions — including e-signatures — which enable instant and more efficient recordkeeping than the traditional paper formats
  • Creating channels for quicker responses to client inquiries via secure instant messaging, chat applications or other online portals
  • Developing an internal and external communication plan that includes a variety of formats, like email and dynamic web content, for example, to update clients and staff about current or future changes as a result of new or ongoing restrictions.

Transforming the Entire Model

Some experts believe that this current economic downturn will hit law firms hard as their clients reduce legal budgets and rethink the legal services they require. To remain competitive, firms must reinvent how they deliver services, and do so in a way that provides equal or greater value to their clients while simultaneously keeping the costs for those services reasonable.

Firms need to ask themselves: Are they really providing value to their clients? Are their internal processes and procedures set up for maximum efficiency? Is the billable hour model still the most effective way to provide legal services?

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout, Eno Martin Donahue & Roth, LLP had introduced an innovative, complete legal solution to help small to midsize businesses afford the legal services they need: My Outside General Counsel™ or “MOGC.” Unlike traditional law firms’ unpredictable, by-the-hour billing, this subscription-based model is completely transparent about its services and fixed, monthly costs. Further, because experienced business attorneys also have wealth of business knowledge and negotiating expertise, MOGC includes business and negotiating advice, in addition to legal advice, in its tiers. This is especially important to clients in these times of uncertainty when health regulations, government guidelines, and stimulus programs are changing rapidly. MOGC clients can pick up the phone any time for advice, without starting the clock. (Read more about MOGC here.)

All firms will need to figure out how to more efficiently provide legal services in the new normal, but MOGC is already there. Teleconferencing, video meetings, remote document signings and other virtual consultations may be new for some firms, but these are built into the MOGC model. And an online document portal allows clients to access their legal documents safely and securely without having to come into the office or even contact their lawyer.

It’s impossible to predict the long-term impact of COVID-19 on law firms but one thing is clear: firms that don’t adapt will be left behind. Clients will demand it.

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