“The introduction of the virtual firm”

Due to the Covid-19 expansion over the planet, most businesses have started working online. Sectors like law, accounting, banking and others have been particularly operative, as most of the work can be done virtually.

The legal profession is facing several changes and what some firms might see as a challenge, others may actually welcome as a bright opportunity for modernization. The new reality opens the gates for the introduction of the “virtual law firm”. The lawyers that grasp this concept sooner than later shall be the ones that get into action faster than anyone else.

Aside from the litigation attorneys, that are currently inactive due to the closure of courts, there are several legal sectors that are getting an increased demand in their services, due to the approach of a possible recession:

1. Employment law: the first legal area that is literally swamped with work is that of employment. Firms get numerous phone calls both from employers, as well as employees, who need advice on how to preserve their rights and fulfill their obligations.
2. Contract law: both physical and legal entities seek advice on how to execute or break free from a contractual obligation
3. Family law: in case of an extended quarantine period family attorneys might be needed for the resolution of divorce cases as well as child custody. There have been numerous reports that after an extended lockdown period, several countries, such as China, have recorded an increased amount in divorces. In addition to that, during the lockdown period, there are parents that do not get to visit their minor children who have their main residence at the other parents home, which causes disputes and consequently, the need of a family attorney.
4. Bankruptcy law: a legal sector that has been very much in demand during all recession periods.
5. Corporate law: corporations, as well as physical persons, shall now start to seek stability for their finances. Attorneys working in financially stable markets shall adjust to a quick and effective virtual process, without the need of the presence of the client. In many countries administrative organs have been operating fully online for years, while signatures and stamps are submitted virtually.
6. Tax law: the possibility of a financial recession may change the world economic panorama. Both corporations and high income individuals shall seek to move their tax residency to stable market territories with favorable taxation systems. Attorneys practicing in those jurisdictions shall get very busy.
7. International law: the virtual reality and globalization unite countries and bridge borders. Cross border activity is now more real than ever and the need in attorneys competent in several jurisdictions, both in the corporate and litigation sector, will be the new golden boys of the profession.
8. Litigation: when the Covid-19 crisis is over, the courts shall be overwhelmed by the amount of disputes, bringing the litigation attorneys back into the game.

Since the rules of the game seem to be changing rather unexpectedly, a smart way to create business continuity and growth may be the following:

1. Set up of a virtual firm; the website and the virtual cloud space must be accessed easily and operate effectively.
2. Introduction of new communication ways with the team and the clients; internet conferences, emails and instant messaging from the office platform must be available during the working hours.
3. Maximization of enquiries; an online database for clients is highly effective. Quick responses are crucial.
4. Constant update of all social media platforms. The entire world is currently online for the most part of the day, so information update is more necessary than ever.
5. Operation of an online payment system through PayPal or any other trusted platform.

The dynamics change, the world is changing. Now, more than ever, it is highly recommended to make good use of every tool and not only adapt, but also prosper!

The present article is for informational purposes only and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. For information on legal matters, please contact our firm and one of our attorneys shall be glad to assist you.

N. Kalifatidou
Advocate – Legal Consultant
Arsen Theofanidis LLC