2020 has certainly been a year like no other. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the legal industry was profound, with law firms halting in-person operations, companies implementing hiring freezes and in-house departments facing new legal challenges.
Flexible, scalable legal solutions like ours have been a perfect fit for the pandemic’s uncertainty. This year, Priori has seen unprecedented growth in activity on our platform. Client spend is up 200% over 2019, with Priori network attorneys fulfilling more client projects than ever.
Given the unique nature of this year, organizations will be weighing what 2020 trends will end with the pandemic and which ones are here to stay. As this year winds to a close, here are three flexible legal services trends we think will continue into 2021.
Lawyers and Firms Will Connect with Clients in New Ways
The pandemic brought not only a remote environment that was new to many workers, it invited lawyers to rethink their business development methods and the ways they connect with clients. Brick-and-mortar law firm offices laid vacant as lawyers focused on delivering effective work for clients via technology.
Perhaps as a result of attorneys’ openness to new models, Priori saw significant growth in attorney onboarding in 2020 over last year.
Now that many lawyers have discovered they can land high-end corporate clients via technology-driven marketplaces, we think more lawyer participation will be inevitable. Covid-19 acted as an accelerant for our platform to grow across geographies and practice areas, and we expect this to carry on as satisfaction with technological marketplace models continues.
More Overflow and Temp Legal Support
Overflow and temp projects on the Priori platform increased as a percentage of platform projects between Q1 and Q4 of this year. Legal departments were, understandably, making fewer permanent hires in the pandemic, and temporary and overflow legal solutions like ours filled the gap.
The distinction between overflow/temp support and project-based work is that temp/overflow augments a legal department’s workflows in a different way than does project work. The fact that more legal departments mastered hiring ¼ or ½ of an attorney for temp/overflow presents an opportunity for organizations to mix and match expertise and use talent flexibly in ways that weren’t envisioned before.
In many ways, relying on outside help for temp/overflow can be more challenging than siphoning off project-based work, from onboarding, workflow and culture perspectives. Now that organizations have grown accustomed to working with outside counsel for overflow and temp support, we expect to see these types of engagements continue to grow on our platform, as the hiring cycle for legal departments will likely remain disrupted for a while.
Secondments of attorneys to legal departments--that is, attorney assignments for full time work--were also up on our platform over 2019. Since the pandemic began, all of those engagements have been conducted remotely.
While we know that the workforce will (at least partially) head back to the office, we anticipate that legal departments will continue to take advantage of a global talent pool by considering remote candidates. The fact is, we’ve all simply learned how to work remotely, and organizations have an incredible opportunity to continue to realize efficiencies and capitalize on distributed talent.
Follow our blog for more legal industry trends, or connect with us to discuss how Priori’s global attorney marketplace can help your business.