Not many will be sorry to say goodbye to 2020. The year has bought rapid change that few were prepared for and has changed the way we live and work. It has been the year that most would like to forget, however, there have been developments that we should learn from and keep. The Solicitors Regulation Authority chair Anna Bradley, speaking at the SRA compliance conference in November commented on this: ‘People think of the legal sector as stuffy and old-fashioned and slow and actually the sector and all the attendant bodies like ourselves have responded fast and shown themselves to be flexible – we should all be proud of that. ‘I think we need to stay that way. I really hope people don’t wake up [at the end of the pandemic] and say ‘right we can go back to the old way now’. That would be a travesty – we have been through such a difficult time and we really need to bag the benefits we’ve achieved and frankly, we need to keep the pace of change up.’
Rapid change has been made, in part, due to the majority of office workers having to work remotely, many have not been back to the office in over 9 months. The LexisNexis Bellweather Report in July outlined that on the whole people were welcoming the new remote working. However, the latest report suggests that after 9 months of working from home the cracks are beginning to show. The study cites three main coronavirus-related concerns: the impact on staff morale and wellbeing (58%) — especially for those firms with six or more fee-earners; maintaining a client base for the future (34%); and the impact on efficiency (25%). Further, 46% of respondents said miscommunication or insufficient communication was a problem for staff working from home. Though a majority found their working hours more flexible, a third said they were working longer hours and stress had worsened for 45% of respondents. Overall, 43% said their morale and wellbeing was worse, with only 13% saying it was better. Working from home is probably here to stay but more likely than not in a hybrid form of both remote and office based working. Almost two-thirds (65%) of solicitors would like to work from home long-term, mainly part-time, with most (69%) saying their work quality had either stayed the same or improved since shifting to home-working. LawCare chief Elizabeth Rimmer said the findings in the report reflect the mental health charity’s experience during the pandemic. “The number one reason people are turning to us for support with living and working during the pandemic is the deterioration in their mental health with social isolation being a key reason for this. The flexibility of home-working can bring great benefits but the regular day-to-day social interactions with colleagues is missed by many of us — the informal checking in, the chit chat, the five minutes to run something past a colleague; and this is particularly tough for those that live on their own. It is challenging to keep team spirits up and maintain good communication when we can’t see each other in person.”
Rapid change has also been seen in the world of lawtech. As a result of the pandemic sales cycles of IT products to law firms have shortened this year, according to a Law Society-backed report. The Global Legal Tech Report is based on responses from 61 suppliers. The Global Legal Tech Report is the world’s first and most comprehensive study into the legal tech industry and the people behind the businesses. Backed by partner legal tech associations across the globe and industry-leading research partners, this first-of-its-kind survey is designed to help law firms, legal tech businesses, investors and other relevant parties comprehensively understand the booming sector.
Redbrick Solutions are part of this booming sector with our collaboration with Coadjute. Via blockchain, Coadjute enables digital connectivity between property businesses. The platform will allow estate agents and conveyancers using the dezrez, dezrezlegal, MRI Software, Reapit and Redbrick Solutions softwares in future to view a transaction’s progress and status, receive synchronised alerts, and share messages and documents rapidly and securely. This will enable them to conduct the transaction faster, more securely and hopefully making the process easier for the conveyancer whilst also improving the client experience.