In association with LawWare: One firm's thoughts in the light of lockdown experience

The first lockdown came on so rapidly that the effect was almost seismic for most firms. Working from home was what happened in the evening and at weekends and only affected the few.

Firms adapted as quickly as they could but for some it was easier than for others.

Here we are one year down the line and many of us haven’t been back in to the office since. So, what does that mean for the office building?

Big shock

Santokh Chhokar, Senior Partner at Chhokar & Co. recalls the onset of lockdown:

“It all came as a big shock to us. You would never have thought that having your abilities to travel and associate freely would be restricted so severely in Britain.”

He continued: “Some of our team absolutely loved the idea of homeworking and adapted quickly. Others were more wary and tested the waters with a degree of circumspection.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that the cloud aspect of our practice management software came into its own. It enabled us not only to carry on our work but also to recognise that a more hybrid solution to the office of the future may be the way forward for us.”

Trial run

Sneddon Morrison were ahead of the game. With uncertainty looming, partner Eric Lumsden and his team trialled homeworking and then implemented it smoothly when the first lockdown arrived. Eric stated:
“Of course, we had teething troubles, but we quickly resolved them and our team hit the ground running. Our cloud-based practice management system and other communication tools delivered the goods for us and the whole experience led me to take a long hard look at whether or not we need all our offices when things return to “normal”.”

Back to the future?

Blair Cadell have a different take on things. Managing partner Andrew Macdonald believes the future of the office is assured:

“Delivering certain types of legal services remotely can be done effectively. However, our practice is a major provider of property and personal legal services which work best with the personal touch, and whilst use of Zoom or Teams video links has its place, in-person communications, particularly for more elderly clients or those with complex requirements, will remain central to our strategy beyond the pandemic.”

Andrew added: “The key issues in our line of work are mutual trust and reliability. Face-to-face contact in an office environment is the best way to cement lasting, personal relationships.

Roundup

Maybe it’ll be back to normal before we know it. Whatever the case, there is no doubt in my mind that the law office of the future will be different. The challenges are technology, communications, recruitment, induction, storage and, if / when these can be dealt with effectively, then perhaps the office is no longer a place, but rather an experience?

More information

To find out how cloud-based legal software can help you plan your future office, contact us on 0345 2020 578 or email innovate@lawware.co.uk

The Author

Mike O'Donnell, LawWare Ltd

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