The COVID-19 pandemic caught us all by surprise as we entered 2020. But in many respects CIOs were ahead of the curve with their adoption of modern technology infrastructures and collaborative tools. For many law firms the rapid move to home working occurred as a relatively smooth transition despite a few days of panic. This was confirmed by BlackBerry who support over 50% of leading UK law firms. Delegates were at different stages of infrastructural renewal, but all appeared to cope well with the sudden transition:
The move to distributed working has posed relatively few technical issues but has surfaced problems in areas such as work-life balance and not being able to execute legal processes through the courts. The absence of juries has curtailed many criminal trials.
The current routine of constant Zoom calls leaves little time for social banter or informal knowledge exchange. This could have negative effects on close knit partnerships. Productivity remains a concern as it is more difficult to track home workers. However, there is much to be learnt from other sectors such as IT where remote working has been in place for many years. Given its lead position in secure mobile communications, BlackBerry has long encouraged its own staff to work in a distributed fashion.
COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the practice of law, as well as offering genuine opportunities for the future. Here are some observations and predictions made by delegates:
With a shared belief that neither the legal or any other profession will return to where they were in 2019, which steps should CIOs consider to deal with this new uncertain reality? Read the full article available in our app exclusively for CIONET members and join the conversation!
This article was written by Roger Camrass, director of CIONET UK and a visiting professor of the University of Surrey, and is based on the conversations during a virtual lunch session ‘How to cope with remote working in turbulent times’ sponsored by BlackBerry in May, 2020.