The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the legal industry particularly hard. Lawyers have retained their work but have experienced a severe backlog of cases and increased deadline pressures. One year later, the industry is recovering well from the effects of the pandemic and more effectively than other industries have.
Case Management Systems
Court systems across the U.S. have faced an overloaded backlog of civil and criminal cases. To reduce their workloads, prosecutors and other court officials are only sending the most urgent and highest priority cases to court.
Some courts have formed case management teams and projects to sort through the clutter. They have created goals for how many cases they want to do each week along with timelines for when to complete their goals.
Legal Software Programs
Most legal assistants now use business software programs to manage their cases. Software is useful at organizing large amounts of data and information. When there are surges in court cases, using advanced software is not an option when it’s necessary to sort through thousands of cases.
Software also helps a law firm to review important business metrics about the impact of the pandemic. These metrics include the number of court cases that have become backlogged, the number of urgent cases, the loss in profits, etc. Overall, technology is needed to overcome the legal industry’s challenges in dealing with COVID-19.
Steady Influx in Cases
The inflow of legal cases in all practice areas has remained high. The number of cases in real estate, wills and intellectual property have increased steadily. This proves that certain areas of law are in full recovery mode, which means that many lawyers are guaranteed work now and indefinitely. Every month, most practice areas are continuing to show increases in new caseloads.
Recovery in the legal field will continue to rise across most U.S. states. When the pandemic first hit, lawyers were required to stay at home temporarily, and cases became backlogged. In most states today, the number of cases have returned to normal baseline levels that were present before the pandemic hit.
The recent pandemic has spurred the American court systems to implement stronger disaster recovery programs. Even so, lawyers, judges and court clerks have quickly resumed going to work. Overall, legal professionals have recovered well from the crisis by learning to manage their time and priorities well.