Skip links

The new normal; lawyers working from home!

A question we are often asked is how we are managing to cope with Coronavirus… it’s the start of most of our conversations! Like so many businesses, we have had to adapt to the changing circumstances.

But here is where we differentiate ourselves from so many of our competitors. As a technology led legal business we have transitioned to remote-working seamlessly, ensuring that our clients and professional partners have been unaffected in our service delivery.

The modern law firm

The impact of Covid-19 has been acute for so many of us. A return to the traditional ways of working are, for now, disrupted.

In this period, it has been important to ensure that as a business you have remained accessible to your clients; whether that be by email, phone or video call.

If you had tried to organise a video call 6 months ago we suspect that you would have had some very sheepish responses.

Now it is almost standard. In fact, there is an element of overkill. “Zoom fatigue,” as one client described it to me.

But video has fulfilled an important role during this period. They say a picture paints a thousand word. Studies show that we remember about 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we read and 80% of what we see and do.

Here at legalmatters as we move into a “new normal” or working, we still see face to face has a major part to play in our business, but equally video has become a big part of our outbound communications. It enables us to work from home, to be in contact with our clients, and critically with our partners with whom we continue to have strong relationships.

The practicalities of remote working

Many law firms have been superficially prepared for Covid-19 for some years. The regulators have clamped down on a perceived failure by law firms to prepare appropriately for the worst-case scenarios and enshrining Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery within the regulatory requirements.

Even then the reality can often be different.

The speed at which Covid-19 moved caught so many businesses on the hop with phone redirects required, mail redirects (or a rota of office attendees whose responsibility it was to collect the mail daily, scan it and circulate it to the relevant teams); the list goes on.

Appropriately prepared businesses have set up their IT systems in such a way that staff can simply pick up their computer and go home with no disruption to their work schedule.

Internet powered VOIP phone systems, remotely accessible case management systems, secure VPN’s for remote staff and internal instant communication tools like Microsoft Teams can enable staff to work from anywhere they have an internet connection.

Although the truly paperless office remains elusive, forward thinking firms are now paper-lite; ensuring that relevant paper documentation is scanned and stored electronically.

It’s a programme we have embraced at legalmatters; committed to continuing to innovate and enable our staff to work from anywhere, with no disruption to the services we provide.

Ensuring your data is secure

Like many businesses across the UK, law firms are continually under attack from criminal organisations operating online. To put cyber risk into context, businesses are 15 times more likely to have a cyber incident compared with fire or theft.

Frighteningly, once they have gained access, a criminal will typically monitor activity for a period of time before making their move. The average length of time fraudsters wait is around 100 days.

The attacks vary in their sophistication. In some cases, fraudsters use social engineering to convince a staff member to reveal sensitive information, like login details, or in some cases transfer funds.

In one case a fraudster was able to convince a cashier that they were calling from the bank to discuss some unusual activity on the account. The fraudster then advised the cashier to transfer funds from one account to another to “protect” them, an action which resulted in the firm being defrauded of a five-figure sum.

Most attacks are conducted by email, designed to infiltrate the law firm’s online operations, delivering viruses or ransomware to disrupt online systems. Ransomware will encrypt files and even lockdown whole networks rendering them unusable without a master password. They then demand a ransom in exchange for this password to decrypt the files.

While there is a risk of a “it wouldn’t happen to me” attitude toward this, research has shown that one in six businesses surveyed in a cyber risk preparedness survey paid out to ransomware attackers in 2019. And the average cost of a cyber incident has risen from £8,000 in 2018 to £47,000 in 2019.

We don’t send sensitive or private data without appropriate security measures. .  We have systems that tell us when communications have originated externally, even if impersonating an internal sender and we train all personnel on the many and various ways that criminals try to infiltrate businesses.

When choosing who you work with in business, it’s important to ensure that you’re working with partners who understand security of data, or information transmissions and confidentiality.

Choosing your partners carefully

Here at legalmatters we work with many financial advisers, wealth managers and accountants throughout England and Wales; we’re set up to work collaboratively to the benefit of the end client… we’re an extension of your business, combining great financial and legal advice

If you are interested in working with us please contact Lucy Thomas on 01243 216901 or email her at lucy.thomas@legalmatters.co.uk.

For more like this, Follow Us on Twitter or LinkedIn or sign up to receive “legalnatters” our regular news, views, and updates service for our Professional Partners.

Leave a comment