The effects of COVID 19 on the legal industry

Updated: May 9, 2020

Words by Eyitemi Adeniyi

The recent pandemic has created uncertain and unusual times. Many businesses are currently facing the economic effects of the shutdown. However, across the sectors, the effect of the pandemic is felt differently. We examine below the impact of Covid-19 on 3 practice areas of law. Although the pandemic has caused uncertainties in the way these sectors do business, it also means that law firms who specialise in these areas of law are busy at the moment trying to navigate the impact of the pandemic in a way that allows them to advice and support their clients.

Employment Law

Employment Law is an area apart from health that we can see the direct impact of the pandemic. The Coronavirus Act 2020, for example, sets out requirements that certain employers must meet during the pandemic. Since a considerable portion of the working force is working from home, some employers are faced with uncertainties on how to deal with their workers. Uncertainties arise from how to deal with employees who have been exposed to the virus as well as dealing with their workforce who need to work from home. Employers need to gain advice on what they can ask of their employees in these uncertain times and understanding how to manage the workforce.

Cyber-security and privacy law

Cyber-security and privacy have seen a rise in demand. As mentioned previously, employees working from home create issues relating to data security and protection. Being forced to work remotely means that more employees working on their computers are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and phishing scams. According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and the US Department of Homeland Security, cybercriminals are scanning for vulnerabilities in software and remote working tools as more people work from home during the pandemic. Clients want to ensure the security of the remote set up of their employees.

Insurance law

Insurance recovery is also an industry that has been deeply impacted by the virus. The insurance sector works only when a few people or businesses have a loss, but when everyone has the same loss at the same time, it has the potential to cause bankruptcy in the industry. Due to the government-imposed lock downs, many events have been cancelled, and businesses have been disrupted. This creates a problem for insurance lawyers to solve. Businesses want to know if COVID 19 counts as one of the circumstances that activate a pay-out considering some of the policies put in place by the government. There is a spike in advice on insurance claims as well as a combination of claim work, and there are also uncertainties in the near future of what this can hold. The issues with insurance will take longer than the lock down to be resolved.