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ANALYSIS: Coronavirus Has Firms Weighing Risk, Opportunity

March 16, 2020, 4:07 PM

As the world economy falters, some law firms are positioning themselves as Covid-19 crisis response experts.

There have been numerous articles, press releases, and social media postings commenting on how law firms have been handling Covid-19 concerns by closing offices and increasing remote work. We expect to continue hearing about the impact that the new coronavirus is having on law firms, including discussions about how it is impacting legal hiring and staffing levels.

Now that initial risk-reducing responses are under way for many firms, they are turning to the other side of the equation: revenue-creating responses. Several large firms, including Alston & Bird LLP, Baker Botts LLP, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Blank Rome LLP, Morrison & Foerster LLP, and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP have announced the launch of Covid-19 resources and crisis management tools. Included in the advertised offerings is information related to quarantine regulations and requirements, contract issues such as force majeure clauses, employment issues, and regulatory filing deadlines and requirements. There is even a Covid-19 survey being circulated by Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Whether the significant impact this pandemic is having on businesses worldwide will result in a renewed focus on often-neglected crisis management plans and reinvigorate specialty legal practice areas is yet to be seen. If, however, crisis management plans finally take center stage, such international firms are positioning themselves for leading roles. Even if crisis planning does not pick up over the longer term, decisions to tackle specialty coronavirus issues could help stabilize law firm workflows through this period of economic uncertainty.

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