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Data collected by Clio shows the very real and significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and closures have had on the legal industry. In a webinar virtually attended by MSBA staff, Clio shared its findings based on ongoing research of legal professionals and consumers (members of the public at large). Attorneys in all practice areas and career settings should pay attention to the numbers. According to data gathered by Clio, which is continually evolving, consumers of legal services have a variety of concerns and beliefs based on the pandemic and how it will affect legal issues:

• 77% of consumers agree that lawyers provide an essential service
• 58% of consumers would prefer to meet with lawyers either virtually or over the phone rather than meeting in person during the pandemic
• 52% of consumers said they cannot afford to pay associated legal costs and fees over the next few months; affordability of legal services is more of an issue than it usually is
• 38% of consumers believe that a remote hearing or trial would negatively impact the outcome of a case
• 22% of consumers believe the lawyers have stopped offering services during the pandemic
• 13% of consumers agree that they expect to deal with a coronavirus-related legal issue in the future

Data gathered from legal professionals shows that attorneys in all fields have concerns. As courts have closed and much of the country has been under stay-home orders, law firms have necessarily had to rely on technology. Five to 10 years’ of technological advances have taken place over a mere two months, and the legal profession realizes this is about survival, not just convenience. The numbers back this up:

• 83% of legal professionals agree cloud technology is necessary for business survival
• 69% of legal professionals agree that tech is more important now than it was before the pandemic
• 66% agree coronavirus will impact firm operations beyond the pandemic
• 47% of legal professionals agree they are using more types of technology
• 38% agree they are more comfortable with technology

The pandemic has also impacted the mental health of legal professionals in ways that cannot be ignored. In normal times, lawyers report a high level of stress, and that has increased during the time of COVID-19. According to Clio’s data, 75% of legal professionals have increased stress and anxiety due to the pandemic.

To see more of Clio’s data regarding the impact of the pandemic on the legal profession, go to https://www.clio.com/resources/legal-trends/covid-impact/.