Trends Forcing Change

February 2, 2021

COVID-19 catapulted the world into the future almost overnight. Firms that had a “wait and see” attitude when it came to deciding to take the plunge into new innovations in technology or to ensure they were not vulnerable to security breaches, had a rude awakening in store. There is a distinct concept that sums up how firms unknowingly prepared for the pandemic versus those who were considering a future preparedness plan: strategic partnerships.

The legal industry, whose business model is not traditionally open to remote working, was in crisis management mode when the pandemic hit. An entire industry had to pivot to an alternative way of practicing law. The virtual law firm and remote working trends have taken off in the last decade, with legal professionals forming strategic partnerships, or alliances, to consult on the challenges of collaboration, communication, security, cloud and more. At Konica Minolta, we believe strongly in being a consultative partner. We believe in innovation and standing firm in the tracks of our values, even through difficult times, like a pandemic, ready to provide new value in the face of challenge. For those firms currently in strategic partnership with Konica Minolta, they were likely much better prepared. As for the rest of the legal industry, the mentality of supporting remote work has historically been slow to adapt. What they now realize is that an ally has always been there – all they needed to do was take advantage of it.

At Konica Minolta, we’re continually helping the legal industry Rethink the Future of Work.  And, when it’s time to return to work in the physical workplace / dynamic work environment, we are ready to ensure that it happens safely with virtual health checks, access controls and many other viable variables in place. Herein, I’ll discuss the trends that are forcing change; ones that I believe are here to stay. As part of a strategic alliance partnership with Konica Minolta, we’ll be with our customers every step of the way as we enter a next normal workplace of the future.

Remote Working Is Here To Stay

Law firms are faced with a perplexing situation: empty, expensive, and artfully designed office spaces that were probably designed to impress clients and attract employees from the onset. As of March 2020, the business of work no longer needs to be attached to a physical office space, but rather that work continues to go on successfully, remotely. Many law firms are rethinking the need for costly real estate or renegotiating leases, and are finding out that these cost savings and smaller footprints can be used to take advantage of the many technological innovations, now and in the future. The fact is, many legal professionals are experiencing more productivity with less commuting hours, less distractions and improved quality of life.  Therefore, remote work and flexible work arrangements will now be attractive perks to keep and attract new talent, alongside the need for face-to-face interactions being woven into this “new normal.” Law firms are relying on their trusted partners to perform security and technology assessments. And with their toolbox and knowledge of the many leading software and solutions choices, legal consultants can provide a plan of action that will ensure business continuity, dynamic work strategies and efficiency, resulting in a productive work-life after COVID-19.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Models

Prior to the pandemic, for many law firms, cloud and SaaS solution discussions were a part of future strategic plans. Even with the attractiveness of accessibility, updates to the most recent and compliant versions of software automatically, ease of scalability, business agility and automatic data backups, this was still not enough to proceed with making a change. Those law firms ahead of the game found that key alliances with partners like Konica Minolta and All Covered help with the challenges of implementing SaaS along with data migration, address concerns of data loss, and work to instill ethics and security best practices. The pandemic further proved that when the office doors are forced shut and data is no longer accessible in-hand, the “future plan of considering SaaS” kicked into high gear and became a main topic around the “water cooler” that was no longer there. Data accessibility via cloud is here to stay.

Agility Business Models

Over the last few years, much has been written on “agility,” but what does that mean now in the face of a pandemic and to the legal industry specifically?  The fact is that agile firm leaders need to understand the impact not only on employees, operations and core business, but on how economic uncertainty will impact the future.  Law firm leadership needs to forge key alliances to bounce ideas off of and keep up with the current and future trends – all while facing financial insecurity. Agility is crucial for law firms, for cultural change, technological innovation, openness, to keep and attract talent, and most importantly, to be able to pivot during a crisis.  Agile business models are here to stay. Konica Minolta’s broad portfolio of legal services and solutions is future-ready. We will continue to ensure our customers are prepared now and for the future.

Here for GOOD

As you can see, there are many trends that are here to stay and lessons learned that are still evolving over the last year. One that stands out as very profound: successful agile leaders in legal respond and accept that changes in their environment are inevitable. They seize opportunities, review old models while developing new ways of doing business – all while keeping customer needs and their growth at the forefront. This mindset is ripe for forming trusted alliances with partners to help serve their customer base and support their evolving firms, as well.

Zina Motley-Weaver, SAFe Agilist, PMI-ACP, PMP
National Practice Manager, Legal & Finance

Zina Motley-Weaver is responsible for the legal and finance vertical go-to-market strategy. Nationally supporting both the Direct and Dealer Sales Channels and global initiatives with marketing, training and sales enablement tools, spearheading initiatives to drive innovative technology, solutions and services. She develops internal and external creative ideas that increase industry brand awareness. Zina holds a master’s degree in law and governance with a concentration in legal technology, compliance and regulations and several industry project and agile management certifications. Zina enjoys refinishing antiques, gardening, volunteering and hiking in the mountains of the Southwestern United States.