A Virginia Lawyers Weekly article titled “Using data to analyze COVID-19 impact on law firms” by Maura Mazurowski, highlights a recent interview with Sharon Nelson and John Simek of Sensei Enterprises.
On Monday, March 9, most attorneys went to work as usual. No one predicted that by Friday, March 13, they would not be returning to their law firms for months to come.
“Basically, in just two weeks we got booted 20 years forward from the traditional practice of law,” said Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, a digital forensics, information technology and cybersecurity firm in Fairfax.
COVID-19 has had a monumental impact on Virginia legal practices. Attorneys suddenly had to adjust to working from home; in-person client meetings transitioned to phone calls; mediations began taking place via web conferences and electronic notarizations became more widely acceptable than ever before.
For a while it seemed that these “unprecedented times” would return to normal by June 10, the day Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home executive order was scheduled to end. Although businesses are reopening and society is slowly phasing back into public interactions, COVID-19 seems to have created a “new normal” for all, and the legal community is no exception.
“The landscape is shifting for law firms,” said John Simek, vice president of Sensei.
Returning to the office
Nelson and Simek have reviewed a range of data to gauge both the immediate and long-term impact COVID-19 is having on businesses in Virginia and nationwide.
The Society for Human Resources Management (“SHRM”) conducted a survey in June that found 45% of workplaces don’t have a return-to-work date. Another June survey by CNBC indicated that many companies expect 50% or more of their employees to be coming back to workplaces in September.
But Nelson isn’t so sure, especially after Google’s announcement last month that they would continue to allow their employees to work from home until July 2021, delaying a return to the office originally planned for the end of the year.
“For large firms, one of the things we’ve heard is they’re in the race to be the last to reopen. You open up too fast and people get sick, you’re likely to get sued.”
— Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises
Read the entire article here. (subscription required)