The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is hitting the health, financial welfare, political stability of countries across the globe. The decisions our governments take in the next few weeks and months will shape our future to a large extent. The impact of the pandemic is so significant that it will be measured in terms of ‘before-COVID’ and ‘after-COVID’ nomenclature. For sure one day the virus will cease to exist, leaving behind a trail of hardships while bringing a lot of changes in the world we inhabit and the way we live.
All businesses – from manufacturing and information technology to food and legal – have been adversely impacted. The entire legal ecosystem will likely undergo a seismic shift in the way it operates. Law firms can expect a surge in work after normal life resumes as all the markets have been upended, supply chains have been disrupted, and companies will seek ways to back out of contracts or prevent deals from falling apart. And all of this is fertile ground for lawsuits.
The Supreme Court in the US has canceled all oral arguments for April due to health threats, whereas certain courts and legal services organizations have gone digital and are working remotely. This is a change that will probably remain in some form in the post-COVID world as well.
What’s in store for legal service providers?
Legal service providers will be challenged to restructure since organizations would want to employ service providers who can deliver high-quality services at a competitive price.
Contract management: The pandemic and resultant lockdowns in most countries will result in delays in the fulfillment of contractual obligations across nearly every industry. Organizations will want continuous assessments of their contractual provisions, specifically on the potential routes for discharging the commercial arrangement, particularly force majeure. Legal service providers can expect to be called upon frequently for help in terms of reassessing and reviewing the various clauses in their contracts.
From construction contracts to manufacturing agreements, there are a wide variety of contracts that will be affected by the spread of COVID-19, which would lead to an accidental and immediate delay in the performance and fulfillment of the contractual obligations.
Parties to contract both nationally and internationally would want to continuously review and asses their contractual provisions for seeking proper rights and obligations, specifically on the potential routes for discharging the commercial arrangement or contract, particularly force majeure. In the post corona world, organizations would employ a lot of legal service providers to help them sort with the issues of contract management which would undoubtedly be humongous, to re-assess and review the various clauses in the contracts.
Document review: The post-COVID world is likely to experience a wave of lawsuits globally. Hospitals, restaurants, and hotels may face claims stating they didn’t take satisfactory measures to protect people. Shareholders can sue businesses if they fail to act efficiently in response to the epidemic. Insurance companies can expect a rash of lawsuit from companies looking for some cover for their losses.
In fact, some cases have already been filed. The pilots’ union at American Airlines Group Inc. sued the carrier to stop it from serving China, while the city of Costa Mesa, California, sued the US government to halt the transfer of quarantined cruise passengers to a state-owned facility there.
Such cases mean a huge surge in the volumes for document review, where legal documents will need to be analyzed and annotated. This is where LPOs can come to the rescue, as they are specially equipped to handle the document review process efficiently. It will benefit AI-powered document review tools in particular since they can help save time and thus easily scale up the volume of documents analyzed.
Legal service provider’s with a global footprint, scalable workforce, and delivering capability will be well-suited in the post-COVID world to help solve the unpredictable legal problems that are likely to arise.
How Cenza can help:
Our team of attorneys and paralegal are highly competitive and provide the highest quality of service, by implementing best practices and best-in-class processes. Our state-of-the-art infrastructure and cutting-edge legal technology, combined with our flexible and transparent engagement model have been providing strategic value to our clients for more than two decades.