Following the recent COVID-19 events, how professionals interact with their clients is dramatically changing. From social distancing, the required wearing of face masks to stay-at-home orders, our world looks much different than just a few months ago. But attorneys rely on communicating one-on-one with our clients to best understand their needs and provide the best legal service possible. As a criminal attorney, meeting with my client is paramount in understanding the nature of the crime they were accused of committing and providing a strong defense. Many of my clients are denied visits with their friends and loved ones during these times and only have our meetings to remind of them of life behind those bars.
As COVID-19 continues to run rampant around our country and the world at large how will the future of our business look? Presently, I avoid all unnecessary in-person meetings but courts aren’t equipped for proper and safe video communication. How can I ensure my meetings truly are confidential with so many technological variables between us? How comfortable anyway are people in meeting an attorney in person right now? Are face masks and hand sanitizer enough to provide peace of mind or are the risks too high? I believe even after a vaccine is developed the roll out with be a slow process and we can expect a world mixed with formerly infected, recently vaccinated and the others left in this weary limbo. Will the vaccines even truly provide peace of mind or do they come with their own inherit risks or side effects?
Are Virtual Consultations Here to Stay?
I believe the future of client interactions for attorneys and most related professions is a shift to virtual consultations, possibly permanently. Although its sad to think we will lose the ability to connect in-person with our clients, it does open up have it’s upsides. Meetings will be much more streamlined for the client with less hassle in traveling, paying for parking or finding the right suite. If a client were to not show up for their meeting it would be far less of an inconvenience if we didn’t need to travel to the office ourselves.
Contact Free Economy
It’s not just attorneys who are experiencing profound changes as we see a huge shift from in-person doctor visits to telemedicine. Our fear of getting sick is at an all time high so clearly nobody wants to be sitting in a waiting room filled with contagious people. Consumer shopping habits are also shifting towards eCommerce sites or deliveries from establish brick-and-mortar stores. For businesses that remain open or will eventually open what’s become the new normal is safety shields protecting employees from customers. And dining indoors was a luxury California saw briefly at the end of June only for it to quickly end, almost seeming like a dream. Some popular locations including Universal Citywalk have re-organized their entire layout to accommodate only outdoor dining including checking ever guests’ temperature upon entering.
However the most promising aspect of our new virtual landscape is the freedom from needing to serve only local clients. If courts would embrace this new virtual world then possibly could we be able to serve any client, anywhere throughout our practice area? The idea of finding the attorney that is both highly qualified and close enough to you to comfortable visit may be irrelevant. Perhaps then we wouldn’t need such big offices within impressive buildings and thus be able to simultaneously reduce overhead and increase our client base. A post COVID-19 world is still very uncertain, but however it looks there will be cons and certainly pros. And it is up to us to adjust and position ourselves to make the best because there is no going back from here.