Impact of COVID on the Legal Profession
George Ogilvie, Managing Partner of McDonald Carano, participated in a roundtable meeting of the leaders of Nevada’s most influential law firms to discuss the impact of COVID on the legal community and what the future holds for the legal profession. The event is part of an executive level thought leadership series hosted by Nevada Business Magazine and sponsored by City National Bank. The series provides an in-depth view of the state of major sectors of the local economy from the perspective of the people who lead the businesses that are at the forefront of change. George’s legal profession roundtable discussed a broad range of issues, challenges and solutions.
George’s comments are excerpted below, and the complete Nevada Business Magazine article can be read here.
Q: How has COVID changed the workplace?
George: The biggest concern we currently have is making the shift from the COVID world to the post-COVID world. Our IT staff was incredible in making the shift from working in the office to working from home; it was almost seamless. A great deal of how [the workplace has] changed is attorneys are getting up at six or seven in the morning, they go straight to their desk and they’re there until [late] at night. It’s terrific on the revenue side but there’s a missing relationship and a void in everyone’s culture.
Q: How has COVID impacted the courts?
George: From what I understand, there is a backlog of criminal trials that reaches from here to 2024. On the civil side, I feel like I’m a canary in a coal mine for all the judges with the trials that I’ve had since August; it’s just been back-to-back. Trial court judges are getting pressured by the Supreme Court to start removing this backlog and they’re pressing cases forward to go to trial. It’s a burden on the practitioners because there’s limited time in between trials to get prepared.
Q: What does the future look like for the legal profession?
George: We intend to shift back into the office and reintegrate. We’re working through what that means. Clearly, we’re going to need to make some accommodations that are different from what the world we lived in pre-COVID. We haven’t made a determination what those accommodations are and what that means for staff and space requirements moving forward.
There’s going to be a hybrid going forward. We’ve had video conferencing capabilities for twelve years, but that was between practice groups and management committees. Prior to March 2020, I had never participated in a [virtual] call outside of the office. Now it is a daily occurrence and it’s sometimes two or three a day. Post COVID, we’re going to see the economy transition back more to services as opposed to goods, where it’s currently focused. I think there will be a similar transition in the practice of law. We will get back to a lot of what we were doing before, but I think a lot of what we’re seeing right now is here to stay and probably for good, for the benefit of all of us.
About McDonald Carano
McDonald Carano has been shaping Nevada’s legal, business, and policy landscape since our founding in 1949. With more than 60 lawyers and government affairs professionals working from offices in Reno, Las Vegas, and Carson City, we are Nevada’s law firm for business. Our local, national and international clients include Fortune 500 corporations, fast-growth and mid-market companies, entrepreneurs and startups, non-profit organizations, government entities, and high-net-worth individuals. Our attorneys deliver cross-discipline, one-stop, business law and government affairs counsel. Please visit mcdonaldcarano.com
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