The world was thrown for a loop in 2020 and law firms were no exception. In many respects, 2021 has law firm leaders and in-house counsel still feeling uncertain. The global COVID-19 pandemic forced lawyers — individuals whose relationships formerly depended upon firm handshakes and looking their clients directly in the eye — to build client trust through a tiny camera lens. Law firms, traditionally slower to adopt technological advancements than their counterparts in other professional services industries, quickly rose to the challenge. Digital signatures, videoconferencing, and remote court appearances allowed the business of law to continue in what is now considered the new normal.

The seismic shift did not end with the law firms. It acutely affected corporate clients. Once-formalized budgets were up in the air and priorities recentered on essentials. General counsel distilled corporate values into business imperatives by which outside legal representation must abide.