Now that COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) has been characterized as a “pandemic,” much is unknown regarding the ultimate impact on businesses and others. Things are happening quickly, and law firms have had to take steps to respond rapidly and evolve. On March 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Georgia declared a statewide judicial emergency, impacting ongoing cases and other judicial proceedings. Many courts have suspended the onset of new jury trials or have otherwise tolled case deadlines to maximize the possibility of containment and in service of “social distancing.”
According to a recent private survey about COVID-19, 74% of law firm respondents expect that there will be a modest to severe impact on legal services demand over the next two quarters. In addition to the issues facing all businesses during this time, law firms also face unique risks as a result of the spread of COVID-19. Small and midsize firms, in particular, may not have previously planned for such large-scale interruptions. Law firms face risks based on their role as employers and also based on the duties owed to clients. Thus, law firms have additional considerations beyond the typical business or employer. Below are some of the risks and recommendations for law firms reviewing their response to this issue.
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