Three opportunities to adapt to the post-pandemic world

President of the Law Society of England and Wales I. Stephanie Boyce spoke at a virtual roundtable during the Singapore opening of the legal year 2022, held on 10 January. She reiterated the need for the legal sector to adapt to new ways of working.

Stephanie Boyce had been invited to share her thoughts on the future of the legal profession post-pandemic, and focused on challenges and opportunities including:

  • lawtech
  • climate change, and
  • the shift to remote justice

The virtual roundtable was moderated by Jason Chan, SC, vice president of the Law Society of Singapore.

Speaking alongside Stephanie Boyce were:

  • Brian Speers, president of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association
  • Claudio Visco, secretary-general of IBA, and
  • C M Chan, president of the Law Society of Hong Kong

Speaking to an audience which included representatives from more than 14 overseas bar associations, Stephanie highlighted that the legal profession has shown both its resilience and adaptability when faced with the ruptures of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has given cause to question how we as practitioners serve our clients,” she said.

“It has made it necessary to adopt new technology and put a new urgency on planning for future shifts.”

Shift to remote justice

“Throughout the pandemic we have seen a broad move to remote hearings,” the president said.

“The post-pandemic world will make ever greater use of remote hearings, but we must ensure the impact of this way of working is clearly understood and the negative effects mitigated if we are not to see our clients cut off from justice.”

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Find out how England and Wales are keeping the wheels of justice turning during COVID-19

Climate change

Stephanie Boyce also emphasised that “climate change will have a direct impact on the legal profession” whether through:

  • changes to the legal and regulatory landscape
  • shifts in market and business conditions, or
  • changes in the environment itself in the areas we or our clients operate

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Stephanie also highlighted that potential technology must change how we access justice and build on the adaptions made during the pandemic.

“Lawtech is going to change the way we interact with clients, the way we make decisions, and the way people access legal advice – indeed, it’s already doing so.”

“We have produced a series of lawtech and ethics principles that can serve as a framework for all legal technology work,” she said.

“These were drawn together after extensive discussion with firms and lawtech producers alike, putting forward a framework, guidance and model procurement processes that can assist firms and practitioners who do not have experience in this area.”

Read our Lawtech and ethics principles report

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