- March 30, 2021
- By Ben Simons
- 0 comments
Covid-19 and personal injury practice: What have we learned?
As I write this latest blog, it is one year to the day since the country went into its first lockdown. I have written blogs in that time on the effects of Covid and the enforced lockdowns on our mental health and how we have had to adapt the way in which we work to be able to do our jobs remotely and it seems like an opportune time to take stock of where we are and what we have learned over the course of the past year. In particular, what new work practices will we take forward with us when the time comes that we can once again enjoy life without any restrictions imposed upon us by this terrible pandemic?
From speaking to colleagues at Anthony Gold and friends and connections at other law firms it seems to me that the biggest “take-away” from this past year is that flexible working is very much the way forward. It is clear that, by saving on hours and hours of commuting time each week and being able to log in to your desktop at home, you can be more productive than ever and indeed many of us have been. There is no doubt that people are missing the office banter and human interaction other than that which we get with our family every day and that is why it seems to me that a combination of working both at home and in the office each week is the ideal solution.
At the heart of Anthony Gold’s core values and a big part of the reason why I chose to join the firm two years ago now is our clients. The firm’s number one priority has always been and always will be to provide our clients with the best possible service whilst always ensuring that we put them first and as we went into the great unknown a year ago now, we just didn’t know how this would be affected. There is no doubt that not being able to meet with your clients face to face and going to see them in the comfort of their own home removes a big part of the job that we, as personal injury lawyers, particularly enjoy. This goes a long way to helping us build a good rapport with our clients and the worry was that something would be lost without that physical interaction.
However, we have actually found that, through phone calls, emails and most crucially Zoom video calls, we have been able to maintain and even further strengthen our relationships with our clients and in many cases, we have been able to meet (albeit remotely) with some of our clients more regularly than we would likely have done in pre-Covid times. There is a real sense of immediacy in this new working environment which enables meetings to be set up and conducted very quickly and I have found that clients are much more relaxed being able to conduct these meetings from their lounge or kitchen and in their comfortable “lounging around the house” clothes, as opposed to getting dressed up and travelling into London for a much more formal meeting at the lawyer’s offices. Obviously, there will be some areas of law in which that more formal setting is a necessity, but in respect of the work that we do in our Injury and Medical Claims department, there are a lot of positives that I think we can take from this past year going forward in terms of how we conduct client meetings and conferences.
One aspect of working remotely that has really surprised me is being able to work paperless. The legal profession is a very old and traditional one which has always been very paper heavy. Every law office will be full of lever arch files stuffed full of documents, all taking up huge amounts of space and I for one never thought I would be able to adapt to scrolling through a 75 page medical expert report in a pdf file on my computer. However, going paperless was forced upon me a year ago and is something I have learned to embrace. It has also enabled me to build up a library of documents on each of my cases in a desktop folder which can be easily sent on to anywhere they need to go. We are now communicating with clients predominantly by email, which is considerably faster and enables us to progress claims at an even faster rate.
There is no doubt that the solicitor/client relationship is a hugely important one, especially in serious personal injury cases which will run for many years. For the past year now, we have had to adapt our working practices which could have potentially had an adverse effect on that relationship, but in my experience and from speaking to colleagues at Anthony Gold, in many ways, this has actually strengthened relationships with our clients. We are working in a much more efficient and largely electronic way now and with all the lessons learned from events of the past year, I have every confidence that our clients will continue to benefit from this going forward.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*
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