Many industries have been hard hit by the global pandemic. It’s not easy to get a job in manufacturing nowadays, or retail.
The legal field has not been spared from layoff and closures in the wake of the worldwide economic meltdown. Many large firms have cut summer associate programs, equity payouts, and even salaries.
However, lawyers do thrive in a crisis. Who do companies call when they are faced with unprecedented problems?
Additionally, the law is ideally suited to working from home. If you have a computer, a phone, and access to the necessary databases, you can help serve clients or attorneys as easily as you did in an office.
Whether you are a lawyer yourself or you have experience in the legal field, you may actually have a range of options for a job during this chaotic time.
Here are ten tips for both lawyers and other professionals for seeking and getting work in this noble profession, even during this difficult time.
If You Have a Law Degree
With all of the companies impacted by the worldwide economic collapse, bankruptcies are on the rise.
If you have any bankruptcy experience whatsoever, you will be in demand. Law firms need experienced professionals to guide many of their clients through Chapter 11 restructurings.
There is such need in bankruptcy and restructuring departments that related experience may be enough to get you in the door. If you have a background in finance or litigation, and you are interested in bankruptcy, send in your resume!
In house counsel from companies that have declared bankruptcy also have valuable perspectives to share.
Many experts in the business of law expect lawsuits to skyrocket post-COVID-19. Litigation is expected across many different areas of law, from employment to procurement to product liability.
What if a widely purchased mask fails to prevent the coronavirus? What if a pharmaceutical company makes false claims about a drug’s abilities? What if someone catches the virus after staying at a large hotel chain, or going on an airplane?
It is hard to predict how the law will find companies, employers, boards of directors, and other individuals and organizations liable in this world. How far is one expected to go to protect one’s employees, customers, and the general public?
No one knows how many of these legal issues will play out. As a lawyer during this unusual time, you may be part of a new and growing area of law.
There has already been an uptick in demand for employment lawyers. Workers want to know if they have to go in to work if they are afraid of getting sick. Employers want to know who is an essential worker and who is not.
As governments are easing closing restrictions, companies need to know what they have to do to keep people safe. Do they have to erect barriers between cubicles? How often must they clean the premises?
If you have experience in this area, you have a lot to offer. You may have to advise on privacy issues: what if someone at your office gets sick? Can you let others know, or is that a HIPPA violation?
You can advise companies on how long people may stay away from the office, and what you must provide to them while they work from home.
For clients in economic straits, you can counsel on how to effectuate layoffs so that they do not run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.
Many companies and individuals are asking whether their insurance will cover pandemic related losses.
Already there have been lawsuits by parents against colleges that closed their dorms and sent students home. They want those tuition and housing fees back!
On an individual level, thousands of people are seeking redress for canceled flights, weddings, concerts, cruises, and myriad other events. So many need help getting their money back, especially those who have lost their jobs on top of everything else.
If you have experience negotiating with insurance companies, trying disputes, or making settlements, you probably will have a range of job offers to choose from in the legal field.
You do not have to have a law degree to work in the legal profession. Running a firm is just like a business, and attorneys need business professionals in a wide range of fields to help them keep everything running smoothly.
Law firms, as stated above, can function fairly well by working from home. However, they need skilled workers who can support them in a variety of ways.
Whether they are working from home or attending virtual hearings on Zoom, lawyers charge for their time. In order to keep a law firm running smoothly, lawyers need a strong billing department that can issue invoices, track hours, and collect bills.
Lawyers also use sophisticated systems to keep track of hours, expenses, and all sorts of financial information. Because of the classified nature of this information, they need trustworthy reliable accountants and financial experts.
Finally, lawyers often act as fiduciaries for their clients, putting them in charge of vast amounts of money. This happens in real estate, trusts, and many other kinds of legal work.
If you have experience in finance, banking, or business, there are many jobs in the legal field which may be right for you.
With so many attorneys, billing experts, and paralegals working from home, a law firm needs a great IT department to train and set up everyone to work remotely.
Maybe you can help assess and purchase systems that will keep confidential information safe from hackers. Maybe you can figure out the best way to conduct virtual meetings in a way that helps team morale and saves money.
From email to virtual filings, lawyers and their support staff need technology and they need people who know how to use it. Law firms often have an IT Help Desk staffed 24/7 for lawyers working on cases late into the night whose computers go down.
You may also need to conduct training. People need help not only setting up their iT systems but adapting to remote work. You may be instructing people on these great tips for maintaining a productive and efficient virtual workplace through technology.
There are numerous possible careers in the legal field for anyone with an interest and talent for tech.
7. Business Development
As companies go out of business and some clients are no longer abe to pay, lawyers need support in developing new and current clients to keep the income coming in.
Lawyers need marketing and business development staff who can support their efforts to get new clients. They need graphic designers to create brochures and design websites, along with website experts. They need writers to keep their blogs up to date, and pubic relations experts to secure media placements about their legal stories in the news.
Many lawyers can no longer attend bar association panels or networking events, so they are seeking innovative ways to get their names out there. Lots of lawyers are experimenting with podcasts and other approaches to share their knowledge and solidify their reputations.
If you are a marketing and business development whiz, you may find a great career in the legal field.
As offices consider reopening, law firms- like all businesses- need to think about their operations and business processes in a new way. Handshakes are no longer cool!
They will need operations experts to help them set up their offices so that people can socially distance themselves at 6 feet apart. This may require fewer pods and communal workspaces, and more small enclosed offices and barriers.
Law firms will need to order lots of cleaning supplies like sanitizers and bleach wipes. They will need to set up protocols where a fraction of the staff come into work on alternate days.
And all of this must be accomplished while maintaining efficiency and productive workflow. Whether you have an MBA or have run systems in a factory or in the military, your ability to reorganize space and staff is valuable in the legal industry.
Lawyers need help typing documents, organizing their schedules, and filing motions with the court. They often need help with research, documents, and time management,
Paralegals and executive assistants are worth their weight in gold in the legal field. These invaluable employees help lawyers keep their minds on the law while they organize all the important business, from transportation to coffee dates to court deadlines.
If you have the patience of a saint, strong organizational skills, and desire to work in a fast-paced, intellectual environment, you may have a future career as support staff in the legal profession.
10. Pro Bono
Many lawyers go into the law in order to help people, and people need help more than ever. Whether they are going bankrupt, trying to apply for government assistance, or facing eviction, they need lawyers to donate their time.
Pro bono departments in law firms are seeking lawyers to help the many people affected by the COVID 19 nightmare. They also need support staff to make collections of food and clothing, run fundraisers, man the phones, and speak to government officials.
If you want to help people get through this crisis, you may be able to help in the legal field.
Jobs During the Pandemic: Try The Legal Field
The legal field offers many opportunities for both lawyers and non-lawyers seeking a great career and a way of helping others during this uncertain time. These jobs are often highly adaptable to working from home, so if you have skills or experience in any of the above areas, you should consider applying to a law office for work.