Tech helped boutique firms overcome COVID-19 challenges
Preparedness for the future put many boutique firms in a better position to be agile, enabling them to see the COVID-19 pandemic through.
Tech preparedness was a major factor in boutique firms finding a second wind when the pandemic necessitated sweeping changes to operations. Notably, firms that already had in place systems, policies and setups for remote work weren’t caught by surprise.
“Our team was used to flexible working arrangements prior to the pandemic, and we had the IT infrastructure to support this. We quickly transitioned the majority of our workforce to a remote working environment. We kept a small skeleton staff in the office with mandatory safety protocols for those staff,” said Michael Harmer, chairman and senior team leader, and Amy Zhang, executive counsel and team leader at Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Zile Yu, managing partner at dispute resolution specialist boutique firm Quantum Law, added that his firm was able to smoothly transition to remote work because it was largely cloud-based.
This didn’t mean boutique firms were completely unaffected. Business still declined as firms’ clients struggled to handle the early phase of lockdowns and restrictions. However, “being smaller and more agile firms, boutique law firms are more well placed to move with shifting resources and managing budgets according to the socioeconomic climate,” explained Zile Yu, managing partner at dispute resolution specialist boutique firm Quantum Law.
As the market reeled from unprecedented problems, boutiques adjusted their expertise to meet potential clients’ needs.
“A large part of the pandemic-generated client base remains with us to this day and has influenced our core practices,” Yu said.