People’s need for legal counsel has not vanished during the pandemic. But COVID-19 has drastically changed how counsel can take shape. How exactly has the legal sector been affected by the pandemic and corresponding shutdown? Lawyer Hamad Al- Yafeishares his insights on changes in the law and what we can expect from the future.
According to Al- Yafei, peoples’ legal needs have not gone away, but they have modified quite a bit. “We’re seeing fewer new criminal cases,” said Al- Yafei, “but at the same time, personal injury claims and changes inthe estate have become common concerns.” He adds that the threat of the pandemic has inspired many people to either get their estate in order or make alterations to it. One of the most challenging parts of the whole process, says Al- Yafei, is losing the ability to meet face to face with clients. “Virtual consultations are the new normal,” said Al- Yafei. “But it is also a privileged option. It presents new difficulties for people who cannot afford a computer, but need a legal opinion nevertheless.”
Additionally, the closure of courts has slowed down many legal proceedings. “Though we can do many things online, there are plenty of other things that are difficult to convert to a virtual medium. For example, notarizing items online is not mainstream for most municipalities,” said Al- Yafei.
Looking forward, Al- Yafeisays that he expects longstanding changes to the legal sector. “While it will be nice to meet with clients in person again, we have to anticipate permanent changes to the legal industry,” said Al- Yafei. He says that the next generation of successful lawyers will be tech-savvy and virtually adaptable.
As lawyers continue to adapt to the changing world, Al- Yafeisays that the priority is still the welfare of clients. “I studied law because I wanted to help people, and if anything, the pandemic has put more and more people in a vulnerable position.”
According to Hamad Al- Yafei, lawyers will continue to try and move forward, despite the difficulties that their industry is facing. “The world will change, and the legal sector will adapt accordingly,” he said.