There’s no question that the legal industry has felt the impact of coronavirus, but not all practice areas have been impacted equally. In fact, there has been a surge in demand for debt counsel, data security attorneys, and contract lawyers. Business interruptions have become increasingly common. When companies are unable to fulfill their legal obligations, it falls to contract lawyers to pick up the pieces.
For years, contract law has been considered ‘recession-proof.’ Today, we’re putting that claim to the test. In this article, we’re going to explore the impact that COVID-19 has had on the demand for contract lawyers.
To withstand this recession, companies across all sectors will need to be very mindful of their existing contractual obligations. Historically, when the economy struggles, litigation becomes more prevalent. Currently, there is a great deal of ambiguity concerning whether the pandemic allows companies to void their agreements. As a result, we expect continued high demand for contract review and contract obligations, compliance, and risk.
So, what kind of work can contract lawyers expect to find? Much of the new demand is focused on reviewing insurance policies in anticipation of claim-related disputes. Some of the industries with the highest need include health care and hospital networks, financial services, insurance, purchasing of technology services, and food suppliers. A consulting and recruiting firm recently reported that most of the new positions are open-ended contracts, with compensation ranging from $50-$150 per hour.
Due to the increased workload, corporate legal departments have become another source of employment. To help meet exponential demand, corporations can turn to the COVID-19 Bridge program. The organization helps to connect lawyers experiencing temporary job loss with short-term opportunities that benefit both the corporation and attorney. In addition, the program hopes to correct the errors of the 2008 recession. During the crisis, many law firm layoffs disproportionately impacted diverse lawyers. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives, program organizers hope to connect talented attorneys with new long-term opportunities.
Experts expect that the increased demand for legal help will continue throughout the year and 2021. For legal talent looking to fill this need, recruiters suggest planning for a virtual hiring process. Hiring and on-boarding candidates will likely take place through Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other video conferencing tools. Junior attorneys and paralegals are highly sought after by financial services employers that need help with loan processing and documentation assignments. Senior level attorneys with 3-5 years of experience will be called upon for substantive roles and niche practices.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this exploration of the impact coronavirus has had on contract law. If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments and feel free to share it on social media. As you adapt to remote working, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. Remember: we’re here for you from File Thru Trial™.