Post Pandemic Legal Practice: Is There Really A Change?

By Marcela Blanco, Partner, and Marcelo Buendía, Associate Attorney, DRT Bogotá.

The pandemic has certainly impacted our legal profession. This is undeniable. In Colombia, for example, the pandemic brought many changes. First, it forced attorneys to litigate in ways they were not used to. Online hearings, electronic petitions and online meetings with counterparties are now the general rule for legal practitioners in our country. Second, like many other countries in the world, the pandemic forced us to consider digital transformation and remote working as imperative resources that law firms must now have to resort to in many cases.

But are these changes going to permanently affect the legal practice in Colombia? In our opinion, they will not, and legal practice, in many aspects will basically stay as we knew it before the pandemic. Efficient and durable changes in the legal profession cannot come from a pandemic, but from technological and market changes, and, on the contrary, we believe that the evolution of our profession will be slower than what has been predicted.

Remote working will last while it is strictly necessary because lawyers need their offices; partners need to interact with their associates and associates need to show up if they want to learn and work on their path to become partners. Additionally, even though law firms can have certain flexibility regarding remote working, it is a fact that working from home is very difficult for some legal areas. For instance, when it comes to dealing with criminal matters, face-to-face meetings are usually crucial. As the pandemic weakens, in Colombia, these kind of meetings are starting to be held as they used to.