The cost of COVID-19 on the business of law

By Emma Ryan|28 April 2020
The cost of COVID-19 on the business of law

Exclusive research has revealed the industries suffering the most revenue-wise amid the global pandemic, with 75 per cent of those in the legal profession expecting a hit to their firms over the next three months.

The COVID-19 Business Confidence Survey, commissioned by Lawyers Weekly’s sister brand, My Business, encouraged participants across a range of Momentum Media’s professional services brands (accounting, aviation, defence, financial services, law, mortgage and finance broking, and real estate) to take part in an online questionnaire between 2 and 22 April.

The survey serves as a barometer of how businesses are adapting to the changed working and social environment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collectively speaking, 52 per cent of total business owner/manager respondents said their revenue had decreased as a result of the pandemic. Twenty-eight per cent said they’d seen no revenue impact, 14 per cent said it was too early to tell and 6 per cent have seen revenue increase.

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Looking towards the next three months, 66 per cent of respondents expect their revenue to decrease, 14 per cent expect no further impact, 13 per cent said they were unsure and 7 per cent expect an increase.

Business of law

Examining the legal profession, 55 per cent of business owners/managers stated that they have seen their revenue decrease since the pandemic was declared. Twenty-eight per cent have seen no impact revenue-wise, 13 per cent say its too early to tell and 4 per cent have seen revenue increase.

Over the next three months, a whopping 75 per cent of legal profession respondents expect revenue to decrease.

This puts the profession second only to the real estate industry, where 84 per cent of respondents indicated that they expect a further hit to revenue.

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Changes made to labour

Collectively speaking, the results indicate that at the time of the survey being completed, 63 per cent of business owners/managers across the combined industries had taken no steps to increase or decrease labour costs.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent had reduced employee hours and 5 per cent had hired new employees or were paying overtime.

Breaking this down to the legal profession, the survey found 58 per cent of business owners/managers had taken no steps, while 40 per cent had reduced employee hours at the time of completing the survey.

For the next three months, 42 per cent of legal profession respondents think their firm/organisation will need to take initial or additional steps to reduce its labour costs.

Thirty-three per cent say no additional cost reductions will be required, while 26 per cent say they’re unsure.

More about the survey

To understand how the measures are being digested across the Australian marketplace, Lawyers Weekly’s sister brand My Business commissioned Momentum Intelligence to create an ongoing survey of a cross-section of Australian business owners and employees – including those operating in the legal profession.

A total of 6,740 responses were received to the COVID-19 Business Confidence Survey and the results have been evenly weighted across each industry.

The dynamic COVID-19 Business Confidence Survey serves as a barometer of how businesses, and working Australians, are adapting to the changed working and social environment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will enable us to map attitudes, confidence and business activities as they evolve by market sectors, revealing which industries and professions are adapting most effectively to the “new normal”.

The cost of COVID-19 on the business of law
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