According to new research, legal counsel do not see the impacts of coronavirus dissipating for some time.
In the wake of COVID-19, US-headquartered international law firm Morrison & Foerster surveyed 110 in-house general counsel from global corporations to understand how this unanticipated health crisis is impacting their businesses now and over the long-term and what they perceive to be their biggest business challenges over the next 12 to 24 months.
The survey found that in-house lawyers do not expect the impacts of coronavirus to dissipate for at least 24 months.
As of today, legal counsel see the impact of the global pandemic as being at 7.2 (on a scale of one to 10), and six months from now, the impact will be much the same, respondents perceive, at a level of 7.1.
One year from now, the impact will have lessened slightly, dropping to 5.7, and in 24 months’ time, counsel believe the impact will be at 4.0.
“That variation of impact across different businesses is even clearer when looking at companies valued at $20 billion or more in revenue, with 79 per cent rating the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses at eight points or higher – a 27 percent difference over companies in general,” the firm wrote.
“This difference may reflect the more global nature of $20 billion-plus companies and the likelihood they felt the impact of COVID-19 earlier than other companies not as geographically dispersed.”
M&F partner and head of the firm’s COVID-19 task force David Newman said: “It is clear that the crisis will have a long-term impact on the way business is done around the world – affecting everything from the way workforces are managed and how global supply chains are configured to capital structures and corporate governance.”
The survey also found that the pandemic is having a “significant impact” upon businesses across the board, and outlined the primary risks being seen by in-house counsel at this juncture, as well as identified the biggest personal challenges for in-house counsel during the pandemic.