“The pandemic has challenged regulation corporations to relook at how they function,” mentioned one lawyer.  

When COVID-19 first hit South Africa and the federal government launched a tough lockdown, there was a priority amongst regulation corporations that every thing would grind to a halt.

However as soon as they acquired the cling of working remotely, it has improved efficiencies and the courts too have began transferring processes on-line.

Bigger corporations that had beforehand invested in innovative digital applied sciences have been higher outfitted to deal with the disaster than smaller corporations that had not, says Robert Legh, Chairman at main regulation agency Bowmans. He mentioned life for regulation corporations is prone to be totally different within the put up COVID-19 period.

“We’ve realized that the majority of our individuals can work successfully from dwelling, we want much less house, and we don’t want all of our 42 boardrooms.

“I believe we might find yourself with smaller workplaces and extra versatile working preparations.”

As well as, attorneys have turn out to be used to working extra independently.

For Bowmans, workflow has continued in areas like disputes, banking and finance, labor regulation, and the restructuring of companies has been off the size, Legh provides.

“The pandemic has challenged regulation corporations to relook at how they function.” 

The pandemic has challenged regulation corporations to rethink how they function, mentioned Otsile Matlou, chief working officer at ENSafrica.


He mentioned ENSafrica transitioned to being know-how primarily based three years in the past, permitting it to modify to distant working simply.

“The one factor that suffers is collegiality and the tendency to be tethered to digital communication.”

A worthwhile apply when working remotely, is digital fasting, whereby every thing digital is switched off periodically, he added.

Marelise van der Westhuizen, managing associate at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa mentioned the agency was lucky to have renegotiated leases to rationalize and modernize its workplace amenities in December.

“This and our know-how infrastructure ready us for working remotely and for our put up COVID-19 mannequin, whereby 50% of our employees will proceed to take action at anybody time,” she mentioned.

“The pandemic accelerated our transfer to a paperless atmosphere and facilitated a very new method.”

She mentioned the disaster additionally remodeled the older attorneys’ mindset from their “bums on seats” angle to the deserves of working remotely once they have been compelled to take action by lockdown laws.

Rising and declining apply areas

These which might be nimble and entrepreneurial and may foresee purchasers’ future wants and transfer into new areas rapidly would be the winners within the put up COVID-19 period.

“The worth proposition is not primarily based on being reactive and ready for purchasers to give you issues,” says Matlou.

He mentioned companies are diversifying and in search of new methods of working and regulation corporations want to assist them to do that.

“For instance, share choices are not a carrot, as a result of if the world involves a grinding halt, shares can all of a sudden be nugatory.”

Telecommunications and digital applied sciences are apparent areas for future progress, and so are prescribed drugs as new viruses emerge and the world appears for options.

For Norton Rose, enterprise within the areas of ICT and telecommunications, dispute decision, labor regulation, monetary restructuring and insolvencies have been thriving.

However in different areas it has fallen off together with actual property, which has been actually quiet.

“The pandemic has modified the best way we funds, how we spend our time and what we put effort into.”

“We’ve not seen any predatory acquisitions but, however it’s positive to occur right here as it’s taking place elsewhere,” van der Westhuizen mentioned.


Jonathan Maphosa, managing associate and CEO at Maphosa Regulation, mentioned the agency has been attracting COVID-19 associated work together with drafting associated protocols and laws and labor regulation recommendation.

“We’ve additionally suggested on a variety of firm amalgamations, acquisitions and disposals triggered by the pandemic.”

Nonetheless, within the  long run, the pool of companies can be considerably lowered, significantly those who have struggled to maintain afloat, regardless of government- backed reduction measures.

The agency intends to rent extra attorneys however is conserving an in depth eye on overheads, and can align its onboarding timelines with its work volumes, mentioned Maphosa.

Whereas the pandemic continues, not more than 40% of employees can be on the workplace at any time, however are usually not obliged to be there except operational necessities demand it, he added.

The problem for regulation corporations is how you can stay related and worthwhile within the put up COVID-19 new regular, mentioned Tyron Fourie, associate at Eversheds Sutherland South Africa.

“The pandemic has modified the best way we funds, how we spend our time and what we put effort into.”

He mentioned advertising the agency has at all times been a precedence, and present occasions “have proven us that we have to do much more.”

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