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Like spring in New England, the talk of reopening is about to go into full bloom…

Reopening is the current mainstay of COVID-19 resource center content. The only remaining questions are how and when. Law firms are doing a good job flooding the market with insight about how to reopen – with multiple reports of law firms’ webinars on the topic attracting 1,000 attendees.

We took a flash survey of top legal decision makers and law firm attorneys; here is when they think business will return to full operations (full operations is defined as at least 80% of their workforce able to return to their workplace):

Law Firms More Optimistic Than Corporate On When Full Operations Return

Law firms expect the economy to return to full operations in 4- to 6-months with the average being on the shorter side at 4.1 months. This would put the workforce fully operational in the September/October time frame.

Top legal decision makers expect to see a return to full operations in a range of 5- to 8-months with the average landing at 6.7.

The Implications

No one saw a return to normal operations more than 10 months out. Some pundits are predicting a multiyear process of return. Top legal decision makers do not see it this way. They are getting their info from top management – who have the best insight on their companies – and are a mostly conservative group.

Clients see a longer to time to restart as a result of more regulatory hurdles and compliance, as well as the size and complexity of their operations.

The End Is In Sight

Clients indicate they see the light at the end of the tunnel. They are looking for the path back to normalization. They expect law firms to help, which may account for law firms being ahead of clients in their timeline to return to normal – they will be busy helping clients get ready.

What To Do Now

Now is the time to talk to clients about reopening in a granular format. The most helpful attorneys will reach out to clients with a list of things to consider and plan for – ideally at the division, facility, and even product level if appropriate.

Clients do not have all the answers, nor all the questions. Providing the right questions will be just as important to your clients as providing them with the right answers. As we discussed last week, reopening is 1 of the 7 top issues client are trying to answer now. This is your chance to help the economy, your clients, and yourself. These opportunities don’t come around often.

And – if you need more validation, Morgan Stanley’s Head of Biotech leans more with the law firms (see right).

Be safe. Be well.


The MAD Clientist


(BTI teamed with long-time partners and collaborators to gather data through in-depth telephone interviews from 103 attorneys at law firms with more than 100 attorneys and 106 top legal decision makers during the last 2 weeks.)

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