We recently interviewed a group of legal professionals about their thoughts surrounding Covid-19’s effect on the legal industry right now.
This included their thoughts on how they felt the situation has been handled so far by the government, how they envisaged the future and how they felt their current or previous employer has handled the pandemic in relation to their own career.
We were inundated with many passionate responses surrounding this matter and we have selected a broad range to demonstrate the overall feeling coming from the people whose livelihoods have been directly affected by the pandemic.
- 55% are unemployed
- 35% are employed
- 10% are furloughed / part furloughed
- 65% are worried about their future in the legal industry
- 79% believe the UK government could be doing more to help the legal industry get back on its feet
- 45% would consider reskilling in order to take another job
- 25% would potentially consider reskilling in order to take another job
- 30% would not consider reskilling in order to take another job
We went on to ask the professionals to elaborate on why they felt the UK government has handled the pandemic so badly. This is what they said:
“Reaction to the first wave was too late and information to the public about the virus was not sufficient. There was not enough PPE available and it took months to get test kits.”
“Delayed the decision to lockdown, and failed in the so-called world beating track and trace system.”
“The rules keep changing, nothing makes sense, absolutely ridiculous and very confusing.”
“Unclear instructions, failure to act early on, lack of testing, ineffective contact tracing.”
“Action at the start wasn’t quick enough and guidance has been patchy, unclear and too changeable. Very vague at times.”
“Lockdowns aren’t the answer – build immunity by wearing a mask when with others & keeping distance from people is the answer. The economy will fail and people will not recover otherwise.”
“Lots of loss of jobs in many industries Too many u-turns. Lawyers can’t advise clients if they don’t know what the law is.”
“The MPs are earning *hitloads of money while people like me are struggling. They are not doing enough to help people who are in dire financial situations.”
A mere 20% of respondents believe the pandemic has been handled well so far and this is a selection of the responses as to why:
“No PM would have done any better than Boris Johnson in handling COVID-19 while at the same time having to deal with Brexit.”
“Could’ve been better, but it is a unique and difficult situation.”
“There have been confusing messages about the measures in different areas. The furlough scheme and eat out schemes have helped many.”
“It’s an unknown crisis and they’re doing what they can, even though it’s a bit of a balls up.”
“It is a new phenomenon, so therefore there has had to be an element of finding your way through this. There is a fine balance between protecting health and the economy.”
How do you feel your current / previous employer has handled the pandemic in relation to their employees?
Our final question was to ask the professionals how they felt their current / previous employer has handled the pandemic in relation to their employees. We were pleased to see that 56% expressed it was between average and very good.
15% said very bad
5% said bad
30% said average
20% said good
20% said very good
10% made no comment
Since March, there has been a lot of negative media reports surrounding employers and their employees.
However, there are many employees who believe their employers have handled the pandemic well, yet these rarely make headline news.
We are keen to put a spotlight on the good work and efforts taken by many employers within the industry. These are a selection of the positive stories and comments we received:
“They’ve been very proactive with regards to cleaning etc and spacing of personnel. Clients are seen outside the office should they insist on coming to the office.”
“My former employer has allowed staff to work from home where possible.”
“They are massively concerned about emotional well being, have done what they can to assist with home working, and ensuring the business still operates as normally as possible.”
“Work from home rather than make redundancies. Offer childcare support.”
“Manage to keep everyone in employment, equipped for remote working from day 1, motivated staff throughout the pandemic.”
However, the dark side of Covid-19 has resulted in many being made redundant. From the 20% who believed their current / previous employer has handled the pandemic poorly, this is just a selection of the reasons as to why they feel that way.
“Failed to show sufficient duty of care.”
I am an agency Paralegal and was on a permanent contract. I am now facing redundancy.”
“Rash decisions. Made many redundant, including sponsored employees on visas, changing their lives forever. Then the employer changed their mind and brought back a few once the Government furlough scheme was in place.”
“I feel that they were forced to make quick decisions, without having been able to fully prepare.”
While there have been a lot of opinions expressed within this article, some you may agree with, some you may not, but we believe it is important to give a voice to the people who are directly being affected by the pandemic.
We believe this article represents a true reflection of the mood within the industry right now, whether that be positive or negative.
A Message from the Simply Law Jobs Team
To all the legal professionals interviewed, we’d like to thank you for your stories and frank opinions. To those made redundant, we sincerely hope change is around the corner to alleviate the troubles you are currently facing.
While things are difficult at the moment, there are still career opportunities out there, many which are published daily on Simply Law Jobs.
We wish you all the best.
The statistics and opinions in this article are based on an Simply Law Jobs survey of 20 legal professionals from October 2020.
Please note that the views expressed in this article reflect those of the individuals interviewed entirely. They do not reflect the views of Simply Law Jobs or any of its team.
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