How The Pandemic Is Affecting Professional Development Within Law Firms

A new survey by US-based Leadership for Lawyers and UK-based Cote Consulting shows significant changes in how firms in those countries are delivering learning programs.

It also shows that learning and development teams have been casualties of the COVID-19-induced recession.

When asked about learning and development methods that will change the most over the next few years, e-learning courses came out on top. About 86% of respondents indicated that e-learning courses and virtual classrooms will have the biggest impact on learning programs. Approximately 60% said that blended (e-learning and live training) will increase and 23% said that gamified learning will increase.

“Coaching by managers and peers” and “user-generated content” will also be used significantly more in the future.

“Sending lawyers and staff to external conferences” took the biggest hit, as 81% of respondents indicated that this method will decrease over the next two years.

Nearly all firms said that virtual classrooms and mobile learning will have some or significant impact on professional service learning and development over the next two years. About half of the firms have a learning management system in place today. Of those who don’t have one now, 29% indicated they will invest in one over the next year.

You can download the survey’s findings (11 pages) here.

About the Research

The ‘flash’ survey was open from May 26 through June 7, 2020. Representatives from 43 law firms responded to the survey. 44% were based in the United States, 33% were based in the UK, and 14% responded as ‘global firms’. Firms from the EU, Africa, and Asia also responded.

Firms of various sizes were represented in the survey, from firms with net income in excess of $1 billion USD (11%), net income between $500M to $1B (11%), net income between $100M and $500M (35%) and firms with net income below $100M (35%).

75% of respondents worked for a law firm, the rest worked for accountancy, consulting or other professional service firms.

Learning and development professionals made up the majority of the respondents (70%), while firm management, managing partners and other executive roles made up the balance.

About the Authors

Mark Beese is President of Leadership for Lawyers llc and Ian Paterson is Founding Partner of Cote Consultants.

They provide leadership, innovation, and business development training, coaching and consulting to law firms and other professional service firms.

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