ELA Survey Reveals That Covid May Permanently Change How Elder Law and Special Needs Firms Operate

ELA Survey Reveals That Covid May Permanently Change How Elder Law and Special Needs Firms OperateThe Covid-19 pandemic has upended work lives around the globe.  When we surveyed elder law and special needs attorneys in mid-March 2020, about a third of respondents said they had already closed their offices and were working from home.

Ten months further into the pandemic, a new survey reveals the dramatic extent that work has shifted from office to home.  And, surprisingly, the survey results suggest that for many firms this change will likely endure beyond the pandemic’s end, permanently altering the work lives of many attorneys and staff. 

The survey was sent to elder law and special needs attorneys in the first week of December 2020.  We received 131 responses. Below is a brief summary of the results.  To download the full report on the results, with charts displaying responses, click here.  We thank our many attorney respondents who took the time to answer the questions and provide details on how their firms are coping during this trying time.

Remote Work Widespread

Nearly three-quarters of responding attorneys are working from home at least one day a week, and of those, close to half (45 percent) are working from home five days a week.  The rest are more or less evenly divided between one and four days.

We asked to what extent firm staff, as opposed to attorneys, are working from home. In nearly half the firms (47 percent) at least some staff are still in the office, while at about 30 percent of firms all staff are working from home four or five days a week, and at half the firms some staff work from home five days a week.  At the rest, some staff work from home between one and four days a week, with three days a week the most frequent choice.

Remote Work’s Impact on Productivity

We asked about the impact working from home is having on productivity, if any.  About one in ten respondents (11.5 percent) said it has increased productivity, 38 percent said it has decreased productivity, and exactly half of respondents said that productivity is the same. 

Working From Home Will Endure for Many

We also wondered to what extent working remotely will permanently change work practices.  The overwhelming majority of respondents (65 percent) said that the switch to working from home will continue for at least some firm staffers.

Download the Full Report

For how these responses varied by size of firm and to read attorneys’ responses to an open-ended question about how changes wrought by the pandemic may permanently change practices, download the full report here.