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A recent study from the Blickstein Group reveals that law department operations are not extraordinarily concerned about ongoing pandemic-related impacts to business — instead, they’re more concerned about funding, diversity and cost savings.

The 13th Annual Law Department Operations Survey focused on the impacts of 2020. The annual survey seeks to provide law departments with a consistent platform for benchmarking themselves and shedding light on trends.

“This year’s survey offers what may be the first real data on the pandemic’s impact on law department operations,” the survey states. “And as respondents noted, the impact so far has not been too substantial — in some cases it even provided opportunities for the operations functions.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic is still on the minds of LDO professionals, the survey claims that it is not at the top of their minds. Although this might come as a surprise to those familiar to industry downturns, survey respondents said “COVID-19 was not even close to the biggest” of their top challenges.

In total, 60.3% of survey respondents reported their current top challenge was cost containment and managing a budget — however COVID-19 budget cuts didn’t even make the top three — only 11% considered COVID-related budget cuts as a concern. The results show that COVID-19 budget concerns are instead near the middle of the list. Survey respondents reported that business process improvements and departmental resources, such as funding personnel, was their second highest concern, followed by tech and retention.

This placed COVID budget cuts not only behind the top three concerns but also below the challenges of staying abreast of law department tech and IT issues, service providers, such as outside counsel, intra-departmental relationships and performance

This complete article appears in the Jan. 11 issue of Law Week Colorado. To read other articles from that issue, order a copy online. Subscribers can request a digital PDF of the issue.

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