It has been virtually a yr since legislation companies have felt the consequences of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Iberian Lawyer needed to know and analyse how among the high legislation companies in Portugal have reacted to those new challenges. Related professionals supplied Iberian Lawyer with helpful insights into what has been taking place behind closed doorways.
CLIENT COMMUNICATION: THE PRIORITY
“Notably within the authorized sector, private relationships are paramount – each in our work and in enterprise growth”, says Ana Craveiro, director of Communication & Public Relations at Morais Leitão. She provides: “Belief is a elementary attribute within the attorney-client relationship, and it’s significantly influenced by direct interplay. All our occasions and conferences grew to become digital in a single day. We instantly realised that shoppers wanted our assist in navigating laws that was being enacted. We ready an in depth information that included all main sectors and shared it with our contacts. On the identical time, we hosted each day webinars explaining the foremost influence of the coronavirus. Each actions had been nicely acquired and perceived as elementary – they created the opening for additional interplay and confirmed that the agency continues so as to add worth to our shoppers’ companies.”
Matilde Horta e Costa Company affairs & Expertise director at VdA is in settlement with the necessity to give attention to offering shoppers with well timed recommendation. “Our exterior communication targeted on a solidary response in direction of our shoppers, stakeholders and the neighborhood. The pandemic raised complicated and difficult authorized points with a profound influence on firms throughout completely different industries and on society at massive, which made us commit from the get-go to sharing information and expertise that might assist shoppers, stakeholders and the neighborhood navigate the brand new challenges.” She affirms: “We had been the primary legislation agency in Portugal that arrange a multidisciplinary activity drive to observe up on these points and relay each day data on a free digital platform on the measures adopted and their authorized impacts each in Portugal and throughout the VdA Authorized companions’ jurisdictions.”
Daniela Amaral, head of technique and Enterprise Improvement at PLMJ, expresses: “Our high precedence as a agency was to achieve out and be there for all our shoppers. We quickly realised that this new state of affairs added a private dimension to what was as soon as primarily an expert relationship, and this introduced us even nearer collectively. Everybody within the agency, be it our attorneys or our enterprise companies groups, have labored tirelessly to verify our shoppers have had the newest data as early as attainable.”
Rita Correia, accomplice and chargeable for the Enterprise Improvement space at Miranda & Associados, highlights the identical priorities however with a extra worldwide focus. “We arrange a multijurisdictional COVID-19 assist workforce in control of figuring out and selling BD initiatives throughout the Miranda Alliance in shut coordination with multi-practice subteams for every jurisdiction coping with the primary authorized points triggered by the pandemic, resembling layoffs, tax and company restructuring and contractual drive majeure points. These groups proved to be a fairly environment friendly and a complete approach of elevating consciousness for brand new authorized points and their options.”
Guilherme Zuzarte, head of Enterprise Improvement at Abreu Advogados, additionally targeted on consumer communication and a selected pandemic response technique: “As new challenges arose with the pandemic, our sharp consideration and fast-adaptive groups had been key to proceed being helpful to our shoppers and as their major contact after they most wanted. Since uncertainty grew to become a part of the day-to-day enterprise in any respect firms and bodily distance necessary, Abreu Advogados quickly invested in its “Abreu Helpdesk |COVID-19” because the supply of helpful data to not solely its shoppers however to all of those that felt helpless. It was particularly necessary to the shoppers to proceed feeling accompanied as earlier than, a mindset that we described as ‘to maintain proximity at a distance’.”
Leonor Cunha, Advertising and marketing & Communication supervisor at SRS Advogados, factors out that shoppers are on the forefront of their focus, “2020 was a difficult yr for everybody and we had been pessimistic concerning the impacts on the agency’ enterprise. Nonetheless, and regardless of our pessimism, the evolution of SRS’ enterprise has been similar to final yr’s in the course of the course of 2020 and the completely different phases of the pandemic. Our shoppers confronted a myriad of points throughout final yr – and nonetheless do, however the agency sensed that the structural challenges going through labour restructuring processes and digital safety had been key. At SRS we tried to stay versatile and alter to our consumer preferences. A profitable content material advertising technique, artistic considering and new methods of speaking had been key to keep up everlasting, cohesive and constructive contact with shoppers and it was an additionally figuring out think about attracting new shoppers.”
Probably the most constant theme relating to the response from companies to the pandemic has been the necessity to embrace know-how rapidly and successfully. Ana Craveiro says: “The primary main change was going totally digital – a format that we rapidly embraced and that’s way more restricted by way of its influence than bodily occasions and conferences. It isn’t our most well-liked possibility, however one which has turn out to be necessary. As at all times, contact with shoppers is a precedence, guaranteeing that we’re current and out there to assist them by means of these uncommon instances, particularly by way of dangers and alternatives. When it comes to inside communication, we have a tendency to speak ceaselessly with our attorneys and staff and have initiated a number of differentiated engagement methods.”
Matilde Horta e Costa agrees with the significance of inside communication and know-how and provides additional perception: “When it comes to our inside communication technique, we targeted on three predominant issues: Well being, IT and Tradition. The safety of all our employees’s and their households’ well being and well-being was our predominant concern. A communication plan relating to structured measures on well being and security, in step with authorities and WHO’s official suggestions, was put in place by means of a number of initiatives, together with each day pointers on completely different impacted skilled points. We additionally developed an lively communication line on the IT instruments out there to make sure the follow-up of the exercise. Casual workforce motivation and engagement campaigns and packages by means of collaborative digital platforms had been carried out, and our induction program to observe up on more moderen employees members was bolstered to assist them with their integration.” Daniela Amaral feedback: “As anticipated, there was a powerful shift to digital content material and occasions, with an emphasis on content material advertising and thought management supplies. 2021 will nonetheless be a tough yr for the economic system as an entire and our technique might be to proceed to make use of a mix of on-line and offline initiatives to focus on our shoppers’ particular person wants.”
Ana Pinelas Pinto, accomplice chargeable for Communications space at Miranda, went into additional element as to how the agency has used know-how to increase their communication channels: “Our predominant problem in 2021 is to keep up and diversify the instruments for communication with shoppers and internally, inside the Miranda Alliance. We are going to proceed engaged on the tasks and initiatives launched final yr, such because the “Miranda Investing Past Borders podcast” (biweekly episodes about enterprise, authorized and regulatory information from across the 19 Miranda Alliance jurisdictions) and the “Miranda TV” (quick movies with related authorized information about Miranda Alliance jurisdictions).”
Alexandra Almeida Ferreira, head of Communications and Public Relations at PLMJ, additionally highlighted the significance of a digital technique: “The key phrases for PLMJ’s 2020 communication technique – externally and internally – had been #digital, #relevance and #content material. In 2020, we went all-in with video and podcasts, each internally and externally. We’re the primary Portuguese legislation agency to have its personal podcast – Podcast PLMJ. This serves as a authorized information hub, but in addition brings shoppers, C-level and academia insights on key progress sectors and developments. It’s mixed with artists from the PLMJ Basis. However 2020 was not all about being on-line. We additionally launched PLMJ Stream, an initiative that’s now a part of the town’s cultural supply, with live shows and talks. It began with a personal live performance by world-renowned pianist Maria João Pires and we’re set to usher in different high-quality artists and new expertise. In 2021 we’re consolidating these initiatives. We’re satisfied that combining digital content material and innovation that’s related – in format and content material – is the best way to go.”
Lourenço Ovídio, head of Model and Communications at Abreu, outlined the significance of know-how in each inside and exterior communication: “Conscious of our function serving to staff higher alter to the social fast-changing atmosphere we launched each day messages with the state of affairs updates and pointers along with recommendations for on-line programs, leisure exercise, digital gymnastic lessons and on-line get-togethers. It was wonderful to witness how our staff from completely different geographies may really feel related. Going through a fast-changing regulation atmosphere, we had been the primary Portuguese agency to set-up an open web page on our web site, which we referred to as “HelpDesk Covid-19”, with each day updates not just for our shoppers however for everybody, with a transparent and simple to learn (non-juridical) wording, inviting the general public to jot down to us, and releasing weekly webinars – the Abreu Ahead Periods.” He provides: “Even earlier than this pandemic, we had been already utilizing a multi-channel technique, favouring digital ones, to satisfy a number of audiences, from our web site information pages to social media resembling LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and even Slideshare and Spotify.
Leonor Cunha additionally confused the significance of inside and exterior communication, “SRS Advogados as all the opposite companies, needed to rapidly adapt and be certain that by means of lockdown all our staff (attorneys and enterprise companies) had all the required circumstances to proceed with their work with the minimal disruption attainable in order that the agency may preserve the standard of its authorized service to all present shoppers and likewise to new or potential shoppers. The drive was to have high quality and accessible content material to shoppers.” She provides: “We carried out a microsite #SRSAdvogadosCovid19Taskforce and supplied authorized data out there to all. Internally, the agency additionally invested on reinforcing communication, and we carried out #SRSTogetherWorkingHealthy not solely to reveal Covid-19 each day information but in addition recommendations on working remotely, lead the groups from dwelling, we saved each day departmental/workforce video-meetings and each Friday a worldwide video-meeting with our Managing Companion. We additionally carried out #SRSTalks, a particular format to supply data on a month-to-month foundation of what was taking place with shoppers, friends and buddies. On this context, we invited the managing companions of a US main legislation agency, a number one metropolis legislation agency and a number one Brazilian legislation agency to offer their testimonials. We additionally had the honour of talks from Cardenal José Tolentino and José Gameiro, the skilled and well-known psychiatrist.”
2021 AND BEYOND
With the pandemic showing to be slowing down however with no instant finish in sight, Iberian Lawyer posed the tough query as to how the authorized market in Portugal sees the longer term. Matilde Horta e Costa says: “We count on the profound modifications accelerated by the 2020 pandemic context to consolidate right into a ´new regular´ in 2021. The genuine and shut communication that’s so attribute of VdA, based mostly on its sturdy tradition, will stay as a key think about retaining us near our employees, shoppers, stakeholders and the neighborhood, incorporating new applied sciences and modern digital platforms that we have now been growing.”
Ana Craveiro concludes: “E mail advertising and digital occasions should be used sparingly, in line with the relevance of the matter at hand. That’s, I imagine, one of many secrets and techniques to outlive pandemic digital fatigue. We acknowledge the overload and solely intervene with added worth.”
Daniela Amaral says: Most of our shoppers have been with us for a very long time, and this won’t be the primary disaster we have now helped them get better from. Our focus for 2021 might be on serving to our shoppers to organize for restoration and are available out even stronger on the opposite aspect.”
Rita Correia is cautiously optimistic and says: “Our technique has been to make sure a daily tempo of on-line conferences and/or interactive workshops on new and sensible authorized developments with a transparent influence on firms’ companies. We hope that this new routine is one thing to be appeared ahead by our shoppers and potential shoppers as a helpful supply of knowledge and steering. We plan to proceed implementing this technique throughout no less than the primary half of 2021. Given the present unpredictability of the COVID-19 state of affairs we will solely hope we might be permitted to diversify our BD initiatives someday in the course of the second semester of the yr.”
Guilherme Zuzarte explains: “Abreu Advogados ended the yr 2020 with a progress in turnover of round 13%, with a progress of greater than 18% in charges acquired and a rise of round 8% in human assets. As for 2021, Abreu Advogados will proceed specializing in assembly consumer’s expectations by being one step forward of change.”
Leonor Cunha wraps up by including: “For 2021 we count on there to be a sluggish development in direction of normality. There might be a continued give attention to digital technique, artistic authorized choices and likewise a give attention to the associated fee worth of the service we’re offering to shoppers. Our 2020-2025 strategic plan stays in place and our imaginative and prescient on changing into a Portuguese top-5 main legislation agency relating to each authorized service and consumer care stays our high precedence.”
By Michael Heron
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