• Impact of the Pandemic on Law firms

    Several industries are devastated because of the coronavirus induced recession in the economy. Industries such as Aviation, Tourism, Hospitality, etc have taken huge hits and currently have come to a screeching halt. Every sector of the economy is suffering because of the pandemic and the legal services sector is no exception. I am penning this blog after examining how the pandemic is affecting the business procurement and continuity at major law firms around the world. We will also be able to see if smaller law firms can weather out these times of crisis.


    There has been a huge impact of the pandemic on the customer demand which was earlier there in the market. For the Law Firms situated in the United States, there has been a notable shift in the dynamics, where the clients have preferred to pursue only those matters which are extremely crucial. Clients have become more high-strung about the practice area they are filing litigation for and are usually seen converging on some specific issues such as Labour, Employment, Healthcare, and Aviation related Laws. Overall, the entire industry, as far as the practice areas are concerned, has seen a negative impact of at least 18%, and litigation in some areas, such as Energy, Financial Services, Technology, Media and Telecom has seen a sharp decline of at least 22% this year. Also, an apparent decrease was observed in the Corporate M&A, Capital Markets, Venture Capital and Corporate Financing, with major law firms turning only towards some of the practices stated above.


    However, from previous periods of crisis, a trend has been observed that law firms and law practitioners are generally good at handling downturns in business and are at greater capabilities of weathering out the economic shifts. During the 2008-09 economic crisis, it was observed that the top 100 Am Law Firms were productive in countercyclical practice areas and were very good at making advances towards a wider range of scenarios. However, during the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, there has been seemingly perpetual retardation in the court systems, owing to the less technologically advanced state of affairs and the initial closure of courts for hearing, investigation, and dispute resolution. Law firms that have Global Finance as one of their major practice areas are more likely to get affected by the crisis because of the nature of the business. Firms that are more locally operated, such as the ones in the state of Texas and Washington have even observed profit gains. On the other hand, firms headquartered in New York are more likely to get affected by the crisis by losing a share from the profits by at least 3%.


    Keeping in mind the lessons learned from the previous crisis and the ongoing pandemic, there could be various things that the law firms could focus on, to maintain a grip on the market and to keep generating revenue. As a paradigm shift has been observed in several business practices, law firm operations should be more client-oriented, and law practitioners should more concentrate on how these unprecedented times are testing their client's businesses. Clients should be reached out at least once in a day by dropping them a personalized email if possible, even of a line or two, so that if there are any legal challenges faced by them, those could be uncovered and a clear nexus could be established between the client and the counsel. Lawyers should focus on learning more about crisis advisory and how the same could be turned beneficial for the clients.


    Lawyers could also make a difference by sharing relevant articles which contain intel for their customers regarding the various business and practice areas in which they operate. This would initiate the flow of information and also help the existing clients and new customers gain some trust in the law firm. New publications such as blog posts and newsletters should be circulated, free of cost so that the knowledge of all law firms in a particular practice area could be established and impacted to the masses.


    Another aspect by which the law firms could be more useful in these testing times should be the pricing that they are quoting to the clients and they should be very competitive about it. This plan of action if more relevant for the global law firms that are facing multifarious business outages, and by the means of competitive pricing, they may attract new customers and even venture into new practice areas. During the ongoing pandemic and a few more months to come, pricing can break the shackles of discipline and they should be more catered towards the needs of the clients and attracting new prospects. Firms may even offer one-time discounts such as Proof of Concept, Calibration Period, etc. so that they may venture into new markets and acquire new business.


    It is still highly uncertain till when these times are going to affect the business, but law firms can weather this crisis out by developing a far-sighted approach to tackle the situation, and it is also quite certain that these things are going to become the new normal and law firms should be keen in developing the practices where they may keep their existing clients and also acquire new customers from the market.

  • The Pandemic Era Film Industry

    We are living amidst a raging pandemic. Every other service we use daily is taking a toll. When the worldwide lockdown began, many necessary and auxiliary services came to a screeching halt. There were also so many services which could not be termed as necessary but still are called pseudo-necessary by many. Services such as dining-out, a quiet bar after a long workday, and a party with friends by the weekend, everything has got stopped and came to a halt. But there is still an entire industry which is trying hard, despite one the worst hit by the pandemic. Yes, I am writing about the film industry today.


    Since my childhood, I've been watching movies and I call myself a movie buff. Not because I watch a lot of movies, but because I like the idea of going out now and then with friends and family and enjoy a good movie night. And if the movie turns out to be a good one, it makes the idea even more attractive. I like the notion of how we wait for a Friday when we anticipate a good movie to be up for a show at our nearest theatre. But ever since the world got hit by the pandemic, some of us have not even been able to go out even for the most necessary needs, going out to a theatre to watch a movie is a far-fetched dream. Hence, the effect the pandemic has to date on the film industry is worth millions.


    When the first case of coronavirus confirmed in Wuhan, the theatres began shutting all around the world. A few weeks during the end-January and early-February rake big business for the film industry around the world because of the Chinese New Year. During these weekends, people are every year treated with good movies and the producers, therefore, get treated well too by good footfall at the theatres. But since early this year only, there has been none of this and the industry has taken a hard hit around the world.


    After seeing China closing the doors of its theatres, countries such as Italy, Singapore, and France also closed its theatres. During mid-March, 2020, India went into a countrywide lockdown and shut its theatres in entirety. India is one of the worst-hit by the pandemic and its film industry is also taking a toll. It has a booming Hindi Film Industry also known as Bollywood which produces more than 100 films every year. Due to the pandemic, many producers are forced to release their movies on OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc, and because of that, the entire Hindi Film Industry is seeing a domino effect of cancellations.


    As for Hollywood, there has been a total shut down of the theatres since April 2020, and that left the producers no choice except for planning the release of their fils at a later date. There has been a drop of roughly 75% in terms of revenue as compared to the last years. Big budget movies such as Tenet and Wonder Woman have been postponed for release due to the shutdown of theatres worldwide. Very recently, Tom Hanks starrer 'Greyhound' had to be released on Apple TV. Tom Hanks was also contracted by the virus along with stars such as Idris Alba and Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Owing to this situation, film production companies such as Warner Bros, Pixar, and Disney are incurring huge losses and in the process of tackling such losses, they are forced to move to OTT platforms to release their movies as there is a seemingly perpetual shutdown of the theatres currently.


    Not just the movies, there have been so many festivals that had to be canceled because of the strict measures of social distancing put in place due to the pandemic. Coachella 2020 is a major example of how hard the entertainment industry has been hit by the virus that the festival had to be canceled. Also, the Cannes Film Festival, which takes place every year in France had to be canceled due to the pandemic. During its illustrious history, it has only got canceled when the nation was in a state of war. But this year, since more than 10,000 celebrities from different parts of the world were expected to attend the festival, it has been canceled for good owing to the stringent social distancing measures. The Cannes Film Festival is currently being used as a homeless shelter. As for the KPOP sensation BTS, they had to postpone the dates of their North American concerts because of these circumstances.


    It’s already a piece of worldwide news that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has got canceled and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to reschedule it to a period not later than the summers of 2021.


    I am hopeful that the situation is going to improve soon, but the question here is, will many people now feel safe to watch a film in a packed theatre? I know its fun to watch a movie when it’s a blockbuster, but the way theatres are packed during the screening of a hit film, it could be a feeding fest for the virus. I can only hope that a vaccine comes out to fight the virus so that there could again be mass gatherings (with all precautions, of course) and people could again enjoy the company of their loved ones out of the homes. Not just for the films, but there would be so many things which it would enable us to enjoy outside.

  • The Big Deceive

    While the pandemic is affecting millions of people worldwide, many people accuse China of a foul play in its role of spreading the virus. These accusations range from controversial lab activities to failing to contain the virus, the role of China during the time Covid-19 was on an initial rise has been suspected to be foul by many. We in this blog are going to take a deep dive into the country's role in the spread of the pandemic and will also see how the country might try to satisfy its desire for world dominance.


    I got this idea behind writing this blog when I saw in the news that a Chinese virologist fled to the US from Hong Kong. The virologist, Li-Meng Yan has accused China of foul play in its role with the handing of Covid-19. She, with many other expert virologists, was asked by the University to study a SARS-like virus that is coming out of Mainland China at the end of December 2019.


    After a few days, these experts at the University were not allowed to talk about it but on the other hand, they were asked to wear masks at all times. There was also a change in the tone of the people who were dealing with the virus, like the authorities and the other scientists at the University when they were asked about the virus.


    Yan, after seeing all this decided to pack her bags and leave the country for good. She took a flight from Hong Kong to the United States and left the country. She was chased by the Chinese government by asking her to shut her mouth about the news of the virus and various cyber-attacks were plotted against her. The Chinese authorities also thrashed her apartments in Qingdao in the hopes of finding a proof of her whereabouts in the US. They also questioned her parents about the same.


    This is not the first time China has been accused of foul play by its scientists. On 30th December 2019, a doctor at the Wuhan Central Hospital, Dr. Li Wenliang shared a message with his fellow doctors warning them about the outbreak of pneumonia of unknown origin and also advised them of wearing protective gear at all times when at the hospital. Later Li was summoned by the authorities for spreading false reports and disturbing the social order. He died of coronavirus after a month on 7th February 2020.


    China's role has been heavily criticized by many in the spread and handling of the virus. People also suspect China of deliberately spreading the virus so that the world order could be shaken, trade may be affected and China's medical equipment manufacturers could be given an upper hand in the entire scenario. This could only be confirmed if the world initiates an international level investigation against the country, and also if whistleblowers like Yan come out of the dark and speak openly about the truth.


    I am not accusing China of actually playing a foul act in the Covid-19 outbreak, but since there are so many people accusing the country of doing such a thing, I can only think where there is smoke, there is a fire.

  • Your Travel Checklist

    As the pandemic is slowly passing by, or I'm not even sure if it's spreading more, because of it’s not much hot news now. We all are wanting to travel soon, for leisure or necessary purposes. I am also wanting to travel to some of my favorite vacation destinations for a very long time but not been able to. My entire summers came and passed by while I looked out my window, clouds passing by and sun's setting, daily.


    It's not very usual I think about traveling, as I usually write about more political stuff or topics which are currently relevant in the news. But yesterday I was watching YouTube and I saw some very engaging blogs and I thought why not plan a vacation to some destination in the mountains. Bu the first thing which popped into my mind was the situation and the slowdown in the tourism industry due to the pandemic. I thought I don't even know how I will commute from one place to the other and save myself from all the spreading of the disease, as well as traveling safely so that any run-ins with the law enforcement could also be avoided. Then I also thought as I am not the only one planning to travel and take a vacation, there would be many who would be thinking the same and would be stuck on how to travel and carry their stuff around. So I gathered some information and decided to make a blog about it.


    There are many modes of transport which you could choose, depending on where you're going and how far you have to travel. The safest way to travel these days is either by air or by your car, but both of them have their limitations. Let's assume that one wants to travel to the Himalayas, now there are no flights in currently serving the mountains, taking a personal car or a hired one is going to burn a hole in your pocket. Hence, its one's choice on how they want to travel and what the budget they've decided to travel with.


    We can now discuss the ways one could travel while maintaining the basic norms which have taken place after the pandemic. These are as follows:

    • Avoid crowded means of travel such as overloaded buses or trains, etc. Overcrowded places are like an open buffet for the pandemic to feast on.
    • Always wear a mask. Yes, you read that right, Trump. Even if you're driving a car and are the only occupant inside, wearing a mask is an added measure for safety.
    • Always maintain a distance to 6 Feet of 2 Meters so that you could help in restricting the spread of the disease.
    • Carry a Hand Sanitizer which should contain a minimum of 60 percent of alcohol.
    • Wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds. Washing hands for 20 seconds break the outer layer of the virus and decreases its potency if it's on our hands. It ultimately us in not getting infected by it.


    The CDC has put in place an action plan and best practices for the people working in the accommodations and hotel industry. Some of them are as follows:

    • Public areas should be cleaned extensively such as lobby, elevator, escalator, restaurant, etc. 
    • Social distancing should be followed at all times in a hotel.
    • The basic things which have been discussed above, which help in the spread of infection should be available in an ample quantity at the hotel.


    With this ongoing pandemic, we know that there has been a lot of pressure on us to stay at homes and help in curbing the spread of the disease. People are giving their best to stay at home and stay safe. Even the best of the plans may get canceled if you're not feeling well physically. Always remember that your health is the only wealth that matters these days. If you are healthy, you have a world waiting to explore. Not today, but maybe tomorrow.


    Say Safe.