On 23 April, UK-based publisher Haymarket announced its intention to greatly reduce the digital content of its FinanceAsia and Corporate Treasurer brands, enabling it to “further invest and strengthen its events portfolio”. Cited as a necessary response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the move baffled many.

While the value propositions of both Asia-focused titles may have been facing challenges, to double down on events at a time when engagement of all sorts is rushing to become digital seems at the very least counter-intuitive.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s latest annual benchmarking survey, while in-person events are undeniably the highest performing content vehicle through which to secure and convert sales leads, blog posts are the highest performing for building brand awareness – a content marketing goal that was cited in the same survey as the most achievable over the last 12 months.

While there have been a variety of law firm reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic, just as many common trends have emerged as a result of this so-called “black swan” event. Our law firm clients in Asia felt an immediate shift in the priorities of their clients and a slowing down of may work-streams, particularly M&A activities. Conversely, the virus had a positive impact on many other areas of law, particularly those relating to commercial considerations in the face of force majeure.

Business continuity plans at law firms have also been greatly tested over the last few weeks, with many lamenting the various obstacles they have faced to ensure that staff could function remotely. Law firm leaders have since talked about how ‘working from home’ raises fundamental questions around the viability of the traditional law firm business model, particularly with regards to office real estate and technology. Yet the same holds true for clients.

Significant social distancing measures have also compelled clients to embrace ‘working from home’ and while many will return to the office when this is all over, nobody should expect things to return completely to ‘normal’. Clients have gained significant new digital skills and have experimented with many new digital services meaning that they are now much more predisposed to consuming law firm content through digital platforms.

The most successful law firms in 2020 will be those who decide to ride the trends being catalysed by Covid-19. While Haymarket develops its events strategy for 2021, law firms are encouraged to seize the digital day.