The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is to make eight members of staff redundant and furlough a further five members of staff in direct response to the impact that COVID-19 has had on the legal industry.

The eight staff are all in back office roles while the five who are furloughed are involved in ILTA’s events programme, which like all others has been hit hard by the coronavirus driven global quarantine.

Speaking today (22 April) to Legal IT Insider and a number of other respected global legal publications, ILTA’s clearly emotional CEO Joy Heath Rush explained that as a trade association ILTA would not benefit from US government loans for non-profits. Heath Rush said: “Rather than using hope as a strategy we’ve made a decision to do a staff reduction now.”

Heath Rush, who must be commended for being so transparent about the decision to eliminate roles, added that the decision had been made that it would be best to eliminate the positions now while they are eligible for employment benefits. She said: “This is a very emotional day but we have to make sure we are running the organisation well and as I told my staff today we need to create the ILTA not of the last 40 years but of the next.”

ILTA has long been planning to incorporate more virtual content into its conference programme to reach far more of its global members and going forward envisages that ILTACON will be something of a hybrid of physical and online get togethers, with Heath Rush commenting: “A virtual option will make it far more accessible.”

ILTA has been working with online events company Communique Conferencing which is well known in the security market for LegalSEC although director of publications and press, Beth Ann Stuebe, said: “We are in conversations with others to help us build the ILTA of the future into what we can dream it to be.”

Speaking to the future, ILTA’s VP of brand and events, Dawn Hudgins said: “Joy has been quoted as saying that a crisis shouldn’t be let go to waste and going forward ILTA will change. Virtual elements will become the norm. A hybrid event will become a normal thing.”