The legal industry is not what it was five or 10 years ago. To those outside looking in, it can appear that the legal industry is slow to respond to change. However, those of you on the inside know that change is here and it isn’t stopping any time soon.
The legal industry is one that is often viewed as being old-fashioned, formal, and bound by so many rules and regulations, that change is impossible. And yes, this is the courtroom drama made-for-television perspective, but as we all know, the legal industry has been forced to adapt or perish.
Every aspect of the legal industry from the education, the size and dynamics of law firms, the research and discovery phases, and the outsourcing of experts is shifting and evolving. Take court reporters for example, now when you’re looking for a court reporter in a specific city, you can do a quick online search, such as Pittsburgh court reporting company, and quickly find expert court reporters.
In this article, we’ll highlight what we think are the top trends shaping the legal industry. It’s interesting to think about these trends and where the legal industry will be in five years from now. Do you have any guesses on what will be the next big trend in the legal industry?
We live in a data-powered world. Everything we read, watch, listen to, or learn about is powered by smart algorithms crunching huge swaths of data. This data is helping companies market and sell to you and to learn what it is you want before you know you want it.
The great news about this data is that it has created a new domain within the legal industry known as eDiscovery. No longer bound by paper reports, paper research, hard-copy books and other documents, the legal industry can now tap into the power of electronic data.
This rich and easily accessible electronic data has made it easier for anyone, regardless of research budget or law firm size to find key information. Think of how easy it is to search through social media content, text messages, electronic documents, surveys, and even phone records.
Data and the easy access to this data is even changing what clients, reporters, and other interested parties can learn about a case and legal team. In fact, there is so much data available about the legal industry that the American Bar Association has so many surveys and statistics that they can’t be contained on one web page.
You’ve heard the buzz about the gig economy and outsourcing. More and more talented people are realizing that they do not need to be bound by traditional ideas of employment – including those of you working in the legal industry.
A combination of factors has contributed to the rise in outsourcing across legal domains. From cost-cutting, the rise in the remote workforce, to the boom in technology – these key factors have come together to make it possible for outsourcing to be a major trend in the legal industry.
This legal process outsourcing includes legal transcription services, court reporting companies, technology expertise, research, and a lot of the work done by paralegals and other legal professionals. Outsourcing can be viewed as a negative but the advantages it gives to smaller law firms or to any legal professionals who are looking for a work-life balance, cannot be overlooked.
Now, the city or time zone is irrelevant, from taking advantage of a Pittsburgh court reporting company or using a legal transcription services company located in another major city, there are no limits on your access to expert legal professionals.
Changing Legal Workforce
Look around your office. You’re likely surrounded by a range of ages, from those in their 20’s through to people in their 60’s. This wide range of generations is having a profound impact on the legal industry.
From the early adoption of and appreciation for technology and how it can be used to power the legal industry to an ongoing leadership and education exchange – the legal industry is benefitting from this multigenerational dynamic.
The younger generations of legal professionals know that while they are the future of the legal industry, the strength in having experienced legal professionals guide them in what truly does and doesn’t work is a huge strength. And more experienced legal professionals are benefitting from having direct access to younger colleagues who are keen to share their knowledge about technology, research, and new career paths.
Yes, the legal industry is changing. And we believe these three key factors are allowing it to change in the right directions. No industry can remain static and hope to continue to thrive. It takes an awareness of the trends external to the industry and acceptance that change is necessary – fortunately the legal industry is thriving in this regard.