In recent times, various distinct career trends have been reshaping the legal industry. Workstyles and attitudes are changing, and so is technology.
The good news is these trends enable law professionals to become more efficient and competitive in the global marketplace. Read on to discover seven career trends that are transforming the legal industry right now.
The Law Sector is Expanding Beyond Lawyers
According to the latest statistics from US News, in 2018, the average salary of lawyers in the US was around $121,000. The top 25% earned $182,490, and the lowest 25% earned $79,160. The law sector is as broad as it is diverse, so lawyer salaries for professionals working for state government earn much less than those in the private sector.
With even low-paid lawyers on high salaries compared to other industries, hiring a lawyer is an expensive business for the average Joe. But the legal marketplace is changing quickly. Lawyers do not have a monopoly in the law industry anymore.
Today, clients can gain cheaper legal assistance from a number of professionals who aren’t qualified lawyers, such as paralegal technicians, offshore legal vendors, and legal self-help sites. These new options allow disadvantaged and poorer people to address their legal matters at a fraction of the cost of hiring a lawyer.
In this modern age of the digital marketplace climate, boundaries that once separated locations and industries are dissipating fast. Technological advances are allowing new delivery models that transcend traditional divisions. Many law companies are now starting to collaborate more internally, with others in the supply chain, and with clients.
Lots of law firms are now dismantling enterprise silos and replacing them with more integrated and fluidal workforces so that they can provide better service, understand, and monitor customer requirements.
As going green continues to become a worldwide priority for all industries, environmental law is a growing practice area in the legal sector. And law companies across the planet are establishing new environmentally-friendly initiatives to reduce carbon footprints, promote social responsibility, and cut expenses.
In the US, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have altered how electronic data becomes used. Electronically-stored information is now discoverable in litigation. That includes data like emails, voicemails, instant messages, and data stored on handheld devices.
Retrieving electronically stored information is known as electronic discovery. In recent years, the growth of electronic discovery has changed the face of large-scale and complicated litigation.
Website technology, Software as a Service, and powerful mobile devices are changing the face of the legal industry. Now, law professionals can work virtually from anywhere in the world.
And more and more lawyers and legal professionals are doing just that. Virtual law offices allow professionals to work from home, which enables them to work flexible hours and create a better work/life balance.
For many years, the pressure to sacrifice personal life in favor of work has been a staple of the legal profession. But people in the legal industry are beginning to demand a better work/life balance.
With the advent of workplace policies like flex-time, telecommuting, compressed schedules, and other alternative work arrangements, the law firm environment is gradually transforming to enable workers a better balance between work and home life.
New Billing Models
Lawyers have used the traditional billable-hours business model for decades, but it has often been criticized for rewarding inefficiency. Today, alternative billing models like flat, fixed, capped, or blended fees, are being utilized more and more.
Alternative billing models enables law professionals to meet the needs of clients who are cost-conscious, create long-term relationships, and maximize value.