The legal industry, like all other industries, isn’t immune to the effects of globalization, the shift of powers, and technological disruptions. In an economy that’s evolving, it’s only natural that there are ups and downs. In fact, those ups and downs are precisely what drive innovation. Over the years, the legal industry has experienced a fair bit of change.
In fact, as changes continue to occur in terms of work styles, demographics, lifestyle, and attitudes, we will be seeing more innovation at an accelerated pace in the near future. Here are some trends that, according to experts, are likely to impact the legal industry in the next 3 to 4 years.
Thanks to the recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, electronically stored information can now be made discoverable. The discovery of such information is what experts are referring to as “E-Discovery” or “Electronic Discovery”.
However, with the growth in electronically stored information, the process of e-discovery is likely to be quite complex, especially in the context of large-scale litigation cases. However, this will lead to the creation of newer roles in areas such as trial technology and litigation support, so as to meet the new demands of the ever-changing digital landscape.
Legal Process Outsourcing
Globalization has led to the legal industry experiencing significant changes in the way legal services are delivered. We have now what is known as LPO or Legal Process Outsourcing. LPO allows law firms to shift duties typically carried out by paralegals, attorneys, and other legal professionals to vendors situated in overseas locations or even domestic locations.
LPO is growing to be favored more due to the cost-benefits that are associated with it.
Law firms will be entering newer territories, establishing intercontinental mergers, and joining hands with foreign counsel. Furthermore, globalization will fuel the development of technological solutions that allow for benefits such as legal process automation and enhanced data security.
The need to go green has gained significance across multiple industries and the legal industry is no exception. Apart from the actual practice of “environmental law”, the industry is growing to be more supportive of sustainable initiatives that reduce its carbon footprint.
We will see more of this happening.
Mobile & Cloud
Thanks to the proliferation of various technological devices and services such as mobile and cloud, legal professionals will be able to function via virtual environments. Even now, there are lawyers out there who function from the confines of their own homes.
Alternative Delivery Models
Affordable legal services that are easier to access will become more prevalent due to the proliferation of virtual assistants, paralegal technicians, self-help websites, and offshore legal vendors. Lawyers will gradually lose their monopoly over the market.
Citizens will be able to address their legal concerns with greater ease, leading to better representation.
Alternative Systems of Billing
Billable hours will no longer be the norm due to the mounting pressure from the market towards the creation of better billing systems for legal services. As clients become cost-conscious, law firms will move towards billing systems that also develop relationships rather than just focus on profits.
Developments in technology and alterations in the economic landscape drive most of the changes that we’ve discussed above. The legal industry is subject to the same rules that govern other industries and businesses in this day and age. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise how fast the legal industry is evolving.