Challenges Facing Law Firms in 2020

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Challenges Facing Law Firms in 2020
Challenges Facing Law Firms in 2020

Whether you have your own law firm or you’re a lawyer that would like to keep abreast of the issues that are facing the industry in the future. Here are some of the challenges the world of law is facing as we move towards 2020:

An End to the 9am to 5pm Career

While a few years ago we seemed to all adhere to the idea of 9am to 5pm career, workplaces are now becoming more flexible and that includes law firms. Now, many lawyers are switching to what is known as being a ‘platform lawyer’. This is considered to be a more self-employed role, where you can choose your own hours.

This increased flexibility is particularly popular with those looking to start a family and for lawyers who would like to run a business alongside their law career. It also works financially, as there are fewer overhead costs as it’s remote role, so lawyers get to keep a larger slice of their billings.

As well as being able to choose where and when they work, lawyers are particularly drawn to the larger payments they can receive. Especially those lawyers who work long hours and bring a lot of money to a firm, with little reward to themselves.

More Law Firms Being Floated on the Stock Exchange

Although law firms now have the ability to become a public company, many firms have been hesitant to make the switch and obtain permission to float themselves on the stock exchange. That was until 2018, where there was a sharp incline in companies taking the plunge.

This trend is set to continue well into 2020, with more and more law firms deciding to become a public company. This is sure to provide challenges to the law world, though, as for centuries now firms have operated using partnerships. However, with a public company allowing for less partner liability, it will be tempting for law firms to make the change.

Gender Equality

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 made companies with 250 or more employees to publish details of their gender pay gaps. Therefore, many law firms have faced challenges about the under-representation of females in high-ranking positions like partner. Resulting in companies to correct this pay gap, with deserving women climbing higher.

Hence, for 2020, we can expect this trend to continue, with the gender pay gap getting smaller and smaller between male and female lawyers.

The Death of Cradle-to-Grave Careers

With the rise of platform lawyers who are taking control of their own careers, it means that there is a decline in the number of lawyers looking to become partners in a firm. Traditionally, lawyers would join a firm and slowly work their way to the top, before being invited to become a partner. That lawyer would then take a personal state in that law firm, meaning they would work with that firm until retirement.

Thought to encompass everything a successful lawyer was, becoming a partner was once the goal of every lawyer and, once partner, that lawyer would never leave that company. However, with many companies hiring their own in-house lawyers, a law firm’s younger generation is getting less experience. As those companies will only hire a law firm for the most complicated of tasks, meaning the partners will deal with these.

Because of this, many firms have a greater need to have a group of experienced and talented partners, which means more law firms are ‘poaching’ partners from each other, which was something that was unheard of in the past. So, we can expect firms to try and reduce the challenges of tying down their most valued lawyers in the next year or so.

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