The law industry may have stayed the same for hundreds of years. However, with difficult economic times and technology constantly evolving, law firms are now stepping away from what was considered ‘normal’ and are now changing their workplaces to reflect changes in society.
Here are just some of the ways that law firms are differing in modern times:
Social networking is becoming a fundamental aspect of every industry, which includes the legal industry. As, rather than viewing social media badly, lawyers and law firms are now embracing the idea of social networking and are using it as a tool to grow their business.
Not only can firms advertise their work on social media to grow the number of clients that they have, but these social sites can also be used to recruit and grow a firm. More so, social media can be incredibly useful for cases, as it can help locate witnesses and things like photographs, videos and conversations can be used as evidence.
Thanks to changes in the law, cases are now evolving to allow the use of electronically stored information as evidence. Similar to the idea of using social media as evidence, this means that instant messages, emails, data, voicemails and calendars can all be accessed and used as evidence.
In the past, many lawyers would sacrifice their relationships and social life for their jobs. Where they would put practically every hour of their day into their law firm as they succumbed to the pressure of the workplace. However, this is becoming an idea of the past, as the legal industry is evolving to create a better work-life balance for their workers.
To bring firms into the future, workplaces are now introducing modern ideas like part-time workers, phased retirement and flexible working hours. Basically, anything that allows a workforce to maintain a home life along with their legal profession.
Becoming More Eco-Aware
Historically, law firms would be one of the worst professions for having a large carbon footprint – particularly when it comes to paper usage. This is had to change, though, as becoming more eco-conscious is now fundamental if we are to reverse the damage done to the planet. So, many law firms are now implementing a green initiative to their workplaces in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce overheads.
Some law firms are also evolving to include an environmental section, where they will now take on cases revolving around climate change, fair trade and renewable energy.
Lawyers Working for Virtual Firms
Rather than being tied to the idea of a 9am-5pm workplace, the law industry is now evolving to include flexible working hours as lawyers decide to work for virtual firms. Particularly popular for those wanting to start a family while still working, a virtual firm allows lawyers to become more entrepreneurial as they work the hours that suit themselves.
This has become possible since technology and cloud-based storage has been implemented by the law industry, where lawyers can now access reports and documents online rather than needing to be in an office environment.
With companies having to work through a time of recession, every workplace has become conscious of keeping costs down. Which means law firms, who have historically worked based on billable hours, are now needing to revolutionise the way they charge for their work to keep clients happy.
This means that billing methods such as capped, fixed, blended and flat fees are now becoming a popular way for law firms to bill their clients.
Although hesitant to change at first, the law industry is now stepping away from practices that have been held for years, adapting to fit into more modern ideas and uses of technology.
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