Challenges Facing Law Firms in 2021

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For both law firms and attorneys, it is important to keep abreast of 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 2021:

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, the legal industry is of no exception. Many lawyers are now switching to what is known as being a ‘platform lawyer’, considered to be a more self-employed role, being able to choose one’s working 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. With Elite Asia’s remote interpreting service specialised in over 350 languages, it allows lawyers to quickly connect with a qualified professional interpreter within seconds at a fraction of the cost when experiencing language barrier with clients or partners. It is financially beneficial as remote working style requires fewer overhead costs, helping 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 2021, 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. Many law firms have faced challenges about the under-representation of females in high-ranking positions like partner. Companies have to correct this wage gap with deserving women climbing higher. This trend is expected to continue in 2021, with the gender pay gap getting smaller and smaller between male and female lawyers.

The Death of Cradle-to-Grave Careers

Thought to encompass everything a successful lawyer was, becoming a partner was once the goal of every lawyer. 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. Lawyers would then take a personal state in the law firm, serving the company until retirement.

With the younger generation seeking higher flexibility and autonomy, law companies are no longer considered as the one and only cultivating environment for building their careers. With fewer new joiners, higher turnover rate of experienced and talented partners as law firms ‘poaching’ lawyers from each other, firms are foreseen to be struggling to tie down their most valued members in the next year or so.

Changes are inevitable in nowadays world, even for an ancient well-established industry, just like the legal world. With the innovative working style and financial support from the market, the industry is set to turn a new page of a promising future.


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