The only thing that needs to happen in order for many things to become new in life is “change”; lawyers and their businesses aren’t free from it. Let’s take a look at newly-evolving trends that are changing the way lawyers do business.
1. The prevalent use of modern internet technology
A lot of newly-invented information technologies have been widely used by people because of the extent to which they help in reducing expenses on money and energy. The way lawyers do business is changing with respect to various technologies, and can be expressed through 7 ways, viz:
- the lesser amounts of money/energy required to interact with the large and attractive internet world has made lawyers change from doing business offline, to doing more of it online.
- the ability of Skype, Google Hangouts and other new technological platforms to create “video conferences”, is reducing the need for lawyers to use traditional methods of meeting people for physical interviews and meetings.
- the direct access which cloud computing provides to clients’ documents from any part of the world has gradually reduced the need for lawyers to sit in physical offices.
- the ability of data-mining and artificially-intelligent softwares to predict the outcome of cases much better, has made lawyers to reduce their reliance on personal instinct.
- the inexpensive use of automated documents has reduced the rate at which lawyers contact/pay the same attorney for drafting new contracts, because it saves their time and money.
- the degree to which social networking tools (like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) provide direct access to numerous online users, has made lawyers to reduce the rate at which they use traditional tools like TV, Radio, and direct mail advertising.
- the freedom that the increasing number of freelance sites offer, has made lawyers to operate more of their businesses online.
2. The instability of the global economy
Lawyers’ businesses are always influenced by constantly-evolving economic trends. Globally, the legal industry of today is still feeling the effects of past financial crisis which have pressurized lawyers to change from delivering more services at higher costs, to delivering more services at lesser costs.
3. The competition between lawyers offering supporting services
The trend whereby lawyers constantly invent new legal supporting services (which can be free at times) in order to offer them to clients, has changed the way they approach their clients’ needs and requirements, thereby ultimately increasing or decreasing their income.
4. The global pressure on lawyers to beat down legal costs
The global drop in the standard of living has made lawyers to gradually forgo the traditional billing-hour model (which has been criticized for rewarding inefficiency) in favour of alternative billing models such as fixed/flat fees. Recent law department metrics survey reports that over 70% of fees paid to counsels are based on fixed rates rather than hourly rates.
Lawyers should always watch out for new trends in order to be prepared for any abrupt changes, and easily place themselves in favorable conditions.