The legal profession is changing.
“Bill Gates once said that we always overestimate the change that will happen in two years, and underestimate the change that will happen in 10 years.”
Slaw, Canada’s online legal magazine, featured an article entitled “Perspectives on the Future of Law – How the Professional Should Respond to Major Disruptions.” All legal professionals should have a strategy to recognize and affirmatively plan for change. Meaningful change, that will meet current client needs and anticipate future challenges, is the antidote to a stagnant profession. Four key “disruptions” to the legal profession are highlighted below.
- Access to Justice
Access to Justice (A2J) efforts seek to remedy the stark divide between those who need legal assistance and those who actually get it. A significant number of people with justiciable events are unable to get the help they want – either because they cannot afford the legal fees or they simply cannot find a legal professional to help them. Legal professionals are challenged to find ways to serve this unrepresented population.
- Client Empowerment
Clients have come to expect transparency in the legal profession. Potential clients are driving lower fee structures and demanding online access to legal services. Lawyers should anticipate these demands and build evolving needs into new business models. These efforts will satisfy the desires of a new generation of clients.
Technology by definition is the development of new concepts to solve problems. New technology not only changes the way legal work is done, it also changes our communication methods. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are two major emerging technologies in the workplace. Embracing new technology, and being comfortable with new systems, is paramount for legal professionals to adapt to the forces of global change.
- Alternative Legal Service Providers
New technology allows non-legal professionals, or alternative legal service providers, to offer legal services without a law degree. The benefit of alternative legal service providers is they are able to reach the underrepresented clients through the A2J efforts. However, the rise in providers without a legal degree challenges the market for legal professionals.
“Lawyers need to recognize that these disruptions are occurring and respond to the changes they will bring.”
Luckily, for legal professionals, there is an ample supply of resources surrounding this issue. Legal professionals should be educated about the changing landscape and actively work to embrace the challenges ahead. Proactive change will ensure a smooth transition into the future for the traditional practice of law.
Interested in preparing for the future of law? Read the full article here.