The law is immutable, unchanging. All you have to do is think of a British courtroom—since American law is derived from English Common Law—and you can envision lawyers and judges still wearing black robes and white wigs as they have for centuries. While there may be an occasional change to a statute, the underlying principles of the law do not change. Thus, the practice of law should not change either, should it? Oddly enough, the legal profession is in tremendous flux these days. There are several noteworthy trends impacting lawyers at virtually every level and specialty. By being aware of these remarkable transitions, wise attorneys can acquire some important tips for managing or changing their legal practices.
Staffing Changes in the Law Office
The first thing to know about your firm as well as many others is that there are some major staffing changes taking place. As with lots of professions in the wake of the pandemic, lawyers are seeking different jobs and work patterns. In part, this means many attorneys want to work limited hours. Firms have found this has increased the need for additional staff, such as paralegals, to take up the slack. Reliance has also increased upon professional services outside the practice. A number of tasks formerly relegated to employees are now successfully handled by agencies such as court reporters Portland Oregon. Thus, the first tip you might glean from this is that your professional skills are in great demand.
The Need for Legal Counsel is Expanding
This movement of some attorneys toward diminished practice ironically comes at a time when there is a growing demand for legal services. Actually, the expressions “growing” and “expanding” may be too moderate. A recent Reuters article states that the need for attorneys is “skyrocketing.” A sampling of 1000 American law firms revealed that, just among these companies, there was a need for almost 8500 additional attorneys. For you, there are two possible positives in this news. The first is enhanced job security. Fewer associates are losing their jobs. Second, if you have considered moving on or changing your area or form of practice, there are a great many open positions at every level throughout the industry.
Laws Are Local but Their Reach Is Global
There is no denying that globalization touches everyone’s lives today. The reality is that our clothing, vehicles and cellphones very likely originated outside our national borders. Far beyond that, however, the internet allows us to move freely about the developed world and to invite citizens of distant lands into our virtual presence. This reality translates into commerce and other interactions, all of which are regulated by laws—which is where you come in. The Yale Tribune recently shared some striking thoughts about how globalization impacts your legal practice: “Globalization demands a new kind of legal practitioner. The new-age lawyer, whether they be a corporate lawyer or criminal defense attorney, should be an industry expert or an authority on the law as specialized domains.” The underlying truth is, whether you like or intended it or not, you are now a player on a global scale, implying you may need to up your game.
Business Law Will Continue to Boom
There is money to be made, businesses realize, in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). During the pandemic, the M&A field entered a temporary lull. As the world emerged from quarantine, however, all those delayed business ventures came about, along with additional activities. Fortune reported that, by mid-2021, M&A had already surpassed $2 trillion. M&A transactions were more than 150% greater than they were in 2020. For you, this means that, if there is a growth field in the legal industry, it is business law and in particular mergers and acquisitions. You should note, of course, that M&A law is extremely detail-oriented and that it involves compliance with various legal entities including U.S. states as well as federal government regulations.
The Woodstock Nation Needs Lawyers
Global law and business law are not the only two specialties that seem guaranteed to boom. By the year 2030, every surviving member of the Baby Boomer generation will be at least 65 years old. Because of their unique chronological station in life and because they are so vast in numbers, the Baby Boomers are going to require plenty of specialized legal care:
- Their first and most obvious concern is estate planning through wills, trusts and bequests.
- The enforcement of ageism laws has emerged as a major issue with this group.
- Entitlement law, dealing with Social Security and Medicare problems, is another key specialty.
- Since not all Boomers will have sufficient retirement income to cover their living expenses, a final area of need will be protective services, housing and long-term care.
As an attorney, your job prospects are abundant and this may be an ideal time to focus on precisely what specialty—or two or three—you wish to pursue.