The events of 2020 fundamentally changed just about every industry. Some changes have become more permanent such as flexible work schedules and locations. Many industries, especially the legal industry, had to adapt to changes brought upon the pandemic causing firms to shift their policies to evolve with the times.
The legal profession is known for being conservative and resistant to change, but the global events of the past two years have forced law firms and legal departments to change with the times and adapt to a new working environment. We dig into the top trends facing the legal industry in 2022 and what firms can expect in the new year.
5 Trends Facing the Legal Industry in 2022
Here are some of the top trends legal professionals will be facing in the new year.
1. Technology and automation
It comes as no surprise that investment in technology will increase, especially when it comes to streamlining and increasing the productivity of workflow. Legal professionals will see an increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) for certain processes, with more methods going digital. Firms will need to have an updated online presence and be easily reachable through the web. This also means that there will be an increase in automation that will lower expenses and increase efficiency of tasks.
Deloitte predicts that 100,000 legal roles will be automated by 2036. Things such as manual record-keeping and other administrative projects that can be automated will be part of the switch.
2. Client-focused approach
As we see more consumers switching to digital, law firms will follow suit to attract clients. According to Clio’s 2021 Legal Trends Report, “In 2018, only 23% of consumers were open to working with a lawyer remotely. Now, as uncovered in this year’s report, 79% of consumers see the ability to work remotely with a lawyer as a key factor in choosing who to work with and 67% said they would look for a lawyer offering both remote and in-person options when searching for an attorney.”
This means that changes need to be made going from in-person to digital or any other way to make it as easy to communicate with the client. Additionally, clients’ interests in sustainability, diversity and inclusion will also play a big role in how firms conduct business moving forward.
3. Increased flexibility
The 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market revealed that pre-pandemic, only 37% of lawyers wanted to work remotely. Now three out of every four lawyers prefer working from home. The 2020 pandemic changed people’s perspectives and priorities. Additionally, with increased digitization and connectivity across firms, we should see more of a shift toward a hybrid and flexible working schedule to allow professionals to have more of a work-life balance moving forward.
So much communication and collaboration with projects can be done remotely today. Furthermore, more remote employees result in lower expenses when it comes to office space, which is something firms will want to take advantage of.
4. Focus on overall wellness
Employees are any firm’s biggest asset and protecting their health should always be a priority. The legal field is known to be demanding and competitive, which can lead to high stress and burnout. Since the pandemic, there has been a shift toward focusing on employees’ mental wellness – and that shift is here to stay.
Focusing on legal professionals’ wellness is not only the right thing to do but will also lead to happier and more productive employees in the long run.
As we talk about digitization of records, this includes sensitive information that is now digitized and moved on cloud-based or remote software. As firms continue to move important data online, it’s imperative that they take cybersecurity seriously and follow protocols to tighten the security of confidential information.
Looking for top legal talent? Remote, hybrid or onsite, we can help. Contact one of our Adams and Martin Group recruiters today!