Emerging Legal Trends Are Changing the Course of Legal Professionals

by Ryancaulker on August 29, 2012

For the first time ever, the U.S. is experiencing a multi-generational workforce consisting of Generation X & Y, the Baby Boomers and Traditionalist. With four generations attempting to labor together in the single workplace, comes a unique set of challenges and dynamics. As millions of Baby Boomers begin make their way toward retirement, Generation Z (those born after 1990) are just beginning their careers. For many of the retirement-aged legal professionals, quite a large number of attorneys and paralegals find themselves financially unprepared to stop working.

Alternative Workforce Strategies

With the recent downturn in the economy, and the inclusion of a highly competitive global market eagerly performing outsourced legal services, many legal professionals are working longer hours and making less. Attempting to make ends meet, law firms have chosen to reduce their workforce by adding greater workloads to fewer employees. This shift in strategies has required an effort to balance workloads with daily living. As a result, many law firms have revamped their policies on temporary leave, part-time work, tele-commuting and flex time, as a way to provide alternative arrangements to get more work out of their minimal staff of legal professionals.

Legal Process Outsourcing

LPO, also known as Legal Process Outsourcing, has changed the way the legal profession provides its services. Using outsourced vendors located at home and in foreign lands, law firms have found that LPOs work well to minimize their overhead while increasing their workload capacity.

The Globalizing Law Firm

The invention of the Internet, telecommuting and instant, expensive worldwide communication has brought with it a paradigm shift of how many law firms do business. The number of local and regional law firms now expanding their services to the international market is dramatically on the rise. With many of the legal processes now automated, and the technological advancements of safeguarding sensitive data, domestic law firms are finding it easy to increase their profits by globalizing their law practice.

Newly Developed Delivery Model

In the last decade or so, it has become obvious that attorneys have lost their domination in dealing with the law. As the legal marketplace continues to change with additional choices of alternative legal assistance available to the masses, law firms need to stay in step with the revolution in legal care. These newly developed delivery models use non-lawyer professionals including virtual assistants, legal self-help sites, document preparers and paralegal technicians as a way to offer affordable legal services to the underprivileged.

Newly Developed Billing Models

Perhaps the single greatest change to the legal profession has appeared at the bottom line. With continuous pressure to take full control over legal cost, many law firms have abandoned the traditional model of billable hours, and replaced it with flat, fix, capped and blended fees. As their clients continue to push for cost effective solutions to their legal problems, attorneys have no choice other than bend to the pressure as a way to ensure long-term relationships and continual ongoing work.

Lexvid is a continuing professional education website that offers legal professionals the ability to earn MCLE credits online, for free. At Lexvid, you can receive your certificate of completion by e-mail within 24 hours.

Ryan Caulker writes for Lexvid, a self-study free online CLE program provider on topics covering all major legal practices. Attorneys can earn and manage all their CLE credits absolutely free and hassle free with Lexvid.

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