End of billable hours
Globalization of Law
New Standards of Excellence
We recently began discussing certain ways in which the practice of law may evolve in the next decade. Let’s continue that discussion not just by exploring new technologies, but looking at how we need to respond to them in the upcoming years.
Electronic Discovery (E-Discovery)
The discovery process in preparing lawsuits has historically been one of the most complex and grueling aspects of our profession. It’s incumbent on us as lawyers not just to dig through the data, but to determine what parts of the data are actually relevant to our case. In this age of “big data” where the total amount of available information is on the verge of doubling in size every 12 hours, this task becomes only more difficult. Thankfully, the tools we have for parsing the data are also evolving. E-discovery (the process of sorting through electronically stored information for relevant data) is already playing a huge role in many law firms today, and in the coming years it’s likely to become an essential piece to preparing our cases.
How to prepare: If you are new to the idea of e-discovery, it’s time to immerse yourself in the concept. Begin the learning curve now—in the next few years, it may be the only way you can reasonably perform discovery.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The concept of artificial intelligence (machines with the ability to learn) has long been the stuff of post-apocalyptic sci-fi stories. We’re not in Terminator or Matrix territory just yet, but AI is already transforming the way computers function and how we work with them. AI technology can now control the heat in our homes and offices, write articles for the Washington Post—and, it turns out, help lawyers parse through billions of bytes of data to figure out what’s relevant to their case. (That’s right—a huge aspect of e-discovery is Computer-Assisted Review, which is a form of AI.) While we’re not ready to predict that computers will become sentient and take over the world, we can expect AI to change many aspects of how we do business and practice law over the next decade.
How to prepare: The legal profession is poised to rely on AI more than most in the upcoming years. Familiarize yourself with this technology and learn how it can help automate key functions of your law firm. Once you’ve tackled the learning curve, you’ll likely find your job becomes much easier.
A New Era of Excellence
As more and more day-to-day functions of our law firms become automated, and as machines begin helping us with the more tedious aspects of research and data collection, attorneys are going to have to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. After all, if computers can handle the menial legal tasks in every law firm, one law firm becomes no different from the next in the eyes of a client. Attorneys who wish to thrive in the next decade will need to find new ways to innovate and add value, whether through specialization or outstanding service. In short—there won’t be any room for mediocrity, and lawyers who are just “good enough”…won’t be.
How to prepare: Begin strategizing now for what kind of attorney you want to be in the next decade. Should you find a niche market and perhaps get more training? What can you begin doing now to add exceptional value and build loyalty among your clients? What will you do to make yourself indispensable for them?
The upcoming changes we see coming in 2020s may seem daunting at first, but if you take a proactive approach, there’s no reason your law firm take these changes in stride, grow from them, and even use them to thrive. We’re here to help you plan for success over the next decade and beyond. Give us a call at 888-207-2869.