As Irish legal firms position themselves to survive the peaks and troughs of an uncertain economy, a number of distinct trends have emerged in the legal industry. Most of these trends help law firms and organisations become more efficient, productive and competitive in a global market. From the changing composition of the workforce, to alternative billing models, to flexible scheduling, Irish law firms are conducting business in an entirely different fashion than their counterparts of the 21st century. Below are 10 trends that are currently reshaping the Irish legal industry.
1) A Rise in The Gig Economy
Gone are the days of law firms comprised of 50-100 full-time employees who spend eight hours a day together at an office. The increasing demand for short-term contract work has created a gig economy ripe with contracted legal professionals who respond to legal demands on an as-needed basis for finite periods of time.
2) Legal Outsourcing
One of the best ways for legal professionals to focus on new client development is to outsource tasks such as legal costs accounting, payroll, and other time-consuming but rote tasks. By outsourcing these tasks, legal professionals can devote more attention to expanding their client base and buttressing their image.
3) The Multigenerational Workforce
The face of today’s legal practice is markedly different than that of yesterday’s workforce. Today’s law practices are comprised of millennials, senior citizens, and middle-aged men and women working alongside one another. Practice managers must understand and capitalise on the generational differences that exist between these groups of workers.
4) Flexible Scheduling
The nine to five workday of the 20th century is rapidly approaching extinction. As clients increasingly demand immediate access to legal services, attorneys are burning the midnight oil and are now working with greater flexibility.
5)Alternative Billing Models
Billing practices have changed so much that the practice of calculating hourly billing rates has virtually faded away. Alternative billing models such as fixed or flat fees continue to rise in popularity as budget-conscious clients seek payment options that are both affordable and flexible.
6) A More Mobile Workforce
Attorneys are handling client needs from home and on the road with growing frequency. Accordingly, home-based offices and the use of tablets and other mobile devices has risen substantially among attorneys.
7) Increased Use of Cloud-Based Technology
As lawyers increasingly conduct business on the go from their mobile devices, the need for cloud-based technology has mushroomed. Cloud-based systems permit members of the legal profession to have access to real-time data at any time regardless of their location.
8) Growth in International Law Firms
The global economy has created a growing need for attorneys with knowledge of country-specific laws and regulations. In particular, there is a growing need for lawyers who are well-versed in resolving legal issues that relate to overseas manufacturing and quality control.
9) Online Legal Advice
It was only a matter of time before attorneys began to join doctors, engineers, and other professionals who offer advice online. In some cases, this legal advice is offered free of charge, creating a disruptive force in the legal industry.
10) Data Leakage Protection
It seems that data hackers and thieves are multiplying at an impossible rate. And with hackers now focusing more energy on mobile devices such as phones and tablets, lawyers are forced to ramp up security for their own devices as they simultaneously handle a growing number of cases that surround data leakage.
Staying On Top of Legal Trends with the Help of an Industry Expert
Remaining abreast of current trends in the legal profession is best managed with the help of industry experts. An experienced legal costs accounting provider can provide support when you need it, allowing you to focus your resources on other responsibilities. When combined with flexible scheduling practices and cloud-based technology, this strategy will help your firm remain competitive in an ever-changing legal environment. Talk to us today about how we can help you keep the focus on the important issues facing your law firm.