A man sitting at a desk with feet on the desk wearing colorful socks thinking about where the legal industry is headed

Curious about the state of the legal profession today and what to do about it?

Published on : 26/08/2021 26 August Aug 08 2021

You may have had an inkling that the legal profession is in flux. 

The legal profession has always been a demanding one. It's not for the faint of heart, and it takes a specific type of person to endure and succeed in this industry. But how does that look today?

The American Bar Association estimates that about half of all law graduates are not employed in traditional full-time positions as lawyers within nine months after graduation. Surprisingly, many recent grads end up working at jobs outside of their field and for less than $40k per year! 

The latest American Bar Association' survey results are available with the release of the Profile of the Profession 2021. It covers many topics, including salaries across the country, pro-bono work, demographics, and more to reveal how the legal professionals fared during the last year of the pandemic. The surveys provide insight and analysis to lawyers and law firms to help them prepare in a world still battling variants of Covid 19.

The pandemic changed the way legal professionals work. 

A year and a half after the pandemic began in March 2020, many lawyers are still working from home, and numerous courts hold hearings online.

Since March 2020, 54% of lawyers were working from home close to 100% of the time at the onset of the pandemic. Another 25% worked remotely between 25 to 75% of the time. 

A majority of lawyers (51%) were challenged keeping their home-life and work-life separate. Many found they missed the social interactions with colleagues and clients. 
This switch to remote working forced lawyers and firms to consider if their technology could keep the sensitive documents they handle and the interactions with clients secure. 

Many lawyers (49%) reported feeling disengaged from their firm or employer during remote work

47% found family obligations disrupted their work.
46% were overwhelmed by their work-from-home to-do lists.

Interestingly, lawyers working on their own were more successful at separating home and work when compared to larger firms. Only 32% reported issues with making the change. 

The pandemic changed retirement plans for older lawyers

53% decided to delay retirement due to COVID-19.
47% sped up plans to retire Reluctance to return to the office.

Reluctance to return to the office

Lawyers from large firms had the most concern about returning to the office.

71% had safety issues about being inside an office building with a lack of ventilation and poor security. 

Smaller firm lawyers had fewer concerns. 42% of solo lawyers and 54% of 2-9 attorney firms were reluctant to return to the office.

Here are ten ways to help you meet the challenges:

It's not easy to be a lawyer. The profession is changing in the face of the health and economic crisis. However, one thing that hasn't changed is the need for lawyers to be creative problem solvers who can anticipate change and adapt as necessary. 

The statistics are a good indicator that law firms who want to thrive should provide the automation and technology that connects their employees and supports them with a centralized solution to keep them in the fold. 
For better efficiencies, your next legal business management system should include the following:

  1. Access a secure way to share information with colleagues, clients and outside talent. 
  2. A document management system that makes instant retrieval of all things related to a case possible
  3. A contract life-cycle solution that manages all stages of the contract, which is the lifeblood of your activities 
  4. A document generator that pulls information from your database to speed up the creation of repeatable documents
  5. An easy way to bill your clients and to monitor and pay outside counsel's invoices
  6. Reduce human errors by taking tasks out of your employee's hands. Give them a head start when creating documents by using automated templates for consistency
  7. Productivity improves when you work with tools that you already use – like Word or Outlook. Ensure your business management software integrates with popular tools for more efficiency and better user adoption
  8. Scan all your documents and images electronically to become searchable and findable when you need them, keeping crucial information within reach 
  9. Work with technology resources who understand automation and know how to solve the real pains of the legal industry
  10. Embrace AI (Artificial Intelligence) to enhance your capabilities


Imagine what you can achieve with everything working together and in sync

Your business is a complex organism that relies on the communication and cooperation of many different parts. To accomplish a frictionless office,  you need everyone working together—employees, clients, vendors. 

It's hard enough to keep up with everything going on these days without having to worry about an outdated system getting in the way or denying access from certain members of your team. 

If connecting with your employees, clients, and vendors is one of the biggest bottlenecks for your business, then automating a legal management system could be just what you need. One way to attain this is by using remote work at home models where everyone can log in from wherever they are on their own schedule. 

Automating your legal business management software can help unify every part of your company so they work more efficiently and smoothly. You can enable remote employees who can work from home to connect to their enterprise network for better efficiency across time zones and geographies. 

About the author: Legal Suite is the worldwide leader in digital transformation for lawyers. We have delivered our state-of-the-art software for lawyers, law firms, and in-house general counsel to 65,000 users for over two decades. www.legal-suite.com


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