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Biggest Legal Profession Challenges in 2022
The legal sector has exploded in the past few years and became a multi-billion-dollar industry with a wide range of opportunities. It has seen an increase in demand, which has led to a boom in the overall sector. This is due to the high returns on investments and the profitability globally. Also, since legal outsourcing services are becoming a hot commodity in the market, attorneys and law firms are taking advantage of this trend. This can be seen in the sector’s rapid expansion across the globe.
On the other hand, the industry is also experiencing market disruptions both internally and from consumers setting new market norms and expectations, being disrupted by technological advancements and new market forces. The legal profession is in a state of unprecedented change in 2022. It is going through a transition period, with new technology and the pressure on legal firms to adapt to this change, facing multiple challenges. Let’s read what experts say about this.
Experts’ Views on 2022’s Biggest Challenges for the Legal Profession
1. Transitioning to Using Virtual Assistants
We’re transitioning to hiring virtual assistants in our law firm. The biggest challenge is training remote teams. It’s easy to help guide someone who is in the office and be present all day. It’s tougher when they are more isolated as a remote employee.
Another challenge was taking responsibility for their performance. If they didn’t understand the process or perform well, that’s our fault as the leaders. It’s our responsibility to properly train that remote team. And for us to figure out how to become better leaders so that we can train remote teams.
– Shawn Breyer, Owner, The Hive Law
2. Growing Competition in the Industry
While the online world has opened up many doors across a ton of industries, it also has its downfalls. Since everything is accessible online, it’s opened a whole other door for who law offices have to compete. Companies can help their clients from anywhere and it allows consumers to hire law firms from anywhere. It’s opened up an entirely new door of competition and is another new challenge law firms have to face.
It also means that experienced, certified law firms have to compete against law firms that aren’t as qualified but can win clients over with their marketing, false facts, and low prices.
It’s a new challenge and it’s difficult. Most legal professionals have catered to their local audience and have grown up with this type of marketing in mind. Now things have changed and it’s a difficult challenge for many law firms have had to adapt to.
– Mia Cloud, Founder of Cloud Law Firm
3. Adapting to Digital Transformation
The legal profession is in the middle of an era where new tech and developments are taking over. For many legal professionals, this is a challenge and can be quite difficult.
Most legal professionals have perfected their processes and they understand what they are doing. Now, with new tech being introduced all the time and the effects of the pandemic, the legal profession has had to adapt on the fly without missing a beat. Clients continue to come through and law firms can’t slow down anything just so they can get to know this new tech. They need to keep going, adapt on the fly, and figure it out!
– Jonathan F. Marshall, Owner of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall
4. Inflation May Increase Crime Rate & Attorneys’ Caseload
One large issue facing the legal profession in 2022 is inflation. Statistics show a strong correlation between poverty and crime. The higher the inflation rate, the more desperate people become when their dollars just can’t afford basic necessities. As people turn to alcohol to cope with the high prices and work multiple jobs to support their families, crimes like DUIs or Driving without a license may significantly increase. Taking on multiple jobs and drinking to cope with higher prices puts a huge strain on a marriage.
Finances are one of the main conflict areas of people going through a divorce and the inflation that we are seeing will only make matters worse. We should expect significantly more divorces. The courts should expect more lawsuits too. Trying to keep costs down while going through inflation may mean hiring one employee and not two. Or it may mean getting 10 years out of a piece of equipment instead of the usual 8. With less employees working longer hours or using equipment that has passed its prime years, expect companies to act riskier which will result in more accidents and more lawsuits.
– Clyde Guilamo, Owner of Law Office of Clyde Guilamo, LLC
5. Embracing a Hybrid Working Environment
I think the biggest challenge that all law firms are now facing is how to adapt to a hybrid working environment. Lawyers and other legal professionals are very practiced in working with their clients in person – it is very important for earning their trust in our abilities. When everything moved online a couple of years ago, it was definitely very difficult to navigate all of the legal cases over the internet. Connecting with people over a screen is difficult!
Most law firms did adjust to this – but now we have this strange in-between of a hybrid working environment. It seems that many legal professionals don’t actually know where they stand when it comes to the mix of online and in-person working, and it can impact the consistency of some legal cases.
– Ty Gibson, Attorney and Founder of Gibson Hill PC
6. A Significant Shift in the Communication Infrastructure
One of the most significant challenges facing the legal profession is the change in communication infrastructure. During the pandemic, we relied on technology more than ever before. As such, all industries had to adapt to new ways of communicating and collaborating. Fostering a strong and positive team environment can be difficult when faced with converging external factors. Hence, becoming flexible and taking a versatile approach to communication has been critical for legal firms to continue establishing a strong and reliable brand and service offering.
– Michael Rose, Founding Partner of Hach & Rose
7. Finding New Employees
The biggest challenge right now is finding new employees to join legal companies. With a massive halt in the education sector during the pandemic, when many students decided to take time away from university because they (understandably) didn’t wish to do remote learning, we now have a limited number of new graduates and employees that we can hire into legal firms. On top of this, many existing employees have quit their jobs over the pandemic in search of a different career. It has been quite difficult finding potential employees who are able to join legal firms!
– Daniel G. Leone, Personal Injury Lawyer, NJ Law Results
8. Client Acquisition
By far, the biggest challenge facing lawyers who represent consumers, such as bankruptcy, personal injury, divorce, real estate, etc. is the acquisition of clients. Word of mouth and referrals do generate enough clients as they have in the past. Potential clients are using the internet, researching firms, using social media, and relying on mass-market advertising. Those lawyers who do not adapt will not be able to maintain sufficient business to be profitable.
– Michael McCready, Managing Partner at McCready Law
9. Offering Legal Services at Competitive Prices
A huge challenge seen in the legal profession in 2022 is meeting your clients’ expectations on costs. With many small businesses barely surviving from getting out of COVID, many people are looking for more accessible and affordable legal solutions.
Most people are afraid to go to lawyers because we are still operating under the century-old model of charging by the hour at a high hourly rate. In this day and age, most clients will find this traditional model to be bad value for money, yet there has been no disruption to this model even after the advent of the internet revolution.
– Kim Chan, Founder, and CEO of DocPro
10. Cybersecurity Issues
In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing the legal profession in 2022 is cybersecurity. This is something that is difficult to overcome as there are more intelligent ways to hack into systems. Even those who have protection against this can often fall victim to it, which is a significant issue. It’s something my law firm is trying to combat as much as possible, especially in regard to phishing scams. We don’t want sensitive information being leaked, so we have taken steps to ensure our cybersecurity is as successful as possible.
– Richard J. Brandenstein, Attorney and FBR Law partner
11. Resupplying Cash Reserves
I believe a lot of law firms, even in 2022, are still recovering from COVID’s impact. Specifically, for my firm, I know we were totally caught off guard by the pandemic and it impacted us greatly. As an example, I had to furlough my teams across three markets (and three offices) because I knew if I ever wanted to hire them back full-time and at the salaries they were receiving, I needed to save what reserves we had while COVID materialized. At the time, I had been growing the firms for 10+ years, we had got into a groove, and we simply didn’t expect the court systems to come to a screeching halt as they did. I had always considered the legal industry to be recession-proof, but I didn’t realize how a contagion would turn it on its head. Even with furloughs, the cost of COVID was incredible for firm owners from an overhead perspective.
I mention this two years later because for all intent and purposes, 2020 was a skunked year and the revenue we were accustomed to generating wasn’t there. This set us back. Not only did it hinder our earning potential but it backlogged cases as I’ve never seen before. So we had significantly less income while still having a full plate of cases we couldn’t clear. Because of this, once the courts reopened, I had to hire additional staff to work with my legacy team at addressing the caseloads we had in backlog and new cases/clients. This put many firm owners in a potentially precarious financial position, which I’m optimistic we’re rebounding from, but I suspect many firms are also feeling this pressure.
Restructuring Your Firm & Operations
COVID also exposed how much potential risk a law firm has with regard to costs and overhead commitments. Now that we know the courts can shut down completely if another pandemic emerges, I don’t want to be in that position again. This means that instead of having our team isolated to our office locations, we made sure they were ready to work at home indefinitely. Everyone got a laptop, higher-quality video camera, scanners, printers, etc for their home offices. This is an expense, but if anything ever happens again, we’ll be more suited to adapt.
In a similar grain, I look at my physical office spaces and am considering if we need all the space we used pre-2020? I don’t think we do, as fewer clients want to meet in person, and we certainly aren’t going back to a full-time in-office work schedule. Many team members now operate at home nearly full-time so if that trend continues I can see us downsizing to have smaller footprints. Lean operations are the future of law firms vs the legacy marquee office spaces.
– Brian Joslyn, Owner at Joslyn Law
Law firms should adopt strategies that support creative thinking and innovation. The policies should always be customer-focused while at the same time maintaining the primary goals of the organization. They should also use the latest technology features to make the best use of their resources while generating a constant flow of new ideas.
Besides the need for innovation in today’s fast-changing world, legal professionals and law firms need strategic planning in managing operations, capacity, and productivity. For example, law firms are also increasingly embracing hybrid operating policies with the help of super advantageous legal process outsourcing models.
They are keeping key legal processes in the hands of in-house staff and outsourcing some time-consuming, labor-intensive, repetitive tasks to reliable legal process outsourcing companies. Cogneesol is one such globally trusted firm offering high-quality and dependable legal process outsourcing services to attorneys, law firms, and corporate/government legal departments.
We are in the legal support services industry since 2008 and have delivered highly satisfactory services to 90+ global clients. If you are looking for efficient and affordable legal outsourcing services for your law business, please feel free to connect with us today. Call us at +1 646-688-2821or send an email to [email protected].
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