TRENDS TO WATCH As technology continues to be a catalyst for changes in the judiciary, effective systems and advanced advances in data security and accessibility will drive future law firms to transition to a more digital environment.
Data security: Security of vital data is kept safe from corruption, control of accessibility and ensuring absolute integrity of personal data is paramount to law practice. While most law firms take appropriate steps to protect personal data, break can and happen. As a result, efficient systems and advanced advances in data security and accessibility drive future law firms to switch to more digital technologies. As expected, electronic workflow processes and document retrieval systems will become the norm. Many companies are unwilling to take advantage of these advances due to security challenges. However, the future will be led by companies that work with technology to improve process and efficiency.
Personal Relations / Outsourcing: So many lawyers seek ways to reduce overhead and increase revenue, once integrated services are provided in the context of lawsuits moving towards outsourcing relationships. The once-expansive team of secretaries, printers, paralegals and administrators dramatically decreases. Many companies move from a 1 or 2 to 1 ratio to as high as 4 to 1-metric.
A number of large law firms include the concept of outsourcing routinely legal work locally, nationally and in some cases internationally to India, South Korea, Australia and other places with much lower labor costs. Support gaps where a group of professionals supports a large number of lawyers is becoming increasingly common with administrative and IT support staff located in a more remote and cost-effective location. The US legal industry, according to government data, is a $ 184 billion industry with one million trained lawyers and approximately 500,000 support staff as paralegals and assistants. Trends indicate that thousands of support personnel will be outsourced within the next few years.
TRENDS TO WATCH: Offshore Outsourcing This year, 12,000 legal jobs moved offshore, only 1%; But in 2015, look for this trend to continue, as a projected 40,000 job will be outsourced.
Library / Research: Comprehensive law libraries that once occupied a large part of the law office's rooms are replaced by desktop technology. Many companies convert the space once reserved for the hard-bound library to more flexible meeting places for multiple purposes. Traditional bookkeeping and research libraries are replaced by research areas in the office that occupy minimal square meters. Look for the future library to be small enough to fit a disc in your pocket.
Conference rooms: Technology, video conferencing, connectivity, collaboration and flexibility are all the buzz words associated with the transition in the conference rooms. What once was the traditional formal hub of the company is now replaced by a group of conference, outbreaks and flexible support rooms that offer the latest in audio and video conferencing equipment, connectivity and monitors. Meetings take place more informally in the cafeteria, small niche centers or in what used to be the library. Law firms establish a conference center with state-of-the-art technology and the latest trends in flexible furniture design to accommodate small or large meetings. New conference space includes a more casual and collaborative work space with some offices containing coffee bar to promote and improve social interaction.
TRENDS TO WATCH: A shift in conference rooms What once was the traditional formal hub of the company is now replaced by a group of conference, outbreaks and flexible support rooms that offer the latest audio and video conferencing equipment, connectivity and display.
Negotiations / Arbitration: Law Practices Discover the importance of using space to their advantage to weigh the outcome of negotiations and arbitration. By factoring in physics psychology and using it as a tool, lawyers can potentially change outcomes to their advantage. Comfortable, relaxing, keeping room facilities utilized for lawyer customers that allow a stress free reason to negotiate.
Additional Services: In order to meet the different needs of its customer base and generate more income, many lawyers are legalized additional services on their current repertoire of legal services. Additional services increase the added value of law practices by offering customers additional, convenient services to meet their immediate needs. Being a full service provider, offering a variety of legal and non-legal services, however, has its share of ethical issues that are part of an ongoing debate.