Now that 2020 is at last in our rearview mirror, we can turn our collective attention to the road ahead. LeadingResponse has identified three emerging legal industry trends that we believe will shape law practices over the next 12 months.

1. Technology Upgrades

Before COVID-19 drove legal professionals out of office buildings and courtrooms and into their homes, the industry balked at updating technology. But the pandemic forced attorneys and law firms to adapt and change. Expect advancements in artificial intelligence, video conferencing, data analytics, and cloud-based operations to continue. Whitney Lawson, senior account manager at LexisNexis, noted in a recent LinkedIn article that she sees many firms embracing a hybrid work model where employees switch between home, the office, and other locations.

2. Staffing & Hiring Shifts

What will the search for talent look like in 2021? According to Sally Kane in American Legal Magazine, among the top law firm trends for the year will be larger firms broadening their non-attorney hires to include CEOs, CFOs, and CMOs. She also believes smaller practices will outsource these positions. Meanwhile, the rise of AI will make it possible for firms of all sizes to incorporate virtual assistants such as chatbots to respond to general questions; and set up online intake processes. These shifts could result in a reduction in staff and overhead.

3. Social Media Use

Like other businesses, attorneys and law firms depend on social platforms to tell their stories and engage with clients. But those without a formal social media strategy should take a hard look at what they’re doing. Good2bSocial, a digital marketing agency serving the legal profession, recommends they conduct a social media audit. It begins with analyzing which platforms they’re using, the pros and cons of each platform, and if – and how – current social content is helping to achieve their growth goals. It’s also important to note which posts are getting the most attention.

While it’s still very early in the year, we feel strongly that these emerging legal industry trends bear watching. They have the power to reshape the profession in 2021 and beyond.

LeadingResponse develops marketing solutions specifically for attorneys and law firms representing a wide variety of practice areas. We work with 500 firms across the country and provide over 1,000,000 pre-qualified leads to our legal clients each year. Learn more