Read All About It: 3 Key Legal News Trends of 2015

As 2015 winds to a close, it will without doubt be recorded as a high-octane year for the legal profession. Technology continues to effect sweeping changes in law office operations that no one working in the legal field can afford to ignore. Robert Half Legal’s Future Law Office 2020 report identifies these key trends affecting the legal profession over the next five years: emerging technologies, corporate governance regulations and data security concerns.

Here are three legal news topics to be aware of as 2015 comes to a close and legal teams plan for the year ahead:

1. Compliance changes.

At the intersection of increasing government regulation and risk assessment, changes in compliance policies have been a hot-button item for 2015. The Affordable Care Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other federal regulations continue to make legal news headlines and have an impact across the profession. These changes have created new compliance career paths for legal professionals, particularly in the fields of corporate and governmental law. “Demand for specialized knowledge will continue to rise in the years ahead as clients seek legal counsel from partners, legal support professionals and service providers who are true experts in a particular practice area,” explains Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal.

2. Data privacy developments.

The practice of accessing and storing massive amounts of customers’ personal information has become standard for many large corporations, and data privacy is a top priority for many businesses, one that has garnered increasing public and government attention. According to the Association of Corporate Counsel Chief Legal Officers (CLO) 2015 survey, more than 80% of chief legal officers and general counsel surveyed cited data breaches as one of their top concerns for 2015, with more than one quarter reporting a data breach within their organization during the past two years.

With several high-profile data breaches causing major repercussions in regulation and consumer confidence, cybersecurity and cybercrime prevention has become a rapidly growing sector of the global economy. As big data and the collection and use of personal information grow and develop, data security and privacy policies may evolve at a quicker pace.

3. eDiscovery procedures.

Smartphones and the “Internet of Things” have revolutionized eDiscovery methodology, and legal news channels covered a wide range of eDiscovery developments throughout 2015. One of the most pressing challenges facing legal professionals now is how to efficiently parse digital information from multiple sources and devices. “There’s no question, as long as the consumption and volume of electronic data continue to grow, legal professionals and their IT colleagues will be facing ever-increasing demands when compelled to protect, preserve and produce potentially relevant and responsive information,” says Frank Wu, who manages Robert Half Legal’s consulting solutions practice.

Staying current with legal news developments can be a challenge for any manager. There are myriad issues legal staff may need to know about at any given time. Set a good example for your office staff by keeping up with current events and providing regular updates.