Television and radio personality, Dick Clark, once said, “I don’t set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.” That’s advice worth heeding if you want to remain competitive and, ultimately, profitable in today’s legal marketplace.

Robert Half Legal's latest Future Law Office research, The Evolving Legal Profession and Emerging Workforce of Tomorrow, examines how globalization, changing demographics and increased mobility are influencing the legal field and reshaping its workplace.   

Top Trends Influencing the Legal Profession

Here are highlights from the research:

  1. The definition of client service is expanding. Legal departments are requiring an enhanced level of service and creative partnerships from their law firms. In addition to flexible fee arrangements, they’re seeking outside counsel with in-depth knowledge of their industry who can serve as trusted business advisers.

  2. Globalization is increasing collaboration among law firms. As companies conduct more business on a global scale, they require help from outside counsel to navigate business and legal issues. Law firms are opening international offices or collaborating through legal and multidisciplinary networks to meet this need.

  3. Specialized talent is proving elusive. As law firms and corporate legal departments become more exacting in the expertise they require, demand is increasing for highly skilled talent with industry or practice-area specialization. Litigation and e-discovery are pivotal areas in which legal organizations continue to need targeted expertise.

  4. Social media and Gen Y are influencing the legal workplace. The use of social media and collaboration tools has increased idea-sharing among legal teams. To entice Millennial workers, law firms are offering open office spaces and work-life balance perks, including flexible scheduling and telecommuting.

  5. Clients are seeking flexible solutions and targeted expertise from law firms. The state of the economy during the past few years has prompted a host of changes within the legal profession to improve efficiencies and offer clients more flexible and cost-effective options. For example, flexible staffing models, including hiring legal professionals on a temporary basis, are increasingly being used to deal with greater workloads and to expand the pool of specialized skills required. This approach also is budget-friendly -- contingent legal professionals can be engaged as needed, avoiding many costs associated with full-time staff.

You can read more about how forward-thinking legal organizations are responding to current legal trends in Robert Half Legal’s Future Law Office report.