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5 Trends in the Legal Field To Know About

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By Betty Wang, JD on June 06, 2013 12:59 PM

In a rather ancient profession, how are there so many new trends in the legal industry these days? When did barristers start becoming lawyers, and when did it become normal protocol to text your client as a proper means of communicating? Times are changing, and it waits for nobody.

You know that the inner-gunner law student in you from years ago is not going to be pleased with that. Here are 5 recent trends in the legal field that you should know about:

1. eDiscovery. Long gone are the days of all discovery being contained in thick manila folders of bulky papers. Sure, there are still paper-clipped stacks of documents, but more and more these days are firms recognizing eDiscovery, especially since the FRCP has recognized electronic data as discoverable. In the age of technology and the Internet, this only makes sense. Emails are arguably more common than snail mail and text messaging is more popular than ever, for example.

2. Social media. Social networking is not only used amongst laypersons, but is a business' primary marketing tool these days. This doesn't exempt legal professionals who use a variety of social media tools to advertise, recruit, research, and everything in between. There are so many, and all serve different purposes. Sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook all have their rightful place in the legal arena, and should be utilized to keep up with the modern audience and client base.

3. Alternative legal models. Processes such as alternative dispute resolutions, negotiation, and mediation are more popular than ever. Why shouldn't they be? While they often require outsourcing or specializing, they're worth it. They're more efficient, often far cheaper, and they all avoid litigation which, as we all know, is incredibly expensive and slow-moving.

4. Telecommuting. Telecommuting is a common practice for many modern companies, especially those that don't require a business front for client interaction. While client-interaction is crucial for attorneys, however, it can still be properly structured so that lawyers can afford a day or two a week out of the office to conduct work at home or at a cafe. This is also a great excuse to get out of the office also and to meet a client at a coffee shop or somewhere more convenient for the both of you.

5. Quality of life. In the same vein as telecommuting, there's more a focus on quality of life among attorneys. The unwelcome reputation of working long hours with very little Vitamin D and no family time (or a social life in general) is slowly, but surely being replaced by something that focuses more on balancing work and life outside of that. A good way to start with increasing one's quality of life is to ensure more organization and efficiency.

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