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Current Trends and Issues

The legal industry is in a constant state of flux as a result of changes in education, business developments, globalization, and many other factors. Law firms now must compete with non-lawyer service providers for customers, and many are trying to increase profits by hiring more contract workers and making it harder for attorneys to become partners. Some legal services are being off-shored to foreign countries, where wages for legal-industry workers are lower, and others are being in-shored from big U.S. cities to smaller towns, where the cost of doing business is not as high. Lawyers are attempting to stay competitive by pursuing LL.M. degrees and honing their technology skills. (Robert Half Legal reports that employers “increasingly consider technical aptitude a preferred skill for attorneys and a mandatory requirement for associates involved in document review and e-discovery matters.”) The worlds of social media and law are meeting in interesting (and sometimes frustrating ways) for law firms. Reuters reports that some law associates are seeking to become social media influencers on TikTok and other sites by offering legal career advice for aspiring lawyers (okay in most instances), but also seeking big financial payoffs through paid partnerships with fashion companies and other businesses (not allowed at many firms). Some firms are willing to work with associates to allow such arrangements on a case-by-case basis, while others strictly forbid such arrangements. These are only a few of the developments and trends that will shape the future of the legal industry.

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