If you’re one of the thousands of graduates across the United States who has received a legal degree recently, or who will soon, you’re no doubt starting to look for an appropriate job and trying to learn as much about the industry and role as you possibly can. After all, there are dozens of different specialties to choose from and a wide array of topics to get your head wrapped around, so the sooner you get yourself up to speed, the better.
To help guide your law career over the coming years, make sure you stay abreast of relevant trends in the legal arena. There are always new developments and areas of growth to be aware of, all of which will help you to not only be a better lawyer but also progress your career more quickly. Read on for some of the key legal trends you need to know about today.
Technology Continues to Have an Impact
As you would imagine, technology continues to have an impact in every industry, and law is no exception. Once you complete your law degree and join the profession, you should look for ways to utilize technology in your working life.
For example, use tech to help you automate a variety of routine legal tasks, many of which may be rather boring or tedious. Plus, as a junior lawyer working your way up, you will likely be tasked with poring over page after page of information to find essential details. Thankfully, more and more legal firms are now making use of machine learning algorithms to quickly and accurately extract data and then track, order and analyze it.
Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) programs and other machine-based learning is powering many different legal applications, which can make life as a lawyer easier. For instance, computers can help with predicting legal outcomes, contextual analysis and the examination of litigation data, contracts and other relevant documents. Plus, there is a big rise in the use of discovery software, too.
Micro Niches in Law Practice
When you’re starting out in your career, you may end up working in a legal firm where each day you’re assisting a different senior attorney on their cases. While doing this, or even if you work for a much smaller company with just one or two lawyers, you’re likely to notice micro niches being increasingly prevalent. That is, rising numbers of attorneys are choosing to find a point of difference by serving particular clients in a set niche.
The healthcare sector is a prime example of this. For instance, lawyers may specialize in a field such as sexual harassment within hospitals or nursing homes, the legal ramifications of food-borne illness outbreaks, litigation risks for genomics editing, the use of AI in brain surgery or some other particular area.
Becoming a top expert in a micro niche, and therefore generating a name for yourself and being approached by clients regularly can be beneficial and provide the chance for you to work just on a topic you find interesting. However, do note that if you go down this route, you must make sure there will be enough work to keep you busy. You’ll need to be prepared to travel often too, as you’ll likely need to work with clients around the country and potentially even the world.
Elder Law on the Rise
A big demographic shift is occurring in the U.S. and in many other countries as populations age rapidly. Thus, elder law is on the rise. This term refers to the specific area of legal practice that came about in response to our aging society. Lawyers working in this field focus on the rights of seniors and work to help older adults stay protected from elder abuse.
There are numerous tasks involved in this kind of job. For instance, if you choose to work in elder law, you could help seniors and/or their children or other advocates to handle age-related discrimination, wills and estate planning, incapacity and powers of attorney planning, exploitation (a variety of forms), physical abuse and other responsibilities.
As a specialist in this particular law area, you will help ensure older people of all backgrounds and economic means, living in numerous locations, can get access to justice. You will focus on their rights and independence and help stop their advanced age from making them so vulnerable to being taken advantage of and otherwise compromised.