Legal Jobs: Recent Changes in the Industry

For decades, even centuries, the jobs of lawyers and legal professionals remained pretty much the same. They were assigned a case-either to argue the guilt or liability of a certain party, or to defend a certain party-and they would question witnesses, study old court cases to find legal precedents relevant to that case, and construct an argument supporting their case. Nowadays, though, the legal profession has been going through a period of major change, as many industries have. It’s quite a different world out there for those in who work in the field of law.

One major recent change is that so many laws and legal records are available online. Many law libraries, which were once hotbeds of legal research, are now virtually empty around the clock. With the Internet and new digital technologies, lawyers can subpoena text messages, e-mails and other electronic texts-which of course means a lot more reading and a lot more work for legal researchers! And many statutes have not caught up to the new technologies, which means that new legal questions arise all the time, as do new legal precedents. What constitutes online harassment or bullying? Does an employer have the right to fire someone because of something he or she posted on his or her Facebook page? These and many more unresolved questions make this a fascinating time to have a legal job.

Also, because so much research can be done online now, many paralegals, legal researchers and others in the legal field can work at home. This means a whole new lifestyle for these professionals: no more rush-hour commutes, maybe no more daycare for their kids. Many law firms use social media to help recruit new talent as well. And plenty of law offices are starting to outsource legal tasks to employees who live far away, perhaps even in other countries. And some law firms exist entirely online. This can mean substantial savings for the partners who own that firm, as they don’t have to buy or lease space, or pay the utility bills and other expenses that go along with a physical office. At one time, no one would have taken an online law firm seriously at all. Now, these kinds of firms just might represent the wave of the future.

There are all kinds of other exciting changes on the horizon for those who work legal jobs. In the future, there will be more chances for lawyers in different nations to collaborate with one another on cases. And more lawyers will no doubt get involved in environmental law. Think about the recent BP oil spill, the call of many scientists to stop global warming, and the emergence of new green technologies and fuels, and you’ll realize that there are many opportunities for lawyers to get involved in suing polluters, in the process protecting the planet and ensuring healthier ecosystems for future generations.

Leave a Reply