In the legal profession, things are constantly changing, so attorneys are always trying to find winning ground on shifting sand.
The law, like the rest of the world, is facing an unprecedented area of change. Due to the evident shifting environments of courts, the corporate environment, innovation, and government, people believe we are accustomed to changes. However, we are now living in a world where novels, CDs, cabs, and lodgings are being phased out in favor of other options. Therefore, attorneys looking to advance in the current social/cultural/technological climate must first understand that the industry is undoubtedly changing. This is true both on a substantive level and the types of cases that attorneys are being presented with and on a procedural level, in terms of the sorts of business practices attorneys must adapt to stay relevant and marketable.
What’s Actually Changing in the Legal Landscape?
- The increasing need for non-attorney staff
- Increased adoption of automation
- Increasing legal technology budgets
- Growing number of alternative legal service providers
- New work cultures (hybrid & flexible models)
As an attorney, you might also be dealing with challenging changes. Therefore, to help you position yourself better to tackle the change, here are a few tips you may consider.
Best Ways Attorneys Can Deal with Change Effectively
Gain More Knowledge & Seek Support When in Need
The legal community has worked to address issues of mindful coping for attorneys by offering legal education courses that provide assistance for attorneys struggling with the challenges and changes of practicing law. Most state bar organizations now require that all licensed attorneys take mental health and substance abuse Continuing Legal Education courses as part of their annual professional responsibility requirement.
Talking to other attorneys in your firm or community is an excellent way to deal with stress. Other attorneys understand the unique challenges attorneys face, primarily related to changes coming to the legal profession. You may also consider legal outsourcing services to get rid of some stressful tasks and get more time to focus on how you can deal with several changes happening around you.
Bust the Pandemic Stress
The legal profession is also affected by the pandemic where all other professionals have shifted to working from home; the legal professionals experienced higher levels of depression, stress, and anxiety. In this situation, the legal professionals have adopted different strategies to cope with the changes. First of all, they have understood what stress is; it’s a normal reaction to the physical or any emotional challenge. They have started staying focused, completing the sleep cycles, closely interacting with colleagues, friends, and family, developing healthy eating habits, working out, exercising, yoga and other meditations, etc. They also start practicing mindfulness in order to cope with these changes.
Deal with Technology Changes Wisely
Changes to the legal profession have been slow but are fast accelerating. With AI and machine learning, a computer can draft documents better and more accurately than humans. Blockchain and smart contracts are also moving the agreements online without the need for attorneys. As a result, pure documentation will no longer be a source of viable income for attorneys. Faced with the backdrop of change, attorneys need to move up the value chain and learn how they could utilize the new technology to add more value for their clients.
It is crucial for lifelong learning of new technology and at the same time stay optimistic about these changes:
1. Set your goal – what to learn about every month – for example, NFT and crypto are the hot topics for now.
2. Pause and think about the big picture – instead of being bogged down on documentation every day, always think about how you can use new technology to improve your legal practice.
3. Take a break often. Go for a walk or do mediation. Freeing your mind of worries will make you more efficient and think about the big picture better.
4. Don’t Multi-task – focus on one thing at a time. Doing too many things at once will increase your anxiety.
5. Take a deep breath and look at things far away. That will help you to think outside of the box.
Use Change as a Motivator
As an attorney, you always need to be ready for change. Whether that has to do with some new information you’ve acquired for a current case or an overall shift in your legal profession, whatever it is, an attorney needs to be adaptable to anything that comes their way. Though there are many ways to adapt to change, one best is shifting to a growth mindset. By doing this, you can use change as a motivator to experiment with different ways of finding solutions and better help yourself and your partners overcome any challenge. In addition, by being one of the first to embrace change and step outside of your comfort zone, you can turn any changes into excellent opportunities.
Focus on Evolving & Moving forward
Businesses are always evolving, especially in the legal profession. This means attorneys need to be adaptable and willing to make adjustments as needed. Though this can seem like a daunting task, choosing to focus on the future is one of the easiest ways to do this. By setting clear and meaningful goals, you and your partners can stay better focused during any form of chaos that may occur. There are many different ways to do this, so whether you choose to make a vision board, create a checklist, or write down your own personal manifesto, just get your ideas out there and get to work. Whether you are taking tiny steps or giant leaps toward your goals, you will always end up with big results if you continually focus on moving forward.
In the legal profession, things are constantly changing, so attorneys are always trying to find winning ground on shifting sand. Besides, the practice of law is intellectually and emotionally challenging. Not only do attorneys have to deal with long hours and the high demands of clients and partners, but they are also constantly learning new laws as precedent changes.
Apart from the ways shared above, the internet, with its endless reach, is the great equalizer and can provide law offices with information that was once only accessible to well-funded mega firms. Therefore, attorneys should consciously decide to engage social media platforms and learn how their industry peers deal with the changes. Ultimately, you must understand that you are a business and must proactively stay current with industry trends, which helps you adapt to change, improve services, and keep present and future clients happily satisfied.