Anyone with a growing law firm today most definitely understands the value of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all essential tools for growing one’s client base over time. They can be used to hit targeted demographics faster and more effectively than any other tools we’ve had access to in the past. With technological advances arriving faster than ever, it’s left a lot of us wondering: what’s next?
It’s safe to say that the era of one-on-one attorney and client interaction is done and over with. The increasing benefits of automated software and artificial intelligence are helping more successful firms make more money while the less successful firms still manage to scrape by.
The era of the legal secretary is certainly at an end because of these inventions. Consider for a moment what their tasks used to be: scheduling, billing, managing phone calls, forwarding mail, etc. But most of those tasks can be carried out by automated systems now.
When hiring individual attorneys now, law firms expect more. The associates are basically miniature law firms working for an umbrella corporation. They have their own clients, their own billing systems, their own markets, their own specialties, etc.
But the world is changing fast.
Take something simple, like an attorney’s note taking. Many still like to use legal pads, but the up and comers are mostly keeping a laptop on hand in order to keep track of information. Many automated software systems offer a level or organization that was unheard of a decade ago. Soon, these same systems will be able to use general artificial intelligence to gather and organize data sets on their own, and even review case notes so that lawyers don’t have to do it themselves.
There’s just one problem: lawyers hate change, and historically they’ve always been terribly slow in adopting it. Their clients are usually the ones who stand to lose the most from this sluggish pace of adaptation.
There’s also politics to consider. For example, Elizabeth Warren has made it very clear to the American public that she wants to break up huge tech companies like Facebook and Google, companies that are certainly doing miraculous things, albeit in a somewhat uncouth “the end justifies the means” sort of way. We have to consider what happens if she gets her way and breaks up some of the big companies that other businesses rely on for advertising.
Then again, no one knows who will win the 2020 presidential election or how much power they might have. It’s one thing to say what you want to do, it’s another thing entirely to make it happen.