Current Challenges, Future Opportunities: Highlights from the 2022 Legal Trends Report

As the legal industry’s most in-depth examination into the state of legal practice, the 2022 Legal Trends Report brings together essential insights into how law firms have adapted their services to meet the challenges of the past three years. In addition, this comprehensive report sheds light on the forces set to shape these services in the future.

Now in its seventh year, the 2022 Legal Trends Report uses aggregated and anonymized data from tens of thousands of legal professionals in the United States and survey responses from legal professionals and general consumers. This data provides essential insights into how legal professionals use technology and its impact on firm performance.

Building on findings from the 2021 Legal Trends Report, we’ve explored how lawyers adapted to the proliferation of remote work, fundamental changes to the nature of legal work, and what these developments mean for lawyers.

How has business changed for law firms?

The legal industry has not only recovered from the pandemic—it’s grown. Using 2019 data as a baseline, the 2022 Legal Trends Report found that demand for legal assistance has steadily grown over the past three years. Not only that, but the amount collected by lawyers has increased to a whopping 45%!

However, with inflation and predictions of a recession on the horizon, time will tell whether this current “gold rush” of legal services is sustainable.

Setting your firm up for success in the new work era

While “happy employees” isn’t always the first thing you think of when defining success, law firms will need to look inward to succeed in the new work era. Our results show that many legal professionals have switched firms or are currently planning an exit. Nineteen percent of lawyers reported leaving a job in the last year, and nearly 10% of lawyers plan to leave their job in the next six months. The primary reasons for making a switch included better pay, work-life balance, and job dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, while more lawyers are working remotely (or between home and the office) and embracing newfound flexibility, this shift comes with challenges. On a deeper level, firms may be struggling to find a balance between office and in-home work, creating friction between firms and staff and creating further difficulty for attracting and retaining talent.

In our hot talent market, firms need to be competitive—and compensation is only one piece of the puzzle. Embracing the spirit of “antifragility” by reassessing your firm’s processes and long-held beliefs about how and where work should be done is one consideration that can reap dividends for attracting and retaining talent. Not only can you offer more to current and prospective employees, but developing this kind of future-forward mindset may help prepare you for future changes and challenges. A key component to adapting to these changes—with many surprising benefits—is adopting cloud-based legal practice management (LPM) software.

Running a better law firm with cloud-based technology

Our research demonstrates that firms using cloud-based LPM software have higher performance, happier staff, and happier clients. While these effects aren’t necessarily surprising, the data reinforces the need for law firms to invest in legal technology.

Not only that, but cloud-based LPM software is a necessity in the new work era. Having the option to stay in touch with colleagues and clients remotely helps lawyers work with their schedules—not against them—and offers a better work-life balance by letting them work when they want to while staying connected. Perhaps surprisingly, some lawyers even want to work more when using cloud-based LPM software. We discovered that cloud-based LPM users are more likely to want to work throughout the day rather than on a traditional nine-to-five schedule.

Lawyers can handle increased demand

Regardless of what the future holds, we’ve seen that lawyers can handle the increased demand for legal services and challenges of the new work era—particularly when they’re using cloud-based LPM software. In addition to the many other benefits to work and life that come with using cloud-based LPM software, this technology can help lawyers take on more clients by automating administrative work that would otherwise take them away from the practice of law. Adopting technology and a forward-thinking mindset will help law firms become antifragile and thrive in the future—wherever it takes them.

Ready for a deep dive? Download the 2022 Legal Trends Report for free.

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