by Autumn T. Johnson
Istarted law school in 2007, blissfully unaware of the loom- ing economic recession that would change the face of the le- gal profession possibly forever. Since 2008, the practice of law has changed tremendously and many
experts think it will never look the same
again. Law firms are hiring fewer associates
and more paralegals. DIY and eDiscovery
services have created entirely new industries. What first-year associates used to do
can now be outsourced to India.
It’s easy to get down about the changes or
for post-recession law grads to get discouraged. But the truth is, when one door closes,
another opens. Big Law may be in decline,
but boutique law firms are on the rise. New
lawyers are ditching the ladder for a nail
and shingle. What used to be impossible
for a new lawyer to manage is made doable
by technology. New lawyers might have an
uphill battle to gain market share from our
bigger, more experienced competitors, but
we have one major ally, technology.
Who Are We?
Who are millennials, anyway? We are the 75
million people born between 1981 and 2000.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
millennials will outnumber baby boomers in
the workplace by 2015. Some of those millennials are new lawyers like me and what
we lack in experience, industry recognition,
or an established client base, we make up for
by leveraging technology.
Let’s start with costs. It used to be expensive to start a solo law practice. New lawyers needed an office, staff, furniture, legal
books, etc. Now we just need a coffee shop,
a laptop, and an Internet connection. Virtual
law offices help keep new lawyers’ overhead
low so we can either compete with our bigger
competitors on price or stick it out until we
have enough experience to turn the heads of
potential clients. Online research tools have
replaced those volumes of legal books — and
New Lawyers Use Tech Savvy
to Their Advantage
NWLawyer | JUL-AUG 2014 30