Efficiencies will mean fewer lawyers by 2025

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Two lawyers from US law firm Zeichner, Ellman & Krause have predicted fewer attorneys and increased technology capabilities will be the future of law firms.

In a recent article for Bloomberg, Daniel Garrie, co-head of cyber security at the firm and executive managing partner of Law & Forensics LLC, along with partner Yoav Griver, predict that technology will level the playing field when it comes to the capabilities of small to mid-sized firms.

“Technology will allow mid-size and smaller law firms to more frequently ‘punch above their weight’ in seeking new cases they now have the capacity to handle.  In turn, clients will have additional freedom of choice in identifying the right law firm for the task, as firms of all sizes, big and small, will now be able to take on the most challenging and complex cases, assuming they have the right technology and pieces in place to manage the process,” the article said.

More advanced document reviewing technologies will simply mean fewer lawyers involved in document reviewing.

“The net result will likely mean that law firms will shrink, and some will not be as profitable, but arguably there could be a welcome renassiance in the more intellectually challenging aspects of law and trial practice.”

Garrie and Griver also predict that senior lawyers will spend time programing computers to undertake due diligence processes rather than training junior lawyers, causing the size of law firms to shrink.

Cyber threats will begin to increase, the Garrie and Griver prediciting that a ‘Sony-level’ hack is becoming increasingly likely.  Law firms that fail to improve data security will be left behind.
Firms will need to make an important cultural change from the top down, as well as keeping up to date with the latest software.

“The big firms that rely upon discovery and document review to drive profit, increasingly will be challenged by smaller firms that know how to use technology to make themselves lean, nimble, cost-effective, and secure from cyber-attack. At the end of the day, clients will hire law firms that ensure client data is well-protected, and can be reviewed in a timely and cost-effective manner.”