9 Threats To Paralegals & The Paralegal Industry

Written by Jeff Lancaster
January 17, 2017

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Major Trends Threatening Your Career As A Paralegal

Although the demand for paralegal services is expected to continue growing over the next five years, it pays to keep informed about the changes taking places in the legal industry and how they might impact your job prospects.

Our list of 9 threats to the paralegal industry distills the changes you need to be most aware of.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Technology” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-technology.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

By some estimates, up to 25% of a lawyers time is automatable. Most of this time is spent completing tasks of the administrative variety, or completing forms or submitting documents. This is especially bad news for paralegals and legal assistants, whose jobs often consist of managing the law office and handling administrative tasks.

Although full-scale automation will be a long time coming, in order to remain competitive in the future paralegals will need to acquire skills in new areas such as technology management.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Outsourcing” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-outsourcing.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

In the interest of cutting costs and increasing efficiency, many law firms are looking to domestic or overseas contractors to complete legal work. This also allows firms to access expertise in areas that their team lacks for example coding, and draw on additional support in busy periods.

Although the demand for paralegal services is increasing in general, it is possible that some of this will be accounted for through offshoring.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”E-Discovery” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-ediscovery.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Ever since electronically stored information such as emails, messages and calendars have been made discoverable for litigation in 2006, law firms have been seeking out paralegals and support staff that can manage technology and e-discovery systems in addition to paper discovery.

Paralegals who have not adapted to this may find that their skills are no longer as valuable, especially in litigation.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Budget Conscious Law Firms” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-budget-conscious-law-firms.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

The changing nature of work has been facilitated by apps and websites that offer the services of educated, accredited professionals on a freelance or contract basis.

Now, rather than take on a paralegal full-time or even part-time, cost-conscious firms can seek the services of a freelance paralegal when necessary. There are still many roles for traditional paralegals, but job security may become increasingly difficult to come by.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Changing Nature Of The Legal Market” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-changing-nature.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

As general legal services are outsourced or automated, the demand for expertise in niche fields of law will increase. This trend is already visible, and more firms are moving away from a general-practice structure towards building and promoting their specialization.

Law firms in the future will be looking to employ paralegals that can add value to the firm through their experience in and specialized knowledge of the firms area of expertise.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Virtual Law Firms” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-virtual-law-firms.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Virtual law firms allow lawyers to leave the traditional structure of a law firm and offer their services through a firm that exists on the Internet alone. Clients can now access legal services on a freelance style platform that lets lawyers submit proposals and bid for the best price, or simply outsource legal work to a lawyer who works remotely.

These virtual law firms have little need for paralegals that work in an office, and paralegals that decide to freelance their services may find that they are competing with qualified lawyers to complete similar work.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Cyber Security” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-cyber-security-1.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Law firms that make use of the Internet in their operations put the security of their clients information at risk. Given the highly sensitive nature of this information, it is vulnerable to hacking and misuse.

Consequently, security risk management is imperative for all law practices. Paralegals who are not trained in secure information management such as how to encrypt an email pose a real risk to the firm and its clients.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”Social Networking” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-social-media.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Social media is changing the way that law firms and legal professionals recruit, find work, connect with clients and build their professional profiles.

Savvy technology users employ social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to expand their networks and manage their careers. In the future, paralegals that are unable to utilize these platforms may find it increasingly difficult to build up a professional reputation and maintain contacts in the field.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”New Billing Models” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#2EA3F2″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#2EA3F2″ image=”https://www.jplps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/trends-facing-the-paralegal-industry-new-billing-models.jpeg” icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Tech-savvy clients have the tools at hand to put pressure on law firms and register their dissatisfaction with the traditional billable hours structure of charging clients.

This is forcing law firms to adopt new models for billing their time, including making the price for particular tasks more predictable and using Customer Relationship Management software to manage the expectations of their clients.

These changes in client-lawyer relationship could lead to some law firms reconsidering the need to take on full-time paralegals.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

What do you think of this list?

Are you noticing the impact of these changes in your own workplace?

How do you think paralegals can overcome these threats?

Please include attribution to JPL Process Service with this graphic.

9 Threats To Paralegals & The Paralegal Industry

Share this Image On Your Site

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster

JPL Process Service is a trusted process service partner to 100's of law firms throughout Southern California. Call us at (866) 754-0520 to see why or click to order online here.

SHARE WITH FRIENDS

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on google
Google+ 0
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

READ MORE

File, Serve & Save With The Process Service Filing Combo!

Order Any California E-Filing Or Court Filing And SAVE $24 On One Serve!

For nearly 2 decades, JPL Process Service has made life easier for California legal professionals by finding new and innovative ways to deliver their legal paperwork faster, safer and as efficiently as possible.  

866-380-7507 phone
866-684-4815 fax
562-612-7184 text

A FEW OF OUR CLIENTS

HAVE A QUESTION OR COMMENT?

© 2019 JPL PROCESS SERVICE | 14482 BEACH BLVD. STE S WESTMINSTER, CA 92683