The Agile Lawyer Will Rise as Permanent

Sunday, February 2, 2014 | Written by:

We need to help lawyers develop the skills, experience, and confidence to thrive in a marketplace that will increasingly turn to them for niche opportunities, project work, mobile and flex-time engagements.

Concurrently, we need to help lawyers develop the skills, experience, and confidence to thrive in a marketplace that will increasingly turn to them for niche opportunities, project work, mobile and flex-time engagements. This actually ought to be an area of strength for millennial lawyers, who are on record as seeking customizable, flex-time employment that allows them to accommodate work within a larger set of priorities. Law schools need to start helping provide these sorts of skills yesterday.

The coming legal market will still require competent, ethical, hard-working lawyers to solve problems and create value for clients. But lawyer employment is going to acquire some new characteristics. It will be:

  • Agile, requiring flexible availability and multiple short-term engagements.
  • Technology-enabled, using tools that automate or streamline repetitive processes.
  • Multidisciplinary, delivered in conjunction with other professionals and trades.
  • Creative, invoking rarely used skills and talents that, as it turns out, we actually have in abundance.

Lawyers who can meet these criteria, and the firms and clients that seek them out, will be the first winners in this rapidly evolving legal labor market. It won’t be easy, and it won’t always be pretty, but the sooner we adjust our settings to this new environment, the better.