The Law Industry Is Changing, So How Can Students Evolve?

Picture via flickr

Automation is taking over industries left, right and center, and the law is no different. According to Deloitte, over 100,000 roles are going to be automated in the next 20 years. It may not sound like much, but the report also says 39% of the jobs within the industry are at risk in the next 10 years. The war with the machines is well and truly here and workers are losing.

However, there is a silver lining for students. Academics may feel as if their course is going to be a dud, a massive waste of thousands of dollars. The truth is that when one door closes, another opens and provides an opportunity. This site points out that law firms will have to learn how to nurture millennial employees as a radical change is inevitable.

So, the future isn’t as bright as it may seem, but what can do students do to safeguard their position in the legal system? Here are a few thoughts and feelings.

Virtual Reality And AI

VR and AI are the two main reasons for job losses in the legal sector, which is why turning to them for help seems wrong. Students, sadly, can’t take the moral high ground at the moment with 31,000 positions lost already because of technology. VR and AI may be the enemy but they are also a friend as the market is an emerging one. At the moment, Oculus is a major player in the game backed by the financial might of Facebook, yet that will change in time. As the tech becomes commonplace, their competition will get bigger and fiercer and this is when students can strike. However, they have to be ready to take advantage, and, to do that, contemplating future clients is essential. Which caterpillar is going to emerge out of a cocoon as a beautiful butterfly?

Facebook And Google

The answer to the question, as is always the case in the 21st century, is social media. The likes of Facebook and Google will dominate the industry because they have already invested millions of dollars. Oculus and Facebook is one example, but there are dozens more such as Google’s foray into the driverless car industry. The men and women in charge may say it is over, but the truth is students shouldn’t take them at their word. Due to their wealth, these companies can start up a new program or make a significant investment at the drop of a hat. Therefore, an internship at one of the top tech firms could be a savvy move. As these companies expand into new sectors, they will need legal help to clear a path. A placement is bottom of the ladder stuff, but it gets a student a foot in the door.

Picture via flickr

Online Media Companies

Tech giants are the market leaders but they aren’t the only conglomerates looking to make a quick buck. One industry which is probably worse off than law regarding automation is the media sector. Whereas journalists used to be the part of a selected group, now they have been replaced by bloggers and citizen reporters. In short, they are under threat and need to find a new revenue stream to survive. Like all wounded animals, media companies are biting back by taking advantage of the internet to lower costs and appeal to a wider base. Of course, the World Wide Web is a tricky and dangerous place from a legal standpoint. Online and offline defamation laws, for example, are only just being merged to form seamless legislation. Still, there are loopholes and blind spots and that is what makes a lawyer imperative even in the media world.

A Nice Niche

Decades ago, law firms concentrated on a handful of topics, from personal injury cases to family lawsuits. Nowadays, there is no such thing as a traditional case as anything goes. This website offers services ranging from social security disability to product liability, and it’s not the only company. Almost every firm in the country will take on a handful of complicated cases, including medical malpractice. The good news for students is that the range of topics is set to grow greater in the not-too-distant future. Soon, lawyers will be in court arguing about intellectual property as opposed to personal injury liability. Niches are forming everywhere and smart undergraduates and postgraduates should understand the potential. For instance, wealth management for the uber rich should be lucrative as the tech boom continues. Just look at how many social media billionaires exist in 2018 compared to 2008.

Privacy

Privacy laws are weird and wonderful in their own right. Take France Vs the UK. The United Kingdom doesn’t have a specific code but focuses on the EU legislation. You can learn more by checking out this webpage. France, however, has a comprehensive set of rules and regulations which state privacy mustn’t be inhibited. In lots of ways, none of this is going to matter in five years’ time. Why? It’s because the internet is impacting a person’s right to privacy. What people may consider sensitive isn’t necessarily so if it is posted or eluded to on Facebook. Fighting against an invasion of privacy will be a big deal, but so will teaching men, women and children how to build walls. As simple as it sounds, lawyers may charge clients for internet safety tips and how to go off the grid in the future.

Picture via flickr

And A Right To Be Forgotten

Data protection is big in North America, but the Europeans are taking it to a new level. In 2018, a host of new rules will come into force which helps protect sensitive information. One of these features is a ‘right to be forgotten,’ which is causing a stink online. Of course, social media companies will have to deal with erasing photos and phone numbers, and that is a situation to exploit. But, students should also look to media companies trying to decide what to take down and what to publish. In many ways, figuring out what is suitable for public consumption is the new industry.

Are you a law student? How do you plan to tackle the threat of automation?

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