The field of Law is a systematic practice that has not change much since its inception. As we embark upon the 22nd Century so must the field of Law. While many practices are ritualistic in their nature, they must make way for technology in addition to younger lawyers entering the field with a variety of skills sets. Lawyers must bridge the international gap in order to foster better business relationships. Lawyers must now make accommodations for technically savvy clients that have access to a wealth of information. With more demands being placed on time management and the struggle for work life balance and international industry, the field of Law will have to loosen its reigns on tradition and embrace the 22nd Century with a new openness in order to maintain a competitive edge.
Law Firms of the 22nd Century- A Vision of the Future
The law firms of the 22nd Century must operate on many levels, never before in legal history has there been a true incentive for law firms to deliver results faster both to internal and external clients. The utilization of resources and better use of IT, law firms are more than just brick, mortar and books. The most important resource any law firm has is its human capital. While thousands enter the field of law yearly the hunt for the best and brightness make firms more competitive. Firms are at war over the best legal talent not only attracting the talent has become more difficult but marinating the best of the best has become more challenging. The Notion of a talent wars is very new to the field of law. In previous years the prestige of being able to call yourself an attorney, meant you could be chosen at a firm’s discretion.
Gone are the days where top legal talents are interested in large corporate firms. Firms now have a wide range of talent from Baby Boomers to Generation Y housed under one roof. Management of such a broad age range and diffing cultures is difficult at best. The question becomes how do manage multiple generations of lawyers with different values, different driving factors, different attitude and different skills? While previous generations have had the ability to grow and adapt the culture of law firms, Generation Y and X seem to be the contouring forces behind the radical changed in the 22nd Century. Integrating Generation Y & X will demand adaptation in many areas such as development.
Development is a mutual process. Senior partners, associates and junior level workers want more pro-active opportunities to develop their careers and recognize they must share in the management of their careers. The demand and needs of the workers are being matched by the firms request for lawyers with expertise, such as management skills, business skills and leadership skills.
Successful career mapping has now taken a front seat for many lawyers. For the past two decades lawyers seemed to be on a path for partnership. For many this level of responsibility can be overwhelming. Alternative career mapping should be made available for the majority of lawyers that will not reach partnership status. For a select few, great attention must be paid to personal development opportunities training and on the job coaching. In the past competency models have been a foundation of corporate leadership programs, however this is a new idea in relation to law firms (2012).
This model has its benefits which include; identifying the skills the firm needs for the future and where gaps. Part of this career mapping is the area of professional development. This are seems to be undergoing construction as the integration of technology encroaches on the field. In the future the field will see an increase in the utilization of interactive Continued Legal Education.
With the insurgence of such a wide variety of works, the culture of the law firms are required to adapt to that of its occupants. Firms are traditionally known for rules, regulations and being strict and