New Paradigms and Legal Industry Trends for Paralegals

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Information about New Paradigms and Legal Industry Trends for Paralegals

Published on February 20, 2014

Author: Parsons_Behle_Latimer


Idaho Association of Paralegals New Paradigms and Legal Industry Trends Affecting Paralegals John N. Zarian February 20, 2014 800 W. Main Street, Suite 1300 Boise, Idaho

Paradigms par·a·digm /ˈ parəˈdīm / noun  A distinct concept or thought pattern

Epiphanies  Started with case involving securities, contractual issues, corporate control.  Ended with case involving patents, trade secrets and related IP claims.

Outliers  Outliers: The Story of Success (Malcolm Gladwell, 2008)  “10,000-Hour Rule” – The key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

General Paradigm Shift for Paralegals  Take ownership!  Shift from projectbased to team-based  Understand your unique role on team  Adapt to your law firm, attorneys, practic e areas 5

Questions to Ask in Yourself in Shaping Your New Paradigm(s)  Do I understand the overall mission?  Do I understand the work styles and needs of the attorneys that I support?  Am I contributing to making the attorneys that I work with and my firm successful?  Do I have the skills that I will need to be effective in the future (5 or 10 years)?  How can I be proactive in light of the overall legal industry trends? 6

10 Trends Shaping the Legal Industry 7

Trend #1: Technology & Software  Legal research tools / resources  Communication tools & software  Tools that “level” the playing field  Task-based software (e.g., trial) 8

Trend #2: E-Discovery  Changing rules of litigation for ESI  Changing face of complex litigation  Changing focus of discovery  New roles in litigation support 9

Trend #3: Social Networking  New/changing tools affecting – Discovery – Client contact – Marketing – Networking  Tools to monitor legal developments 10

Trend #4: Changing Law Firms  Impact of trends – Demand for legal work – Pricing pressures  Strategic planning! – Local factors – Firm leadership  Nature of firm – – – – Boutique law firms? Regional law firms? Traditional law firms? Future of “Big Law”? 11

Trend #5: Virtual Law Firms  Changing workforce and technologies  Impact on lawyers and paralegals  Impact on pricing and staffing models  5% of lawyers (2013) 12

Trend #6: Globalization & Outsourcing  Foreign clients  Collaboration with foreign professionals  Use of external vendors by clients  Legal process outsourcing (LPO) to reduce costs 13

Trend #7: Alternative Billing Models  Alternatives to the billable-hour model  Fixed, flat, blended or capped fees  More than 50% of companies using alternative billing?  Alternative billing software/tracking 14

Trend #8: New/Growing Practice Areas  Think BIG about growing practice areas (e.g., IP, e-discovery, labor & employment, elder law, environmental law)  Cyclical practice areas (real estate, bankruptcy) 15

Trend #9: Changing Work Force  Pressure to be more productive / efficient  Economic pressures & compensation  Multi-generational workforce in firms  Work-Life balance?  Workplace policies 16

Trend #10: “Other” Trends?! 17

Final Word … Paradigms How do your concepts and thought patterns about your job/profession align with (a) current circumstances, and (b) overall legal industry trends? 18

Thank You!@ QUESTIONS & COMMENTS  John N. Zarian direct: (208) 562.4902 email: 19

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