What's in Store for Law in 2024?

Posted in Latest News on 24 Nov 2023

As we near the end of the year, it’s time to see what the outlook might be for 2024.  

2023 has been an interesting year for the legal market, with the aftermath of the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis still influencing the market. There have been some ups and downs, but the question remains – what will the market look like in 2024? A recent blog from LexisNexis released five trends that are set to influence the market in the coming year.  

The first is a topic we’ve covered many times here at Douglas Scott: the rise of artificial intelligence. A recent report from LexisNexis showed that only 36% of legal professionals are using it; however, like in all sectors of the economy, its use is projected to grow. Lawyers are turning to AI to find solutions to issues such as drafting contracts, briefs, and other documents and streamlining operations. Lawyers will be taking on greater use of the technology in the future, especially so they can get ahead of other companies who will also be using it. Another potential change that might affect the market is alternative legal fees, with many firms adopting alternative legal fees to curb inefficiencies and a perceived poor return on investment. Clients are starting to favour these fee models, seeing them as better reflecting the work performed and saving on costs. Legal services will, therefore, look to this model to keep competition with firms already offering it.  

There may also be some challenges next year, despite signs of improvement in the market. The nature of the current global situation, plus the fallout of the pandemic and regulatory requirements, means that demand for legal services may only grow by a small amount this year. While it is hard to say what might happen in the future, regarding the economy (especially as forecasts are constantly changing, and even more recent forecasts are somewhat more optimistic), firms might be significantly more likely to focus on new technologies and diversification. However, there are plenty of great opportunities, especially for UK firms looking to enter the US market. Thanks to the ground-breaking merger between Allen & Overy and Sherman & Sterling, Magic Circle firms may be emboldened to try to get their foot in through the door of this vast market. So, there may be more mergers and partnerships on the horizon. Smaller firms, too, might be looking towards growth. Rather than what might be seen as following traditional growth markers, they will be looking to grow organically and investing in services like marketing and business development. There are now many ways to drive revenue growth through marketing and client retention, and these will be key areas to focus on for those firms wanting to drive growth next year.  

Overall, there are plenty of things to be excited about as we enter into a new year. While there are challenges ahead for the market, there are plenty of opportunities for firms looking to seize the incitive, and there could be some exciting developments as the year progresses. We here at Douglas Scott will, of course, be looking at these very keenly and will keep you updated about them. 

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