We all have our guilty pleasures, and I confess one of mine is legal predictions.
Based on the number of folks who share with me their thoughts on which firms will next merge or go belly up, I cannot be the only one.
But among the less painful predictions are those related to what will happen to legal practice areas: Which will grow—and which will shrink—in the coming year.
Among those accomplished at the prognostication task is Bob Denney. His posts with his previews are much anticipated—and shared.
So that’s what I do today. Here are his best estimates for practice area changes in 2016.
For those in too big a hurry to click, here are a few of his predicted areas of growth: cybersecurity, white-collar crime, mergers & acquisitions, and employment & labor. Keep reading here.
Do you agree? Are you seeing the same thing? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – maybe there’s a story in it.
And here are a few other fascinating bits from Bob Denney:
Social media. Except for Facebook, it continues to be hot. Firm websites and blogs are still among the most effective online means for reaching in-house counsel and potential clients, but some marketing experts say they may be surpassed by …
Content syndicators and aggregators. Platforms like JDSupra, Mondaq and even LinkedIn enable a firm to push its content to other sites and services.
Advertising. Whether online, print, TV, radio, billboards or even bus exteriors, advertising continues to be the principal marketing strategy for personal injury lawyers as well as others.
Millennials. Hiring, training and retaining them, as staff as well as lawyers, will continue to be a challenge because many of them chafe against the traditional law firm culture. Yet they are the future of the legal profession.
Departures. Although lateral hiring continues to be a hot growth strategy for many firms, most is at the partner level because firms want the book of business laterals can bring with them. However, fueled to a great degree by the expansion of corporate legal departments, law firm associates and even partners without a large book of business are departing to join legal departments. Why? The workload and the compensation are generally more consistent, without the pressure to record high billable hours and originate business. Translation: The quality of life is better.
Mindfulness movement. There are now reportedly at least two dozen law schools that offer for-credit courses in this Zen-inspired blend of meditation, breathing exercises and focus techniques, which are supported by companies such as Google and General Mills. At least one law firm and the legal department of a major corporation retain a mindfulness coach.
Bar exam scores. The average score on the 2015 summer bar exams reached its lowest level since 1988. Some law school deans have said the test was unfair and that a software glitch made it harder to submit test results. The president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which created the multiple-choice section of the test, replied that law schools have been admitting students with lower qualifications who may encounter difficulty in taking the exam. And, of course, applications to law schools have been declining.Follow @azatty