So, in no particular order, here are my top 10 events that occurred in 2019 that will or should impact the legal profession in the years to come. (The development that will have the most important long term impact: the growing movement to deregulate the legal profession and allow lawyers to practice in firms owned in whole or in part by nonlawyers).
My Top Ten
The days of wild assed guessing, if not over, are waning, at least for good lawyers.
Nothing like a little capitalism.
We haven’t made much progress and may not at least until the economic power is law firms shifts away from old white men
The Number One Development: Regulatory Change
There are signs that the regulatory framework protecting lawyers from, among other threats, the Big Four, may be about to change.
What’s the So What?
If lawyers lose the regulatory protection that keeps the Big Four out of the U.S. legal market, they will face a fundamentally competitive threat. To compete, U.S. lawyers must change. Law firms will soon have to compete more broadly, especially in terms of disciplines and types of expertise. And that will inevitably mean providing more value in critical areas or focusing on narrower specialties.
And this is why the regulatory changes may have such a lasting impact on how we practice law.
There you have it. My top 10. My number one. Happy New Year, everyone.