Whether it is new ways to deliver legal services or cutting edge technology, law firms are looking for opportunities to grow and expand. This type of practice is often called New Law, but the practical detail of where that pathway leads varies widely from firm to firm.
For instance, one of the key things that differentiates New Law is that it generally includes areas such as e-discovery or data analytics that are outside the normal scope of a law firm’s work but could provide a source of revenue or help to attract younger lawyers to a practice. Typically, these kinds of legal projects are led by a senior partner or a member of the firm’s executive committee and are overseen by a separate management team from that used in standard practice.
Another area of New Law is the use of artificial intelligence to perform tasks that are currently done by attorneys. The most well-known example is the legal software developed by Westlaw that can scan and analyze thousands of pages of caselaw in minutes and provide summaries of key legal issues. Some fear that this technology will eliminate jobs, while others see it as a way to assist attorneys in their work.
In a similar vein, many of the changes that are taking place in the law are new opportunities for attorneys to work with their clients to understand and meet their goals. Increasingly, clients want to be involved in the decision-making process and may be willing to share more of their personal information if they know that their legal counsel will protect it and only use it to achieve their objectives.
Other trends are also changing the way that legal services are delivered. Whether it is a new model for providing legal support to municipal agencies or a partnership between a large law firm and a government agency, these changes are helping to create a more flexible and responsive legal workforce. This issue of State & Local Law News looks at some of the critical issues and developments in state and local law that are impacting clients and practitioners across the country. In addition to a look at a high-profile copyright trial over Ed Sheeran’s hit song, this edition includes articles on Colorado River Basin Compact negotiations, the latest developments in Oregon’s gun control initiative and more. State & Local Law News is published twice a year by the Section of State & Local Government Law. It provides current developments in state and local law of interest to State and Local Government Lawyers, news about the activities of the Section and other information of professional interest to its members. The spring issue can be downloaded here. The summer issue will be distributed to Section members in early June. If you have any questions about the publication, please email [email protected].