Legal Industry Trends in 2021

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October 21, 2023

The legal industry is quite dynamic, changing in significant ways from one year to the next.  Keep your finger on the pulse of the legal industry and you will find several new trends emerge each year.  Below, we provide a look at the top legal industry trends of 2021.


It was not long ago when law firms of all different sizes attempted to market their services as expansive and optimal for every single client, regardless of their nuanced needs. Law firms have largely reversed course for the most part, offering highly specific services instead of a broad range of services.  The demand for highly specific specialized legal services will only continue to increase in the year ahead, largely because too many law firms attempted to provide wide-ranging legal services instead of developing a reputation as a specialist in one specific legal niche.  

In short, clients are searching for a law firm that does exactly what they need.  Firms that specialize in one or two narrow areas of law will stand out from the rest of the pack and ultimately become a leader in that specific legal specialty.  Though there is always the potential for the metaphorical pendulum to swing back the other way, prompting some firms to return to offering legal representation across a litany of practice areas, it will take several years or even decades for such a shift to occur.

Outsourcing Will Continue to Gain Steam

It is no secret that law firms have outsourced some legal support work to low-wage workers in India and elsewhere.  This trend does not appear to be slowing in the slightest.  Outsourcing legal work to those who work for comparably less money makes financial sense in spite of the fact that these workers are located far away from the law firms that employ them.  In a certain sense, outsourcing legal work to minimize overhead expenses is beneficial to in-house personnel as it empowers them to expand their in-house capabilities.

The Rise of Automation and Artificial Intelligence Will Continue

Attorneys and law firm managers are now putting their document management systems under the microscope to get the most out of their sizable tech investment. Document management systems of all different types streamline work and even automate some of it so law firm personnel do not have to endure the monotony and drudgery of repeating the same tasks over and over.  Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that law firms that remain competitive will do so by using deep learning solutions such as Kira.  

Kira and other deep learning tools analyze contracts along with other legal documents to properly organize data and perform timely analysis.  Furthermore, tech has advanced to the point that software is now available with artificial intelligence that makes it easier for corporate attorneys to better manage asset allocation based on regional law offices, geographic area and even specific areas of practice.

Law Firms are Hopping on the Digital Marketing Bandwagon

It was not long ago when the vast majority of law firm clients stemmed from word-of-mouth referrals. Though some personal injury attorneys advertise on conventional outbound mediums such as TV and radio, most law firms relied on client references to expand business.  Times are clearly changing.  More law firms are pivoting away from traditional outbound advertising to inbound marketing on the web.  

One of the primary benefits of inbound marketing online is the fact that it garners attention from those who are actively searching the web for information about legal services. These prospects are comparably valuable as they have demonstrated a clear and legitimate interest in an attorney’s value offering.  Law firm spending on inbound marketing will only continue to increase as we transition through 2021.