Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the collaborators are his.
The legal profession is outdated, obsolete and crunchy under the weight of conservative traditions. According to the IBA Young Lawyers report, 20% of young lawyers want to leave the profession completely, while a census report indicates that 39% of law firm partners want to start their own law firms. .
Writing is on the wall – it’s a profession that cries out for change.
However, as one of the oldest professions in the world, change will not happen overnight. Their problems are deeply rooted in every stage, from the experience of those lawyers with a desire and a fresh face who want to be lawyers who enter the profession, to those who are on the precarious path of collaboration. However, for many of the large law firms, the incentive does not exist to change. With prestige attached to its own name, many refuse to evolve, believing wholeheartedly in a system that has followed its course because, for the time being, the benefits are still occurring.
The legal industry has taken a long time to accept different ethnicities, diverse backgrounds and minority groups, which has led to massive inequality in the world of UK law. Only 35% of UK law firm partners are women, and these figures are further distorted if they are considered people of color, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Of course, it’s no coincidence that the stereotypical image of a lawyer is a middle-class white man. .
The profession continues to fail countless people who don’t fit into the legal mold, myself included. After entering the profession in 2009, I spent five years before questioning whether the law career was for me. The absence of a meritocratic system for advancement and the archaic, male-dominated practices I was witnessing do not suit me. It became clear that, despite being very good at my job, there was no promotion on the horizon and I was no longer getting closer to my goal of collaboration. I was sacrificing time with my family and saw no benefit in doing this, so I had to find an alternative. I chose to create my own law firm.
Clearly, the industry needs a change, but perhaps the question should not be why; should it be like?
Related: 10 lawyers turned businessmen creating a revolution in law
How is the legal sector evolving?
Recent advances in the legal industry have seen the rise of LegalTech, legal design, first flexibility firms, and law firm practices that are challenging the status quo of years past. The profession has entered a new era and the next stage of its journey falls on the shoulders of a new strip of legal innovators and, unlike before, these innovators are a whole new class of legal entrepreneurs. I am one of those entrepreneurs.
We are now witnessing legal founders who accept the difference, innovate relentlessly and work tirelessly to create a better legal future than they have experienced. What is even more interesting is the success of these challenging companies. Despite growing in the midst of a pandemic, a shortage of talent and an impending recession, entrepreneurs willing to create something new are being rewarded.
How could the future of the law evolve?
According to the IBA Young Lawyers Report, 17% of young lawyers expect to “witness the evolution of the law” and 16% expect “technological and innovation developments”, while 50.9 % expects a future that promotes “the flexibility”. and reconciling work and family life. “
And they are not alone.
As the founder of a law firm, I have been heavily exposed to the growing pains of the legal profession and have witnessed first-hand the failures of the industry to make it better for its people.
But I have also had a front row seat to the changes that are taking place in this industry. Challenging companies like mine have begun to reject tradition, improve work-life balance, prioritize diversity and inclusion, advance legal technological innovations, and reshape what it means to be a lawyer in the modern age.
But we can’t do it alone.
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Why we need more entrepreneurs
When I entered law, I was a tattooed single mother in my second career. It had not followed the conventional route and did not fit the legal mold. As you can imagine, it was a tough battle for me.
But that battle gave me a unique perspective, one that I was able to bring to my own business when I founded Stephenson Law in 2017. I understood first hand what it was like to be a woman of law, to be a mother, and to be one. a person who stood against the mold. And, as a result, I knew the kind of business the profession lacked and could build.
The different perspectives are very valuable to the evolution of this industry, and I have met countless lawyers who have a lot to offer this profession if they had the opportunity to do so. Many lawyers, like me, have struggled to find their home in this space, and to that I say, we need these people to help build the next era of law.
Being an entrepreneur in law is a daunting prospect, perhaps more so than in many other industries. High barriers to entry, tough regulatory landscape, and well-established competition act as a deterrent, and it’s understandable. But five years after I started my office, I know it can be done. It is possible for a person to make a difference, but collectively we can create a legal profession that is modern, appropriate, and inclusive.
Related: I am a lawyer and entrepreneur who went to jail for 14 months. Here are 9 tips for hiring a white-collar criminal defense attorney.