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The 2024 law firm

Usually, at the beginning of a new year, we look back at the trends in legal technology of the last year. Unfortunately, the reports that are needed to do that are not available yet. So, instead, with Lamiroy Consulting turning 30 in February 2024, we will have a look at the 2024 law firm, and at how law firms have evolved over the last decades. We will discuss a range of topics concerning technology and automation in the 2024 law firm, including artificial intelligence, communications. We will see how the cloud, remote work, and virtual law offices have changed law firms, etc.

Technology and automation in the 2024 law firm

Let us go back in time. The early 80s saw the introduction of the first personal computers and home computers. Word Processors had been around since a few years before that. They were found in only a very small minority of law firms at the time. The Internet as we know it, did not exist yet. By the time 1994 came, things had started to change, and a legal technology revolution was on the horizon. Fast forward to 2024. Law firms that don’t use computers or equivalent mobile devices are an endangered – if not extinct – species. Many operational processes in the law firm have been automated.

So, it is safe to say that over the past decades, technology and automation have transformed the legal industry in many ways. According to a report by The Law Society, some of the factors that have contributed to this transformation include increasing workloads and complexity of work, changing demographic mix of lawyers, and greater client pressure on costs and speed.

Two of the most significant changes has been the introduction of the internet with its cloud technologies and of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Most of the evolutions described below have been made possible by the Internet.

Artificial Intelligence

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been one of the main factors driving a substantial transformation of the legal industry. One of its main benefits has been that it notably improved attorney efficiency. AI plays a key role in tasks such as sophisticated writing, research, and document drafting, significantly expediting processes that traditionally could take weeks.


Law firms have moved from traditional methods of communication such as snail mail to more modern methods. These include email, client portals, and cloud-based communications, like Teams and SharePoint. They allow people to share documents with different levels of permissions, ranging from reading and commenting to editing.

Client portals have become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing clients to access their legal documents and communicate with their attorneys in real-time. This has made it easier for clients to stay informed about their cases and has improved the efficiency of law firms.

Cloud, Remote work, and Virtual Law Office

The legal industry has experienced a notable surge in remote work and virtual law offices. Much of this has been particularly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual law offices, facilitated by cloud-based practice management software, offer attorneys the flexibility to work from anywhere, leading to increased flexibility and reduced overhead costs for law firms. The cloud has played a crucial role in this shift. It allows virtual lawyers to run fully functional law firms on any device with significantly lower costs compared to on-premise solutions.

Digital Marketing and Online Presence

The legal industry has also witnessed major changes in its marketing practices over the past decades, adapting to the internet era. Recent studies indicates that one-third of potential clients initiate their search for an attorney online. This emphasizes the importance of a strong online presence for law firms to stay competitive. Law firms now prioritize digital marketing through channels like social media, email, SEO, and websites. Whether marketing the entire firm or individual lawyers, a robust digital strategy is essential for establishing credibility and connecting with potential clients. Personal branding is crucial for individual lawyers, highlighting achievements and values, while law firms should focus on building trust through a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Billing and Financial Changes in the 2024 Law Firm

Another area where the legal industry has undergone significant changes is in billing and financial practices. In the past, law firms relied on traditional billing methods such as paper invoices and checks. However, with the advent of technology, law firms have shifted to digital billing methods such as electronic invoices and online payment systems. This has made the billing process more efficient and streamlined. In addition to digital billing methods, law firms have also adopted new financial practices such as trust accounting. Trust accounting is a method of accounting that is used to manage funds that are held in trust for clients. This is particularly important for law firms that handle client funds, such as personal injury or real estate law firms.

Over the last decades, alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) have also significantly impacted the legal industry. They did so by offering pricing models distinct from traditional hourly billing. AFAs, including fixed fees, contingency fees, and blended rates, have gained popularity as clients seek greater transparency and predictability in legal fees. A recent study identified 22 law firms excelling in integrating AFAs into their service delivery, earning praise from clients for improved pricing and value. The study underscores a client preference for firms providing enhanced pricing and value. This emphasizes how AFAs not only contribute to better relationships between law firms and clients but also demonstrate the firms’ commitment, fostering trust and credibility.

Legal Research and Analytics

Legal research and analytics have also been revolutionised over the last decades, making the process more efficient and accessible. We have seen primary and secondary legal research publications become available online. Facilitated by information and communication technologies, this has replaced traditional storage methods like compact discs or print media. This shift has not only increased accessibility but also allowed legal professionals to conduct more comprehensive and accurate research. Furthermore, the emergence of legal analytics has empowered professionals to enhance legal strategy, resource management, and matter forecasting by identifying patterns and trends in legal data.

Client Expectations

Another notable change is that clients’ expectations of lawyers have evolved significantly. A recent survey highlights that 79% of legal clients consider efficiency and productivity crucial, indicating a demand for more effective legal services. Additionally, clients now expect increased accessibility and responsiveness from their lawyers, prompting law firms to integrate new technologies such as client portals and online communication tools. Transparency in fees and billing practices is also a priority for clients, leading to the growing adoption of alternative fee arrangements by law firms. (Cf. above).


Finally, globalization has significantly impacted the legal industry. It forced law firms to adapt to a changing global landscape and heightened demand for legal services across borders. Many European law firms, these days, are members of some international legal network, with branches in many EU countries. And a recent study highlights the emergence of a new corporate legal ecosystem in emerging economies like India, Brazil, and China. This presents opportunities for law firms to expand globally. In response to the globalization of business law and the increasing demand from transnational companies, law firms are transforming their practices. They do so by merging across borders and creating mega practices with professionals spanning multiple countries. This shift has prompted the adoption of new managerial practices and strategies to effectively manage global operations within these law firms.