Trends tend to keep the world moving. Whether they’re fashion trends shaping the cultural identity of the next generation, consumer trends impacting sales across all of the retail industry, or yes, even the way the legal field is performing, trends tend to be extremely impactful on every part of our lives.
In the legal field, trends are a bit different than what you see elsewhere, though. They tend to revolve around which types of cases are dominant at a given time, strategies that are being used to win, and the general direction that courts are taking on particular issues.
If you’re a legal professional or even just a random person who is about to engage with the court system for the first time, understanding trends can be crucial for your success.
Today, we’re going to go over 3 of the trends likely to hit the legal field hard in 2024, and we’ll go over some more in-depth reasons you need to stay on top of them.
Let’s get started.
1: Increased Interest in Smaller Firms
This is a huge opportunity for firms that tend to struggle to pick up high-value cases due to being smaller.
Traditionally, when there’s a really big case, clients tend to go to firms that are massive, have tons of marketing power, and decades of reputation building behind them. There’s a good reason for that, and everyone can understand it if they’re being honest. With a high-stakes case, you want to have the best available. While the biggest firm isn’t always the best, it does appear to be so to someone who doesn’t know much about litigation. They’re just going off marketing they’ve seen and recommendations.
Well, charts show that clients are starting to open up to smaller firms a lot more. This can be for a number of reasons. We’ll highlight each potential reasoning separately.
A: Cost Differences
It’s no secret that price is a factor in practically every decision people are making, right now. Naturally, a small firm, even if it has higher quality professionals, usually has better rates than a big firm with a massive marketing budget.
So, this trend might be starting up partially as a way to find more cost-effective ways to deal with legal needs.
B: Case Load Concern
Litigation is a busy field, and the bigger firms tend to have tremendous caseloads. This affects our next point, too. For now, we’ll focus on clients actually being able to enlist a firm’s services.
If a firm has a packed caseload, you might not even be able to get them to help within the timeframe you need them to. That can end up being catastrophic. Clients are figuring this out, and as a response, they’re opening up to the idea of bringing their high-value cases to smaller firms that don’t get as much attention.
There’s still the possibility that a client won’t be able to get in with a firm, but that chance is a lot lower when the firm is lesser-known, thus taking on fewer cases.
C: Time and Devotion to the Case
This does align with our previous point, but clients quickly find out that bigger firms tend to have trouble devoting the time and resources necessary to truly put their best effort forward with each case. Even with a larger team, there are only so many resources to go around, and when the caseload is packed, that means everyone who isn’t getting special treatment is getting the bare minimum.
In contrast, smaller firms with more relaxed caseloads can typically take a more one-on-one and personal approach to every case. Overall, that creates a better experience for the client, and it increases the chances of reaching a favorable outcome.
That’s not to say that every client who goes to a big firm is going to get pushed to the backburner or struggle to find time for consultations. There are plenty of big firms that take their jobs as seriously as possible and put their best effort into every case. However, there is a trend, and clients are creating their own trend because of it.
Now, it’s important to realize that, even with these three potential factors driving this trend, it’s not an opportunity that just opens the door for you. If you’re a legal professional, you’ll still need to make yourself known to clients. If you’re not a legal professional, and you’re looking for help, we just went over three reasons you might want to hop on this trend and consider a smaller firm.
Of course, always try to find the best firm for your needs. Just because something is trending doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the right choice for you, and you might be better off with a bigger firm if it aligns with your case and needs more effectively.
2: Abortion and FDA-Related Cases
It’s no secret that abortion has been a big topic in pop culture and politics. Since Roe V Wade was overturned in June of 2022, abortion rights, and various other topics attached to them have been hot topics.
Well, the litigation field is no different. In fact, in 2024, the number of cases revolving around abortion is bound to skyrocket.
This is because individual states now have the right to make their own laws on the matter.
We’re not trying to persuade you in either direction when it comes to how you feel about it. We’re simply going to talk about how this is an opportunity for legal professionals to pick up high-value cases and grow their firms. The side of the debate you’re on doesn’t matter in terms of what we’re covering here.
A: Increase in Litigation Regarding Individual Abortion Rights
As states continue to flesh out their own abortion laws, an influx of individualized abortion claims has been made. That’s likely to continue into 2024, and if you’d like to help those individuals make their claims in court and receive financial compensation for denied services, lack of resources, or anything else related to this chaotic litigation space, there’s an opportunity to seize new clients.
B: Shaping Litigation and Building a Reputation
This is also a chance to help shape out litigation is handled in this field. Prior cases are often used to set standards in litigation, and as the entire field is thrown for a loop due to sudden legal changes, that means there’s an opportunity to be in a novel case that sets a standard, either way, you approach the case.
This not only makes you a pivotal part of a state’s legal system, but it also cements your status as a legal professional; a boon for smaller firms that need those opportunities as claims to fame to facilitate necessary growth well into the future.
Standards are changed all the time, but it’s rare that there’s so much opportunity to be at the forefront of it.
C: Growing Your Firm
For this one, you obviously need to have some experience in these types of cases or be willing to learn the ins and outs of this particular field of study. No one wants an immigration lawyer handling their abortion-related case.
However, if you do have the capability to properly handle these cases, it’s an opportunity to branch out and grow your firm toward a new demographic.
3: Anti-Trust Cases are On the Rise
Anti-trust cases are seeing a sharp rise, and they’ve been the focal point of several high-profile cases over the last year or two.
Anti-trust litigation is essentially the barrier preventing powerful companies from forming monopolies and generally non-competitive markets. Even with a free market, this is necessary to keep our economy working and a pro-consumer market available to all.
Well, with more and more companies reaching all-new heights, and of course trying to grow even further, it’s natural that this has become a bigger issue than before. After all, there’s only so much growing a company can do without becoming the only option on the market.
A good thing about this trend is that these tend to be high-value cases, and they’re culturally and economically significant in the bigger picture. So, they’re great opportunities for firms that are equipped to handle them.
Of course, this won’t appeal to every firm, and it’s a difficult type of litigation to suddenly get into because you’re typically dealing with large companies and extremely skilled legal teams built specifically around protecting those companies.
However, this can be a fruitful trend for firms already involved in anti-trust cases or those looking to branch into them after specializing in other business-related litigation.
The previous examples aren’t the only trends in litigation in 2024. They’re just a handful of trends that stand out due to their huge potential and novel nature.
However, it’s also expected that major questions doctrines, litigation finances, and even gender care are all going to trend upward in 2024. There’s also a very likely increase in the willingness of clients to settle cases rather than fight them to the end due to increasing legal costs, an overall increase in caseloads requiring shorter cases, and other factors.
These are all opportunities that your firm can capitalize on, and if you’re a person going to court, it can help you win your case or make legal decisions that lead to more desirable outcomes.
In either case, 2024 was expected to be a rough year for litigation, but it’s actually shaping up to be an exciting one for everyone who pounces on opportunities.
How These Trends Can Be Used to Your Advantage
Now that we’ve talked about trends a bit, it’s time to talk about how they can actually impact you positively.
Obviously, you have to take action to get any of these benefits, but 2024 is ripe with opportunity.
1: Branching Out
With the number of cases in specific fields skyrocketing, it’s a great opportunity to branch your firm out into different areas. It’s usually a good idea to have a general specialty such as car wreck cases, injury cases, immigration cases, etc, but if any of the cases that are trending upward fall into your existing spectrum of specialization, there’s an opportunity to branch out.
2: Staying Relevant
Firms are always in demand, but to stay relevant and successful, they still have to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing what trends are starting helps firms do that. For example, the increased settlements trend we talked about can help you better determine if a case is going to be worthwhile depending on its increased chance of ending early, the amount it’ll be worth, and more. Not knowing that can leave you with a long string of settled cases you expected to go the distance.
Growth is necessary for firms just like any other business. Since trends allow you to refocus your goals effectively, capitalizing on them allows for tremendous growth potential.
For example, taking on a whole new type of case increases your target demographic and diversifies your cash flow. This, in turn, allows you to reinvest even more into the growth of your firm until you’re right there with the big firms that remain dominant.
Get Insight into the Latest Litigation Trends
Obviously, we can only cover so much in one guide. On top of that, these are just predictions. Trends can shift at any time, and this information might become outdated within just a few months.
So, it helps to get some real-time guidance to truly understand these trends and leverage them in your favor.
That’s where Litigation Legal Insight comes in.
We specialize in providing professional consultations to legal professionals to help you win cases, grow your firm, and generally, be more successful. From helping you find the right expert witnesses to helping you understand the latest trends, our team can make sure you’re on the right track.
To give your firm the competitive advantage it needs in the modern litigation world, contact Litigation Legal Insight today.