It should be no secret that advancing technology will impact the legal field. In fact, we have warned about the implications of robot lawyers on the legal job market again and again. Now another report gives bad predictions for the legal job market due to technological advances.
According to a report by the important-sounding Wold Economic Forum (pdf), the years leading up to 2020 will be marked by disruption to existing business models and what economists euphemistically call “churn.” Major industries will see significant changes in their workforce due to technological advances in artificial intelligence, manufacturing, robotics, and so forth. The report refers to these changes as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” As you may have guessed, the legal industry is no exception.
The World Economic Forum figures that due to these advances the legal industry will lose about 109,000 net jobs by 2020. A handy graphic from the report:
Keep in mind that the report was authored with the world’s largest employers in mind, so it did not take solo-small firms into account. Many, if not most boutique practices will survive by providing services that are both client-focused and efficient. But while the legal industry as a whole is predicted to be on the lower end of net-job-losing industries, it is still on the losing end. Whether or not robots will truly replace lawyers, change is coming to the legal industry.
Featured image: “Human and robot hand in action of arm wrestling isolated on white background (modified)” from Shutterstock.