Seven Key Legal Trends for 2024

Dec 03, 2023

As we approach 2024, the legal world faces a myriad of developments and challenges shaping the landscape in profound ways. From the rising significance of ESG (environmental, social and governance) and climate litigation to the evolving dynamics of litigation funding, these trends not only reflect the current socio-economic climate but also herald significant changes for the legal profession. This article delves into seven key legal trends that are set to define the year 2024, offering insights into how they will impact law firms, their practices, and the broader legal industry.


The Rise of ESG and Climate Litigation

There's a growing trend of litigation related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Companies making misleading ESG claims are increasingly facing lawsuits, which are expected to rise further in 2024​​.


Increased Scrutiny on Law Firms' ESG Practices and Client Decision Making

Law firms are experiencing heightened scrutiny both in terms of their own ESG credentials and the clients they represent, especially in the context of global conflicts like the Russia/Ukraine situation​​.


A New Landscape for Litigation Funding

The litigation finance industry is undergoing significant changes, with landmark rulings and deals reshaping the sector. The future of litigation funding, remains a key area to watch​​.


Evolution of Billing Models

There's a shift away from the traditional billable hour towards alternative fee arrangements like flat or fixed fees. This trend is driven by client demand for cost management and is likely to continue in 2024​​.


Continued Expansion of Legal Tech

The legal industry is increasingly adopting technology, spurred by developments like AI and legal tech platforms. This trend is expected to grow, with legal departments likely to increase their spending on legal tech significantly by 2025​​.


Ongoing Regional Expansion and Competition

Regional law firms are expected to gain more market share, where there's growing competition among firms. This trend is partly driven by the changing dynamics of billable hours and firm profitability​​.


Globalization and Cross-Border Legal Practices

As businesses become more global, legal practices will likely follow suit, focusing on cross-border issues and international regulations. This includes adapting to different legal systems, cultural norms, and regulatory environments, which will be crucial for law firms working with international clients or expanding into new markets.


Conclusion

The legal trends of 2024 present a dynamic and evolving landscape, characterized by technological advancements, ethical considerations, and global economic shifts. As the legal profession navigates these changes, it becomes increasingly important for law firms and legal practitioners to adapt and innovate. The emphasis on ESG concerns, the transformation in billing models, and the rapid expansion of legal tech are not just transient shifts but indicators of a more interconnected and technologically driven legal future. Embracing these trends will be crucial for legal entities aiming to remain relevant and effective in this changing world.

Law firms and legal professionals must adapt to these changes to stay competitive and relevant in 2024 and beyond.