How has technology changed the legal profession for fee earners?

How has technology changed the legal profession for fee earners?

As technology continues to change the face of the legal industry, Joanne Frears, partner at Blandy & Blandy, Kitty Rosser, associate at Birketts, and Anna Cook, consultant at Bristows, look at how technology has changed the roles of fee earners over the past few years.

Background

Technology is changing the face of the legal industry. Established roles such as knowledge managers, IT directors and of course fee earners themselves have all been impacted in many ways. Beyond that, we are seeing the emergence of entirely new roles such as legal project managers or teams of paralegals who are no longer focused on directly supporting fee earners but are instead working on technology products built in-house. In some cases law firms are going from just selling services to actually selling technology products.

In light of all these changes, how do some of the more established members of legal teams see their roles changing? What are experienced professionals doing (or what should they be doing) to keep up to speed? Are new entrants to their professions realistic about what their futures are likely to entail and are they arriving properly equipped to perform these roles in this changing world?

The changing role of fee earners

So, how has technology changed the roles of fee earners over the past few years? According to Kitty Rosser of Birketts, the ‘default answer that tends to be given to this question is communications; we are all now firmly wedded to our Blackberrys and tablets and as a result are expected to be on hand to provide advice 24/7.

However, whilst the increased ease with which these devices enable us to communicate with our clients cannot be denied, in my view the idea of a lawyer offering round the clock availability is nothing new. I followed my father into law and have vivid

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