In the Spring 2017 edition of Res Ipsa, Adjunct Professor Tom Nanney was asked to reflect on how he has personally learned to thrive amidst all the changes in the field of law and provide advice on how other legal professionals should adapt.

Written by Tom Nanney

I recently left a large international law firm, where I worked for 16 years specializing in commercial litigation, to start a new job in the civil litigation department of a state attorney general’s office, defending state agencies and employees. Change is upon me.

To thrive amidst today’s rapidly changing legal market, lawyers must carefully define goals and determine where compromise is and is not possible. While perhaps counterintuitive, a legal job applicant who is dedicated to living in a specific area and practicing a certain type of law is often more appealing than an applicant who is willing to be “flexible” and live anywhere and do anything. The latter applicant has failed to take the internal inventory necessary to obtain a satisfactory legal career. Lawyers must also continuously educate themselves regarding trends in the legal profession.

The transformation of behavior of corporate in-house legal departments in the wake of the Great Recession; the rise of artificial intelligence in document review and legal research; and the continuing consolidation of mid-size and large law firms are all legal trends that affected, and continue to affect, my legal career. Only by being aware of such trends, and many others, can lawyers hope to navigate the rapidly changing legal market. Finally, lawyers must build deep and meaningful relationships with their community and colleagues. Such relationships are more important and meaningful than ever, and provide a source of referrals as well as job opportunities.

 

Read the Spring 2017 edition of Res Ipsa here.