Episode 165 – Legal Trends For 2017 And Beyond

Episode 165 – Legal Trends For 2017 And Beyond

What effect will Uber & Lyft, Autonomous Vehicles (self-driving cars), and other disruptive technologies have on legal trends?

How will your practice area(s) be affected in 2017 and beyond? Make sure to subscribe & post your review.


Today I am going to talk to you about some issues I don’t know if anybody has talked to you about. I’m here to talk about trends that are happening in our world that will influence the legal profession and why you should care. One thing is Uber and Lyft, I’m currently in Austin Texas and Uber and Lyft had a fight with the local government here and they pulled out. So as of May 9th 2016, quite a while ago now, Uber and Lyft pulled out and thousands of drivers were stranded. So there has been an unemployment spike because of that.

But what was kind of anticipated and what actually did happen is that DWIs have gone up quite a bit because now there is no way for the people to just call a taxi and get home. The traditional taxi services here are pretty miserable as they are in most places and there’s not a lot of them and now when you call for a taxi, you are put on hold for 30 or 40 minutes before you even get through and then it will take the taxi another 30 or 40 minutes to get through to you and the person driving the taxi doesn’t have a GPS for the most part. They will ask you where they are going and won’t even know how to get there half the time. They’ll be on the phone, not even paying attention to the road and it’s just a mess.

What was a great technology that really helped a lot of people, that brought employment to normal people that reduced DWIs and traffic tickets and all that is now gone and who knows when it’s going to return. In other states, it’s a different situation, Uber is there, Lyft is there, It’s pretty strong. Taxi companies have seen their revenues go way down but if you have ever taken Uber or Lyft, I bet you’ve had what’s been an amazing experience. I never waited for more than 7 or 8 minutes for one , the taxis have always been spotless, the people that drive them are nice people, normal everyday people making a nice income, and it was just effortless to use, it was a pleasure. So much better than taxis.

But what could be unfortunate for you if you are in criminal defense or especially DUI or DWI is that those kinds of cases may have gone down significantly in your area. I’ve talked to some attorneys where that’s affected them. So what do you do? Do you just stick in that practice area and be pissed off about it? Do you add on practice areas and expand your scope. Let’s say you just did DUI. Maybe now you need to expand to Criminal Defense in general. That kind of action-reaction is very important for you not to get stuck when something like this happens to you. Again, what I’ve seen some lawyers do is expand their practice areas, add a practice area and just be aware of this early on before you wake up and you realize this year was terrible in terms of revenue.

You are getting fewer calls and now you are in trouble because you don’t have any money saved up and you don’t have any money to do marketing to get you out of this mess. I would say pay attention to these things happening. The legal landscape of technology affects you for sure. It affects everybody, so be aware of it. Let’s talk right now about driverless cars. They are coming,. I see them on the roads, the Google cars. They will be selling sitting in them and no one is driving the car. Tesla motors, they have some driverless cars, Uber is working on it big time, Ford just announced that by 2021 they expect to have many of them on the road.

So it’s coming and it’s coming very soon. How is it going to affect you if you are a personal injury lawyer? Auto accidents, what’s going to happen if no one is driving a car? Who is going to be at fault if there is a driverless car and it gets into an accident and it injures your passenger, who is to blame? Is it the person’s insurance company that is going to cover it? Let’s say it gets into an accident with someone else, is insurance going to cover that? Are you going to have to attack the people that wrote the program? Is it the car itself that could have had a malfunction? This makes it a very tricky thing, so will the number of accidents go down? What will happen? Then the car itself, people are talking about the driverless cars as a wonderful panacea.

You know human nature. What will happen at first is people will start using them and they will want to be in control and drive it. Then at some point people will say, I’d rather just be jamming around , I don’t want to drive, I’m lazy and then legislation will likely come where you won’t be allowed to drive a car unless it’s an emergency or at all. Because driverless cars may cause less accidents therefore the local government may mandate that you have a driverless car or they may penalize you if you don’t have a driverless car because you are more prone to have accidents and hurt people. These are all issues that could affect you depending upon your area of the law.

Again, what do you do? Let’s say you deal with trucks, I just wanted to make you aware of trends that were coming and how they may affect you in ways that you don’t anticipate and to align yourself so that you are not in trouble. Last example, Bankruptcy attorneys having tremendous problems the last few years. Fees are locked in for the most part for 13s and 7s. Fees are very low. Bankruptcies have been in decline for a couple of years now. They may come up again but bankruptcy filing has been way down. What a lot of bankruptcy attorneys have done is they’ve gone to TCPA violations, FDCPA violation, and those kinds of things.

Student loan debts, they had to do it to survive because bankruptcy as a legal profession has just really gone down and the lawyers ironically, sadly that are doing bankruptcy are headed towards bankruptcy themselves. So if you are in that area and that’s all you do you’ve really got to pay attention because things are changing there big time. These 3 examples. This may be a very sobering podcast but it’s just something to be aware of. It’s very important, if you get ahead of these things or if you get a handle on what you are going to do, when they come they will affect you greatly and you either win or you lose. There’s always winners and there’s always losers. Which side do you want to be on? So I hope this helps you. Talk to you soon.

If you need help with your marketing or anything in your practice email me Richard.Jacobs@speakeasymarketinginc.com or call (888) 225-8594. Thank You.


Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)