The USA’s Legal Services Market, At 47.5% Total Share, Is Technologically Advanced And Innovative
The USA’s litigious culture is strong, with the highest number of lawyers per capita, and the presence of many of the world’s most established law schools in the country. The expertise of lawyers in the US means that top law firms are able to demand large fees which allow them to offer premium services to their large clients, whilst also securing healthy profit margins. Of course, further improving these margins with improved efficiencies presents opportunities at any stage and level of the market. This made the USA the largest country in the legal services market in 2019, accounting for $363.7 billion or 47.5% of the market. The size of the US economy, and the fact that the US law is the basis for many international business contracts, which then need to be processed in the US if there are disagreements, are other major factors contributing to its legal services market size.
The legal services market in the USA is technologically advanced. Technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and system process improvements are making some types of legal services more accessible, and are also reducing (sometimes even eliminating) the cost of those services. Many state and local civil legal aid organizations have developed web-based or mobile applications that provide a vast array of resources, such as legal information and guidance, automated forms, assistance with locating a lawyer to provide limited-scope services, and other such innovations. Courts are innovating in various ways including use of remote access technology, and offering online dispute resolution services.
The US legal system is also innovative, introducing new specialized legal services as demand arises. For example, increasing use of drones and expected increase in regulation and legislation of use of drones in the USA will drive the demand for specialized legal services. Drones are increasingly being used for commercial, personal, and military uses. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines drones as the same as an “aircraft” and, therefore, the same regulations are applied to drones. As of February 2017, there were 49,857 commercial drones and 664,688 hobbyist drones registered with the FAA. The demand for lawyers specialized in drone regulations and case studies has grown, resulting from the increased use of drones. For instance, Dentons, a global law firm, launched an aviation law department and has more than 20 aviation lawyers and professionals, who focus exclusively on drone matters.
An interesting trend in the legal services market is the increasing demand for hashtag trademarking services from organizations looking to expand their business through social media platforms. A hashtag refers to a hash sign (#) used before a word or a phrase to identify specific topics and themes, especially on social media platforms. According to a research carried out by CompuMark, a global trademark and brand research company, a total of 2,200 hashtag trademarks were registered in 2016, increasing by 64% from 2015. The USA has been the leading market for hashtags since 2010, but this dropped from 35% to 28% between 2015-2016. In 2016, the USA registered 608 hashtag trademarks, followed by Brazil at 226, and India at 141. Notable registrations include #lovetravels by Marriott International Inc., #getthanked by T-Mobile, and #gofor2 by The Hershey Company. The increasing number of hashtag trademarks has increased the demand for legal services pertaining to infringement, copyright, and competition.