Apr 13, 2017

Forget coal mining—the bigger worry is legal services jobs

Lawyers may be the next victims of automation, and the impact on the macroeconomy could be serious. Until now, paralegals and beginning associate lawyers have seemed to be primarily vulnerable to algorithmic advances. But labor lawyer Miriam Nemeth argues that the trouble will go deeper. "Lawyers in particular may increasingly suffer from job loss as a result of automation," she said. "Everything from contract drafting to legal research appears prone to automation."

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: There are roughly 1 million lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants in the US, more than 20 times the number of people in coal mining. It's not clear how many could lose their jobs, but a recent study said that currently available technology could reduce lawyers' billed hours by 13%.

Glass half-full: A recent McKinsey study said that 23% of a lawyer's job can be automated. But Chris Stock, CEO at LEAP Legal Software, said earlier this week that lawyers and paralegals have time to learn new skills, and thus not become flotsam of robots, by learning how to apply automation software to improve their own productivity and remain attractive to employers.

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Pittsburgh synagogue shooter appealing death sentence

Photo: Justin Merriman/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Lawyers for Robert Bowers are challenging his potential death sentence as unconstitutional as he waits for a trial date, AP reports.

Context: Bowers is charged with killing 11 people and injuring 6 others at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018. His lawyers argue the death sentence violates the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause and the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, AP writes.

Go deeper: Pittsburgh passes gun restrictions following Tree of Life Synagogue shooting

Keep ReadingArrowDec 28, 2019

An unsettling future for millions of American jobs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. economy is besting expectations for job growth, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in several decades — but the other side of the story is that millions of jobs out there just aren't good enough.

Why it matters: Almost half of all American workers are stuck in low-wage jobs that often don't pay enough to support their lives, lack benefits and sit squarely inside the automation bullseye.

Affordability is driving Americans' decisions on where to live

Data: Prudential; Note: ±3.0 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Most American workers place affordability above jobs on the priority list when determining where to live, according to Prudential's Pulse of the American Worker survey conducted in November by Morning Consult.

Why it matters: The high cost of living in job-rich centers holds people back from looking for new opportunities there.

Go deeperArrowDec 31, 2019