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Navigating Growth, Talent, and AI in the Legal Landscape

Smokeball's State of Law Report unveils the challenges and opportunities facing the legal industry that will shape the year in 2024

As we stand at the intersection of technological evolution and economic uncertainties, Smokeball is delighted to present the 2024 State of Law Report. In this comprehensive survey, we reached out to 775 legal professionals globally, aiming to delve deeper into the challenges and trends impacting firms with 1-30 employees. The findings unveil a dynamic industry striving for growth amid economic fluctuations, technological advancements, and evolving workplace dynamics.

#1 Growth Ambitions Amidst Challenges

While inflation is a concern, the 2024 State of Law Report reveals that hiring and retaining key talent take precedence for Australian law firms. This challenge is particularly pronounced for larger firms grappling to find the right individuals to fuel their expansion. Interestingly, respondents spotlight the struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance, with 40% working more than nine hours a day. This emphasises a pivotal opportunity for firms to leverage technology in easing this strain.

#2 Leveraging Technology for Efficiency

Despite the commonality of themes across the board, Australian law firms showcased a remarkable dedication to leveraging technology for efficient and profitable operations. However, the report unveils a surprising lack of visibility into past and future billings, indicating a significant untapped potential for utilising technology for growth insights.

# 3 AI Inspires Cautious Optimism

In the landscape of 2024, artificial intelligence (AI) is an inevitable talking point. 60% of respondents expressed familiarity with AI technologies in the legal space, and a majority of legal professionals, from Office Managers to Partners, are eager to learn more about AI's potential benefits. However, skepticism looms, with ethical concerns and doubts about the adequacy of existing Australian regulations for AI. This underscores the need for a careful and thoughtful approach to align AI innovations with ethical and legal standards.


Our 2024 State of Law Report paints a picture of optimism and challenges in the legal landscape. While growth remains a top priority, the strategy is often centred around expanding the team. Having the right legal tech stack not only offers growth opportunities but also provides clarity on essential metrics. The question is not just whether to adopt technology, but how to integrate it in a way that aligns with growth strategy and client service ethos. This subtle shift could define the future trajectory of the legal profession, steering it towards a more efficient and client-focused future.

Access the 2024 State of Law Report

Download the full report now to gain valuable insights and tools for navigating the changing legal landscape.

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Feb 29, 2024