Top Legal Trends (September 2023)

Here are the current legal trends of 2023 and 2024, found using our software tool and selected based on their growth and global popularity across sites like Google, TikTok, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, and more. These are not fads, such as new movies or social media challenges – rather they’re long-term global legal trends that are likely to see continued growth throughout 2023 and into 2024. We’ve also included our analysis on these new emerging trends below.

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Clio Manage

6.8K
Past Month Searches
+36%
Past Year Change

Clio Manage is a cloud-based legal case management software that helps attorneys manage their cases from start to finish. The software allows for the creation of custom workflows, the tracking of deadlines and billable hours, and the storage of client information. Clio was founded by Jack Newton and Rian Gauvreau in 2008. …  Read more

E Court Services

29K
Past Month Searches
+28%
Past Year Change

E court services are court services that are offered online. The services can include filing court documents, viewing court case information, and paying court fees. E court services are designed to make the court process more efficient and accessible for the public. …  Read more

MyCase

171K
Past Month Searches
+26%
Past Year Change

MyCase is a cloud-based law practice management SaaS platform built for modern law firms and attorneys. The platform's features include document automation, billing, payments, client management, and case management. MyCase was started by Matt Spiegel, Alex Dikowski, and Chris Schulte in 2010. …  Read more

ADHD Disability

26K
Past Month Searches
+23%
Past Year Change

ADHD Disability is a neurological disorder estimated to affect 5% of children and 2.5% of adults in the US and is characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. ADHD is considered a disability medically and legally and is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). …  Read more

Trend Highlight – The increasingly complex intersection between law and AI

It's illegal to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night and use it for commercial purposes: the lighting arrangement itself is intellectual property. This illustrates some of the surprising complexities involved in licensing and creating media, and it’s a source of demand for clever licensing hacks for stock photos.

 

The growth of free stock photo sites like Unsplash means there’s more supply of free images, where users aren’t as explicitly purchasing the rights as they did before. This means there’s more room for legal issues and using photos of models, in particular, can lead to surprisingly complicated legal situations, since every state has different laws around model release forms. One novel solution to this problem, pioneered by a company called Generated Photos, is to avoid using human models at all and to generate realistic photos using artificial intelligence.

Trend Highlight – The Rapid Rise of Remote Notarization

The gig economy has come for taxi drivers, food delivery workers, maids, and handymen, and with Snapdocs it's reaching notaries, too. Snapdocs is a software company that helps to automate the paperwork involved in buying a new home. Some of that paperwork needs to be notarized, and Snapdocs provides signing opportunities to over 60,000 notaries who earn upwards of $4 million each month in fees.

 

Notaries – citizens certified by the state to perform certain legal tasks like acting as an impartial witness to the signing of documents – often have full-time work and notarize on the side as a form of secondary income. Some notaries, though, are able to charge as much as $150 per signing and can do multiple signings per day. Though the government regulates how much notaries can charge per signing, “mobile notaries” are allowed to charge an additional amount for their travel and many states don’t regulate this additional fee.

 

Because the economics can vary from situation to situation when travel is involved, this means that notary services are cheap enough to be competitive in dense areas, but worth notaries’ time in more spread-out places. It also means that notaries can build more than just a side hustle if they become mobile notaries.

 

The pandemic drastically accelerated remote notarizations' growth. Even before the pandemic, some of the reasons for its popularity were beyond just the convenience. One use case for remote notarization was buying properties while outside the country for the purpose of obtaining an E5-B visa, also known as an “Immigrant Investor Visa”.

Trend Highlight – Why ESA Letters Are Growing In Popularity

Rising in popularity, ESA letters (emotional support animal letters) were traditionally written by licensed mental health professionals in person. These letters protect patients' rights to have a pet in their home, free of charge, under the powerful federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and can extend to plane travel.

As a rise in online discussion and searches for ESA letters drives anxious consumers to sites like certapet.com and waggy.pet, more sites are popping up offering the letters after a short survey and consultation.

As a result, laws are being considered that aim to regulate these online services. In fact, a bill is being considered in Michigan right now that would require these doctors to operate out of a physical office space and have had the customer as a patient for a minimum of 6 months.

These laws make it harder for newer companies to start up and have sometimes led to markets for outsourcing a qualification. For example, to sell security alarms within the US, companies must get licensed as an alarm provider company in all the states where they plan to sell products. The process requires that companies have a certified security alarm professional, essentially an individual with a specific number of years of experience and certifications from a variety of tests. As newer and smaller companies entered the industry without naturally having those certified team members, they realized they could outsource this qualification. Consequently, there exist individuals who take tests, maintain their status, and rent out their qualification as a service, essentially letting companies use their name for $800-$1500/mo depending on the state.

As with the security industry, we may see a rise in outsourced qualifications to meet new legal requirements as demand grows.

And because the internet has allowed consumers to educate themselves on their conditions and possible treatments, there's been a growing fundamental shift in how patients get treated; It's changed from consumers visiting their doctor and saying, "Here are my problems, what should I do?", to now saying "I already know what to do, please give me this prescription."

Trend Highlight – Making A Will Online Is Surging In Popularity

For many people, the single biggest financial event during their lifetime is the death of a loved one. Every year in the U.S., roughly one trillion dollars changes hands through inheritance, mostly tax free.

 

The funeral industry, too, is a large one, with $15.6 billion in annual sales in the US. Some funeral home operators are part of large corporate franchises (Service Corporation, for example, is a publicly-traded company with an $8B market cap). Since it’s an industry with infrequent purchases made by emotionally distraught customers, many of whom have just received a cash windfall from inheritance, it has its share of bad actors who charge high prices and restrict consumers' choices.

 

Consumers tend to spend similar amounts on funerals, regardless of household income. This means that funerals are especially expensive for low earners, and, in fact, one in eight families go into debt after paying for a funeral in any given year.

 

Farewill is a startup that offers wills, probate, and funerals, and its goal is to simplify the problems that no one wants to think about and everyone has to deal with. The company is a classic case of an insurgent digital-first company targeting a complacent, highly profitable brick-and-mortar incumbency. But unlike other direct-to-consumer startups, it’s in poor taste to blast the market with discounts and aggressive ads, and touting its growth is somewhat morbid. The human component matters a lot for products like this.

 

Given this, Farewill takes an approach to marketing that is unique in the space: they run TV ads for their online will-writing service, but the metric the company cites the most in its ads isn’t a revenue number or a customer count—it’s the aggregate value of charitable donations in the wills they’ve helped write, currently nearly $300M. The company already helps to write one in ten wills in the UK, and their market share is rising.

 

The generational wealth gap makes wills especially important to heirs—in the US, millennials hold 3% of all wealth, while Baby Boomers hold 60%. As life expectancies rise, and elderly healthcare improves, people spend more of their lives conscious of their own mortality, putting them in the will-writing demographic. And since Farewill’s target market is everyone who faces death, they can theoretically treat everybody as a potential user.

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    Past Legal Trends

    Connected Person
    Peaked in 2022
    Make A Will Online
    Peaked in 2022
    Total Legal
    Peaked in 2022