Predicting the Next Hot Specialty Area
It is virtually impossible to predict the next hot specialty area for paralegals. Clients drive the demand for legal services. Changes in the political landscape may cause short-term demand for legal services in a specific area, but these often fade away after a short time.
Nevertheless, there are two areas of the law that seem to have great potential to generate client demand over the next several years. First, it is inescapable that the baby boom generation is getting older. The bulk of the baby boom generation will reach retirement age in a few years. We have already seen some of the effects of that anticipated event: changes to Social Security and Medicare and the growth of assisted living communities. The need for elder law services is likely to increase steadily over the next few years. Those services include estate planning, living wills, health care directives, patient's rights, and guardianships. The increased demand for these services, which paralegals already provide, is expected to result in continued opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Second, the field of computer law is growing. Issues of intellectual property protection, privacy protection, and the impact of electronic communications on contract law and other aspects of business law continue to be raised as business becomes more reliant on this technology. A paralegal with an understanding of the underlying legal specialty and a substantive knowledge of computer software and networking will have a great advantage in this field.