Hot Spot

Talking the Saskatoon legal market with Jennifer Pereira, partner at Robertson Stromberg LLP

The Open Door Society of Saskatoon is preparing for an influx of 10,000 immigrants over the next three years. For a province of one million people, that’s a large growth. People are also coming from across Canada, too.

As a result of the growth, young lawyers are more valuable than ever. It’s a very competitive market now, and recruiting and retaining young lawyers is becoming more difficult.

We’ve seen an increase in litigation because of more business in the area and more commercial activity. To meet demand, our firm has broadened our reach nationally and internationally. In fact, we recently hired young lawyers from Ontario and Ireland.

Aboriginal youth are the fastest-growing segment of Saskatchewan’s population, and the province’s Indian bands are developing business ventures that provide employment opportunities. Lawyers in Saskatchewan are developing expertise in providing advice to these ventures.

Courts are encouraging lawyers to file their documents electronically. Also, new court rules will allow lawyers to unbundle their services and sell them to clients a la carte, so someone might say, “I’m representing myself, but I need you to draft my claim.”

Key Characteristics of a 21st-Century Lawyer

Specialized. As online or paraprofessional service providers continue to compete with lawyers for basic transactions, lawyers will need to develop specialties in areas where there is market demand.

Communicative. The most successful lawyers today have gained reputations nationally because they’ve started blogs or they contribute to publications that cater to industries outside the practice of law.

Sophisticated. Clients are not as loyal as they once were. Lawyers have to streamline their practices to provide the best legal service possible while keeping regular contact with their clients.

Innovative. Lawyers need to develop an online presence, reconsider traditional billing practices such as the hourly rate, and adopt technology that will allow them to practice more efficiently.