Yesterday, I spent 3+ hours at a real estate closing. The first hour was spent signing approximately 300 documents to transfer the interest in the house from one person to another.
The next hour was spent copying and collating those papers, and waiting for the bank to approve the physical check that was to be delivered from the Purchaser's bank to the Seller.
The final hour was spent waiting for additional documents to come from the lender, via fax (via FUCKING FAX) because an "i" in the name was missing from their original docs, and so we had to resign those documents.
I have a law degree that I went into debt to the tune of $150,000 for and I'm waiting for a copy machine to finish copying and a fax to fax. In 10 years, there is no way my job, as a real estate transactional attorney possibly exists.
What's more-the price pressures will continue to increase. The role will continue to be commoditized and the fees will continue to fall.
If you swim against a rip tide, you will likely wear yourself out and drown. If you swim parallel to it, you will live. (I learned this in surf camp, when, I kid you not, on the first day, in the first hour I was there I nearly drowned).
In Antifragile, I book that I truly love, the author discusses the difference between Fragile, Robust, and Antifragile (The Triad). Fragile things that are exposed to volatility will be harmed. They'll fall apart. There is more loss than gain. When something is Antifragile, it will actually benefit from the volatile event. The best way to make something antifragile is to decrease downside rather than increase upside.
What this means, to me, is if you are in a legal market that continues to be commoditized, increasing prices is not decreasing the risk that you'll have a cataclysmic event in the near future. In fact, it may inversely make you more reliant on this stream of income to survive. It's better to have another area of law you practice, or to get out of it altogether.
Wills, Estates, Real Estate, Bankruptcy (I have not been able to raise prices in 5 years and they've actually decreased), incorporating businesses, etc., may continue to suffer the effects of continued commoditization and low priced competition. This leaves you exposed if you practice in these.
I have maybe 2-3 years left in Real Estate and then I have to switch to something else or get out of law altogether. I know that I don't know anything about what will happen tomorrow, but I also see that I need options significantly more than I did even 5 years ago.