Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Law Practice Areas: What's Hot?

"What Hot's and What's Not in the Legal Profession"

Red Hot practice areas?  Energy, regulatory, health care.

Hot practice areas?  Financial services, IPOs, litigation, labor and employment, intellectual property, real estate, and corporate.

Getting Hot?  Interns rights, privately held and family business, education, elder law, and ADR.

So says Bob Denny in his 25th trends report released on December 3, 2013.

Bob Denny, founder of Bob Denny Associates, Inc., identifies trends in the legal profession at least once a year.  His last report came out in June 2013.

His consulting firm, founded in 1974, provides management, marketing and strategic planning services to over 800 companies, professional firms, and non-profit organizations throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and the Caribbean.

His report also identifies practice areas seeing less action (cooling off), the hot geographic areas for law, marketing and business development trends, and other trends and issues.

Historical Trends (2007-2013)

I've followed these reports closely since 2007, when I started using them to suggest to students that taking my ADR course reflected good judgement. ADR-related practice areas (ADR, mediation, and post-arbitraiton litigation) have made the "hot" lists (red hot, hot, or getting hot) four times in the six years I have tracked (2007 to 2012) the reports.  ADR practice appears again on the most recent report along with the comment that "the high cost of litigation has reawakened interest in mediation and arbitration."

Energy and environmental law (including global warming and alternative energy) have appeared on the hot lists of the reports seven times for the years 2007-2012, and "energy" appears again on the 2013 report as "red hot."   Denny also explains that Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania are hot geographic areas "due to energy, particularly the Utica Shale Play."

Litigation and related practice areas (commercial litigation, complex litigation, asbestos litigation, and nursing home litigation) appear on a hot list in every report since 2007.

Regulatory practice, identified as "red hot" in the latest report, did not begin to appear on the hot list until 2009, but then has stayed red hot or hot every year since.

Similarly, health care did not make an appearance on a hot list until 2009, but then made the hot list the last four years, including 2013.

Labor and employment law has appeared on one of the hot lists for five years, plus appearing on the hot list in the latest report.

This news is all good for students and prospective students at ASL.  We have a unique ADR program, a growing natural resources, energy and environmental law program, and a well-established, award-winning, advocacy program.  ASL offers a certificate in each practice area -- ADR, Natural Resources, and Advocacy -- which helps our students develop deep competency and a credential that helps them market themselves.

ASL's Professor Isaac has begun building a robust curriculum in employment law, including workers' compensation, and has tied the curriculum to the ADR options available to disputants.  And, ASL will launch a health care curriculum in the Spring 2014 semester


  1. I'm really satisfied with energy and environmental law program and also i'm interesting to know complete details about this program.Here also i'm satisfied with this website,i.e.,Business Lawyer.

  2. Contact Jackie Pruitt in our Admissions Office for more information about the Natural Resources certificate program.

  3. Our Legal Communiques discuss current trends and issues in the legal profession, not only in the United States but internationally. We also publish an annual report and midyear update on “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession”.
    Miami Attorney

    1. Thanks for letting us know about an additional tool.

  4. It is interesting.. "what's hot and what's not" !! Its always good to have such an evaluation so that people get notified with the details of the laws and active litigation law firms

    1. Thanks for commenting. I agree. Our graduates especially need to track trends in legal employment.