In 2020 it is very difficult to avoid the Gig Economy, such is its ubiquity. You can book holiday accommodation through Airbnb, and a taxi to the airport via Uber, Grab, MyTaxi, Hailo or even Fleet, to get you there on time with a minutes notice.

Order any meal imaginable from Deliveroo, Grab (again), Uber (again), JustEat, and any number of local companies. These companies represent some of the largest disruptors in their respective industries today. With many industries being completely redefined by these new companies that didn’t even exist ten years ago. Now it is time for the legal industry to follow suit.

The Gig Economy can be defined by its unique features that set it apart from typical full time employment. Work can be short term, task based, predictable or unpredictable. The Gig Economy has at times been perceived negatively due to a lack of protection for workers, uncertainty of hours etc. Today, lifestyle changes and a greater demand for flexibility are allowing people to champion their own careers to fit around their lives. As the Gig Economy takes the lead, controls are following to keep up with the evolution of work.  Johnson Hana is meeting these hurdles head on by providing the best example of how a Gig Economy should work in the legal solutions industry.

Our mission is:

  • To inspire lawyers to work flexibly and develop a work-life balance built around their needs
  • To cut legal spend by up to 50% for corporate and public clients
  • To create an awareness around cost savings and efficiencies through our teams of on-demand consultants, intelligently structured processes, smart legal tech, and insightful project management

The Gig Economy now encompasses up to 30% of the global workforce. The Gig Economy is the term given to the new trend in short-term and task driven contracts, which are being lapped up by a new generation of workers who no longer idealize the stability of a 9-5. In the legal profession it is no secret that longer hours and further studies can devour any notion of a personal life. These sacrifices often come at the expense of social & family life.

In the historic legal industry, it is true that rites of passage and years of grinding paved the way for a successful career. However this may not need be the case as we step into the future thanks to digital and cultural innovations. The world has never changed so fast as today, and will continue to change faster tomorrow. With this in mind, we have three options

  • Get out ahead of the pack
  • Hold on for dear life
  • Get left behind

Barry Asin, President of Staffing Industry Analysts estimates the gig economy to represent a $3.5 trillion market globally. To put that into some context the B2B market is estimated at $5 trillion globally.

This new way of working began in the last downturn as people out of work began settling for short-term or part-time work to cover as much financially as they could. Contingency work led to more work for those making waves, and led to reputations, word of mouth, and suddenly a portfolio of short and part-time clients all vying for human resources.

While necessity provided the seeds to the gig economy, online platforms supplied the boom. Files, ideas, images, videos, blueprints could now be shared instantaneously, while screen sharing allowed for intricate projects to be explained in full, all without leaving your desk. With such an immediate engagement, work became on demand, leveraging the digital and technological advancements that have just kept coming. In 2020 we experienced firsthand the huge wave of onboarding that companies have had to do to keep their employees efficient and productive.

The Gig Economy is changing how we work and how we live. No matter what the subject, we are provided with a seemingly endless supply of options all with immediate deployment. The most pivotal point about the Gig Economy is how flexible it is. There is no doubt a way that we can make it work for the legal solutions industry to provide both earning and cost saving opportunities.

There is much debate over whether the Gig Economy is a good thing or a bad thing. While unanswerable without hindsight, the important thing to bear in mind is that it is a Thing, and it is here, with only signs of further prevalence in the future. At Johnson Hana we are dedicated to continue working with the legal industry, consultants, and clients to find a collaborative middle ground where we can continue to provide unparalleled value while maintaining the flexible nature of on-demand work.

As with all change, there will be businesses and individuals who resist it and forget the mantra ‘Disrupt or be disrupted’.