The Ultimate 2023 Trends Review

What are the key industry trends of 2023 and how will they impact law firms and their clients?

The Ultimate 2023 Trends Review

Hi ZipLawyer! I'm Ludo Lugnani and this is ZipLaw: an independent newsletter covering the best commercial and legal news from the day. We explain how each story impacts law firms and their clients so that you can stand out in interviews and applications.

Today's newsletter is a ~12 min read:

  • 🔮 2023 Trend Review: What are the key industry trends of 2023 and how will they impact law firms and their clients?
  • ➕ Plus: Amazon cuts jobs, EU recommends Covid checks, Fed frustrated over expectations of interest rate cuts, and

⭐ My Take

My Take is a subscriber-exclusive newsletter where I give you my take on my favourite stories and trends to help you stand out in applications and interviews!

This is part 1 of a 2-part series where I'm analysing the top trends we can expect for key industries in 2023 , and explaining how they will impact law firms, and their clients. Part 2 comes out next Thursday.

Trouble in the Car World

⏱️ In brief:

  • In 2023, car manufacturers are expected to struggle with declining profits due to supply chain disruptions, and higher energy costs.

Running out of gas

It looks like it's going to be a rough year for car manufacturers. New car sales are only expected to increase by 1% and remain 14% lower than they were in 2019. On top of that, commercial vehicle sales are expected to drop even further.

There are a few reasons for this, including ongoing supply chain issues and a shortage of chips, as well as higher energy costs and shortages (especially in Europe). This is all bad news for car manufacturers as they won't be able to increase prices to make up for these extra costs, and their profits will suffer.

But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon: electric vehicle sales are expected to grow by 25% and reach 10.8 million global sales, or about 20% of the total new car market. However, electric car adoption in key markets like Germany is expected to slow as subsidies are cut. Despite these challenges, car manufacturers will continue to focus on electric vehicles as they see them as the way of the future.

💼 What does this mean for law firm's clients?

  • Car manufacturers are expected to struggle with declining profits due to a combination of supply chain disruptions, higher energy costs, and difficulties in passing on rising costs to consumers. They may also be impacted by new emission standards, particularly in China, as they work to comply with these regulations and potentially adapt their production processes.
  • Governments may also be impacted by these challenges, particularly in relation to the adoption and promotion of electric vehicles. For example, governments may need to consider providing subsidies or tax breaks to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles or implementing stricter emission standards for fossil fuel vehicles in order to reduce air pollution. Governments may also need to invest in infrastructure such as charging stations to support the growth of the electric vehicle market.
  • Consumers may also be affected by these challenges, as they may face higher prices for vehicles due to rising costs for car manufacturers, and potentially less choice as production is disrupted. Inflation may also erode their incomes and savings, making it harder for them to absorb these higher costs.

⚖ What does this mean for law firms?

  • Commercial: Legal teams in this area may be busy negotiating and drafting contracts with suppliers to ensure a steady supply of materials and parts despite ongoing supply chain disruptions. They may also need to advise on compliance with new emission standards in car production and resale.
  • Employment: As carmakers look to streamline their operations and potentially restructure their businesses in the face of declining profits, legal teams in this area may be called upon to advise on employment issues such as layoffs, and severance packages.
  • Intellectual Property: IP lawyers may be involved in the development and rollout of new electric vehicle models, including navigating any regulatory hurdles and advising on how to protect inventions with patents, and new brands via trade marks, copyright etc.
  • Litigation: With the possibility of disputes or legal challenges arising in relation to the decline in profits or difficulties in passing on rising costs to consumers, legal teams in this area may be kept busy handling any resulting litigation or alternative dispute resolution proceedings. There may be some litigation work also in relation to failed compliance with new emission standards.

Retail's Problems won't stop

⏱️In brief:

  • E-commerce continues to grow, especially in developing countries, but the cost of living crisis may affect both shoppers and retailers.

Strapped for cash

The cost-of-living crisis will affect both shoppers and retailers, as tight budgets and higher interest rates challenge their growth. Despite this, e-commerce is expected to continue growing, particularly in developing countries like Colombia, Nigeria, and South Africa where Amazon plans to expand in 2023.

Click-and-collect is expected to be a popular option, with revenue in Britain tripling since 2013. Retailers may also automate some back-end operations to save on labour costs. Fashion and luxury brands may also start exploring virtual reality options to attract younger consumers.

💼 What does this mean for law firm's clients?

Retailers: Tight budgets and higher interest rates may make it more difficult for these retailers to invest in new technologies, hire additional staff, or open new locations. Additionally, the growth of e-commerce may also present some challenges for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers as more consumers turn to online shopping.

Retailers can still stay competitive by offering a strong online presence, providing excellent customer service, and finding ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Retailers may also consider expanding into developing countries where e-commerce is expected to continue growing.

Fashion and luxury brands are also finding ways to tap into the market of younger consumers. Some brands are experimenting with selling their products in virtual reality, or as Non-Fungible Tokens.

⚖ What does this mean for law firms?

  • Contract law: Lawyers specializing in contract law could be involved in reviewing and negotiating the terms of agreements between retailers and consumers for online purchases, as well as contracts between retailers and e-commerce platforms or payment processors. This could be particularly relevant in the use of new technologies e.g. VR to promote products and services. They may also need to advise on consumer protection laws, such as those related to product safety and advertising. They could also represent consumers in disputes with retailers.
  • Intellectual property law: Lawyers in this field could advise businesses on protecting their trademarks and copyrights in the online space, as well as issues related to counterfeit goods being sold online which could present an additional threat to retailers.
  • Data protection and privacy law: With the increase in online shopping and the use of virtual reality, lawyers with expertise in data protection and privacy law could advise businesses on complying with laws related to the collection, use, and storage of customer data such as the GDPR.
  • Employment law: As retailers struggle financially, lawyers with expertise in employment law could advise on issues related to layoffs and the rights of displaced workers. They may also liaise with insolvency colleagues over any necessary insolvency proceedings, and transfer of employees to any buyer.

Health Care Buyouts?

⏱️ In brief:

  • The global healthcare industry is expected to see significant developments in 2023, including the continued rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, increased focus on other vaccines and treatments, and the impact of patent expiries and competition on pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Vaccines and Patents

In an effort to prevent a surge in Covid cases, China is expected to roll out more vaccines, including mRNA shots developed within the country. Researchers in the US and the UK will also test all-variant vaccines, and there will be an increased focus on monkeypox and malaria jabs.

In 2023, pharmaceutical companies may look to make more acquisitions in order to adapt to changes in the industry, such as patent expiries and generic competition. One example is Abbvie's popular anti-inflammatory drug Humira. In addition, General Electric plans to separate and list its GE Healthcare division, and Pfizer intends to make a big move towards sustainability by switching its North American operations to solar power.

💼 What does this mean for law firm's clients?

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