As we look back at 2016 and gear up for a new year, it`s smart to brush up on new trends in the legal industry. Technology has impacted our profession dramatically in recent years, and it continues to do so at an accelerating pace. If you`re not on the technology bandwagon, you and your firm will have a hard time staying afloat. Doing so in the legal profession comes with its set of challenges. Second, sometimes it`s hard to know which new products and approaches in the legal industry have value, and which are just hype. Those challenges aside, firms that don`t embrace technology will have trouble attracting the best new legal talent. The revenue at law firms clinging to old school ways will drop off as a new generation of clients takes their business to new-school, tech-savvy companies. What does it take to join the ranks of the new-school? There are six major trends to be aware of going into 2017. Social networking is the cornerstone of legal industry marketing. If you`re not working the online component, too, you`re at a catastrophic disadvantage. Social media has become a factor in how clients choose attorneys, according to a survey taken this year by FindLaw. In 2017, take steps to ramp up your social presence on your website and blog, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Your clients, prospects, and leads are online and checking social media regularly. Being part of the social media landscape isn`t hard, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Set a goal to get your social marketing plan up and running in 2017. These are firms that can operate anywhere: A lawyer`s home, a satellite office, even from inside a Starbucks. Technology lets them do this without hurting service or quality. Remote work can reduce overhead and travel time while increasing flexibility and improving work/life balance. It may very well provide the edge your firm needs to succeed in 2017. What you need to know: This technological reality has changed the face of litigation.