I came across this post from the Intellogist blog of IP and patent specialists, Landon IP.
It talks about the potential for freelancing to change the rather traditional industry of patent and intellectual property law but, for me, comes to the wrong conclusion. The author – Dan Wolka – rightly notes that, when all you need is “a computer and phone”, the ease of going freelance is obvious. However, he concludes that this trend will probably not significantly change the industry as the educational barriers to entry remain necessarily high.
I don’t believe the two should be connected. If individuals are attracted to the work, have the intellectual capacity to undertake the necessary training and see a potential return on that investment then they will enter the profession. That is a separate issue from the model those individuals will then choose to practice under: joining and building a career with an established firm; starting in practice on their own or getting experience under their belts with an established employer before going solo.
The confluence of factors impacting work, especially knowledge work such as IP law and patents (economic, demographic, technological and global) will have an enormous impact.