Uberizing the Legal Profession? Lawyer Autonomy and Status in the Digital Legal Market

The online gig economy has disrupted many occupations in the past decade, but only more recently has it had an impact on professional fields. The recency of this trend indicates a need for understanding the impact of the online gig economy on professional workers. Using interview data from lawyers who work on one of China's most successful online legal service platforms, this study finds that supplementary income and flexibility are the two major motives for lawyers to work online. Nevertheless, when working online, lawyers face lower intra‐professional status and lower professional autonomy. Despite its growth, the digital legal market is imposing a minimal threat to the traditional legal market due to the lack of interference in labour supply and demand between these two markets.

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British Journal of Industrial Relations