Albert Einstein was a pretty smart guy according to most sources. Although I have heard the definition of insanity many, many times before, it was not until today that I discovered that Einstein is the one credited for it:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
It strikes me that perhaps the legal industry, while built upon a foundation of precedent, is finally embracing this notion as it relates to the business of law.
The results are no longer the same as they were “back in the day.”
- Large firms are closing their doors, turning out the lights and wondering what went wrong when they were doing everything exactly the same as when they used to be hugely successful and profitable.
- Smart kids are wondering why they can’t get high-paying jobs right out of law school when they studied hard, finished near the top of their class, passed the bar, and went to every networking function available on and off line.
- Solos are asking themselves, “How can I be working this hard, wearing all these hats, trying to make a difference and yet I feel so unfulfilled as a lawyer?”
As an industry, the time has come to realize that what used to work just doesn’t any more. Plain and simple, doing what has always been done because that is easy but not getting new results is insane. As harsh as that may sound, I actually find it to be extremely exciting.
Some background for context . . .
My dad was born in 1921. He was a brilliant oil and gas attorney and travelled the world serving his clients, mostly in the Middle East. As you may have surmised, his time in the sun was more than a couple of years before the words “legal tech” and “early adopter” came into everyday conversations.
But even though there wasn’t a name for it back then, he was definitely an early adopter and embraced technology (such as it was) in his law practice. He prided himself on being “first in” on the latest and greatest tools available to make his firm more efficient and profitable.
As a high school student working in the firm during the summers, I remember other lawyers coming to my dad’s office to check out his new “typewriters with memory” and this really cool machine that let you get transmissions through a phone line . . . a facsimile. He was definitely sitting at the cool kids’ table at lunch.
I so wish my dad were still here to see how things have evolved since those days. He would have no doubt been first-in on cloud technology and all the other amazing opportunities now available to lawyers to help them become more efficient and profitable.
Back to 2015
A couple of weeks ago, CuroLegal got a call from a law firm that is the oldest-existing in their state. The reason for their call was summed up early in the conversation.
“We want you to bring us into the 21st century and then beyond.”
They get it. They know that if they don’t emerge and continue to embrace the future of law, they will not continue to get the results they have become accustomed to throughout their years in existence.
This is exactly why I find it so exciting. Young firms already get it, and older firms are starting to get it. The next decade, I imagine, will be the most transformational in the long, storied history of the legal profession. Is it not amazing to be here to see it happen?
It is going to be insane!