I was honored to co-chair a recent seminar sponsored by Harris Martin. My co-chair, Gil Purcell from the Bay Area, is an accomplished lawyer and thought-provoking speaker. During a discussion about jury selection, he played a presentation that just knocked me over. While absolutely applicable to jury selection, the points made in the presentation are even more profound when considered in the context of the the profession and our clients.
After the seminar, I learned that the presentation was the child of Karl Fisch, a teacher at Arapahoe High School in Colorado. Fisch writes a blog called The Fischbowl, which is worth looking at if you are interested in your children’s education. His original presentation was school-specific. A professor at the University of Minnesota remixed the presentation, removing school-specific references.
The result is a brilliant piece of work, found here.
Put aside the questions raised about our education system. Put aside the questions raised about electronic evidence issues, or job security. Think for a moment about how businesses will operate in this environment, and the impact those pressures will have on law firms serving those business clients.
The Did You Know presentation accomplishes in seven minutes what Tom Friedman accomplishes in 400 plus pages in his brilliant work, The World is Flat. The pressures to operate globally are growing exponentially, even for the smallest businesses. Cost control pressures will continue to grow, unabated. In short order, firms that are tied to anything–large numbers of people, big lease investments, technology platforms that do not permit on-a-dime movement, etc. will go the way of the dinosaur. The future, it seems to me, will belong to firms that can build virtual teams, assemble the talent needed for a particular case and then different talent for the next case.
Tom Peters frequently writes about the growing inability of large businesses to move fast enough to adapt to the pace of change in today’s world. I, for one, believe his opinion will apply equally to law firms.
What do you think?