Words matter. I have chosen mine poorly. I am here to correct my ways.
For the longest time, I have written critically of “BigLaw,” as if size itself was the problem. To be sure, most large law firms suffer from the problem, but so do many smaller law firms. The problem goes beyond size. The problem is about refusal to change. Some resist actively. Some resist passively. For others, resistance is passive-aggressive. Jeff Carr has referred to the problem as “MPR—massive passive resistance.”
The resistance to change, however characterized, manifests itself in so many ways that even attempting to summarize them takes massive amounts of time, energy and space on the page. Doing so is not the point of this post. This post is just about words.
While BigLaw has developed the defacto meaning of being resistant to change, I think there is a better word. Paleolithic is defined as “denoting the early phase of the Stone Age, lasting about 2.5 million years, when primitive stone implements were used.” Paleo “is a combining form meaning ‘old’ or ‘ancient,’ …used in the formation of compound words.”
Introducing PaleoLaw. Regardless of size, firms and lawyers that refuse to acknowledge the amount and pace of change clients are experiencing and the robust impact change is having and, more importantly, should have on law are just stuck in the Stone Age.
PaleoLaw. Spread the word.