In my previous blog post – The Age of the Entrepreneurial Lawyer, I shared with you LexisNexis’s Bellwether Report (2014), Brave New World and its findings that the most successful lawyers (and law firms) are when you which focus on growing your firm through the smart use of marketing, networking and technology.
It took five years and a heap of legal research time and green notes to prove what my gut and intuition told me five years ago; that the ROAR model is the solution for success and growth, no matter whether you are a solo lawyer, an ABS UK legal purebred or an ABS international conglomerate mongrel providing a full range of legal, accountancy, tax, insurance and/or business services.
It has now been proven, through MANY research reports in the legal world and beyond (feel free to contact me if you wish to know more) via case studies relating to the bold activities of entrepreneurial lawyers and their businesses of law; epitomised in their bountiful financial results. Bottom line:
- If you don’t market, brand and sell yourself, aka get marketing, networking and using technology and the internet, you won’t experience the growth your peers are enjoying;
- If you don’t have a voice on the internet, you won’t have a place in the future of law; and
- in an increasingly technological, digital, silicon and robotic legal world, if you don’t embrace technology, you will indeed be committing professional suicide.
Was it Shakespeare who wrote “Let’s kill all the lawyers?” I predict if he were alive today he wouldn’t need to. If you don’t get a grip with technology per se, you might as well dig your own grave. I can see the epitaph now: “I wish I’d done more IT Training.” IT skills are paramount for a lawyer, currently, presently and undoubtedly in the distant future. Very soon, saying NO to technology won’t even be an option for lawyers in Canada.
Even the great man himself, Richard Susskind, renowned for his technological knowledge and crystal ball gazing in the UK and USA, predicts a new role for a lawyer – The Legal Technologist – in his latest book Tomorrow’s Lawyers (published 2012). This kind of role has been happening, by the way, for many years. As far back as 2008 I have known of many lawyers that have re-invented themselves and transited their role from lawyer to IT trainer, IT Manager, Knowledge Manager, Social Media Manager, and more in law firms in the UK, Europe, Scandanavia, USA and beyond.
Progress is occurring at a rapid rate with at least one Magic Circle firm here in the UK hiring its first Artificial Intelligence graduate. I first wrote about the subject of artificial intelligence and the iCyborg lawyer in the legal world in September 2011. Things have moved on rapidly since then, to such a degree that I feel confident to predict the first Robot Lawyer will be released into the world by 2020.
It’s what my research, reading, instinct and gut tells me; reading between the lines of what IBM and Google have shared in the public domain, or more importantly, what they haven’t… For, as it is in law, so it is with technological advancement. It’s not what we can see that matters. It’s what we can’t. Truly, we are in an Age where Legal Technology Wisdom Rules! Period. I can certainly envisage a time when we will say: “The robot has left the building. Will the last robot out please turn-off the lights.” Until such time, I have to say that I remain ashamed, as an entrepreneurial lawyer, frustrated, as a consultant and legal futurist, and disappointed, as a legal service buyer, at the slow take-up rate in which law firms. This was usually hindered by lawyers and ‘support’ staff in power with ulterior motives) embrace the quality and quantity of legal technology available in the global marketplace.
I read recently in Real Business that financial companies are set to increase IT budgets. Are businesses of law, I wonder? Not from my experience these past few years; and certainly not at the rate or scale to keep up with the accelerating technological changes outside of the legal world and expectations of existing and potential clients. If Millennials are ready for a new financial system, and Stellar might just be it, I dare suggest that Millennials are no doubt ready for a new legal system too; one that operates globally, seamlessly, online and in the cloud. Perhaps it’s time for a new (global) legal system? If it can be done for global finance, why can’t it be done for law?
I’d love to have a crack at The Law Manifesto for the Digital Age. Wouldn’t you?
Chrissie Lightfoot has been involved in various entrepreneurial, innovative and commercial activity, experience and successes throughout her career to date, primarily in the Legal, New Media, Management Consultancy and Sport & Leisure (inc. health & fitness) sectors. As a serial entrepreneur, sales and innovation have been her forte and passion.
Whilst training as a solicitor Chrissie was interested in the future of legal services, providing extraordinary client service and increasing sales. She was proactive in innovating the quality and delivery of legal advice and was the brainchild of the firm’s business start-up legal package, e-commerce proposition, in-house corporate knowledge hub and entrepreneur and employee share scheme niche focus. Chrissie was the first trainee solicitor in the UK and globally to devise a unique personal brand – Chrissie Lightfoot, The Entrepreneur Lawyer – which achieved impressive sales and marketing results.