The Legal times they are a changing …
Photo from the Library Congress on flickr
Doom-sprayers exist in every business.
Hell, the British probably do it better than anyone else.
If we are not moaning about something – the weather or our politicians – we don’t seem happy.
But it cannot have escaped your attention that, apart from the anaemic state of the economy which has derailed most enterprises, there is more than a little movement in the legal market, added to which is the (light!) tome issued by the SRA a.k.a. The Handbook.
Before leaving my last firm in 2010, I was acutely aware of the need to keep my head down. In that environment, it is hardly a surprise that innovation, change, personal development or social media were not the first priority for lawyers. And then there was (is?) the threat of redundancy.
Unfortunately, much like waves crashing on the shore, change in the legal market is inexorable.
And the pace will quicken.
What you did yesterday will not be good enough for tomorrow.
You will be paid less to do the same.
There will be competitive pressure induced by never-before-seen competitors (a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing).
And this is where it gets tricky.
Sink or swim?
Bobbing on the surface?
Last year I devoted a lot of time in the blog concerning the need to go work on your career – the entrepreneurial mind-set – rather than adopting the technicians mind-set.
a) produce a Personal Development Plan?
b) undertake a SWOT analysis and build an action plan around your findings?
c) focus on Brand You?
d) buff up your technical skills by going beyond the mandatory 16 hours CPD?
e) spend oodles and oodles of time with clients understanding their needs without de jure time recording?
f) focus on design?
g) stand on your firm’s values?
h) consider your passion for the work?
i) strive for Excellence every day?
If you didn’t get around to these, then at the very least you must NOW! make time to think.
Time to think about how you fit into a changed legal market.
You don’t have to lose yourself in Deep Blue Ocean thinking, but think about how you can deliver the basics better than you ever dreamt possible.
1+ 2 = 3 is much better than thinking how you can, in one quick leap, take the market by storm.
Of course it is dull.
And that’s just it. Sticking to the knitting often exposes exceptional things.
In addition, work on your craft every day. But don’t get so drawn into the work that you forget to keep your mind open to the matchless opportunities that a client-centric market throws up. Don’t whatever you do default to thinking purely about price. That is the longer, long tail.
Make time for you. And decide what really does float your boat. Do you still get a buzz out of the work or has it become a chore – same old, same old?
For me, as over the top as it might sound, every day is a day of Theatre. As I have said many times before, I live to serve.
I want you to achieve remarkable things.
Surely you have similar thoughts? If not, why are you still labouring away at the coalface?