For those of you wondering, “Who is Aric Press?”, he is the outgoing editor in chief for American Lawyer, and love it or hate it, through the AmLaw 100, and now 200, reports Aric placed a spotlight onto the business of law.
Aric announced his retirement from the American Lawyer late last year. Those of us who follow the business of law, especially in the LME Facebook group, released a collective gasp and wondered, “What does this mean moving forward?”
I can’t answer that question, but I have a perfect example of the questions I posed in the title of this post: “Why Aric Press matters?”
Aric Press matters because he gets us thinking about things differently. When I started out in the legal industry straight out of college, while studying for my LSATs, there were no conversations around the water cooler about the business of law, or legal as an industry, or clients, for that matter, or how to bring in new business.
Business came and went the way it always did: Referrals and the ol’ Martindale-Hubbell books on the shelf.
And then the world changed. The Internet opened up a whole new world of being able to research and find attorneys. The recessions changed the practice of law. Competition changed the pyramid business model. Partners started packing up their business and moving it across the street to a competitor. Somewhere along the line the profession of law became the business of law.
And Aric Press, and the American Lawyer, captured it all.
If you read only one article this month (subs, req), you need to read this one: Big Law and Me: Aric Press Reflects.
Understanding the business of the firms took longer. It’s not as complicated as many other lines of work. There are no complex supply chains, and few if any product launches to manage. It’s why, over the years, so many law firm heads compared their business to the character in the movie “Bull Durham” who described baseball as a simple game, one involving throwing, hitting and catching a ball.
But on the field, baseball isn’t quite that elegantly simple. And neither is the business of Big Law. As I look back on what I’ve learned over the past 16 years, a dozen principles or observations come to mind …
I’d start listing his dozen, but you just need to go and read the article.
While everyone is expendable, and the American Lawyer will go on, Aric Press, you will be missed. Happy trails to you.