I know, I know, I know. It’s January 2020 and I blogged exactly seven (that’s 7) times last year. WTH??
It boils down to two things:
1. I’ve been really busy.
I started a new job which required a move from Los Angeles to New Orleans. It was my first move in more than 20 years, and wow, that threw me. I’m really good at transitions and multi-task organization, but this one really got me and I actually started to doubt myself, but I knew better than to listen to “that” voice and I pushed through it. That first month I really wondered if it would all settle down or if this would be my new normal. It took a couple months, but it finally did settle down, just in time to buy a house, pack up all the stuff we had unpacked (Sports Dude says he got a head start by not unpacking a dozen or so boxes that just sat around our rental for the 8 months we were there), and move to our new home.
One of the reasons we moved was to get out of the crazy of LA. The congestion. The pace of life. The “culture.” We bought this house to literally stop and enjoy the views. To recharge. To let go and be in the moment. We have yet to be disappointed. Photos above and below are from our back porch of a sunrise and sunset this week.
2. I really didn’t have much to say.
It kinda struck me this year more than other years, but we’re still talking about the same crap we were talking about 20+ years ago: Industry groups. Diversity. Attorneys not wanting to do business development. What to do about the service partners when their rainmakers retire. Succession planning. Client service. Billing rates. CRM.
Sure we’ve had some disruptions: generational shifts, AFAs, AI. But they all come back to the same themes. I keep thinking, “Ah, this is going to really change things,” but it rarely does. We just keep operating in a very small bubble because, well, lawyers.
This avoidance of changes (innovation) in our industry comes from the risk aversion of lawyers; decision are based on precedence, not looking forward. It’s amazing that all these years (decades) later the basic tenants of Dr. Larry Richards article Herding Cats: The Lawyer Personality Revealed still hold true: Lawyers remain more skeptical, less resilient, and more autonomous than the general population. Great for writing a legal brief, not so great when it comes to business innovations and practices.
While I have seen glimmers of change with the entrance of the Millennials into the law firm, on the whole, there has not been too much change, because how we cultivate and educate lawyers hasn’t changed much. Oh, wait, what’s that I’m reading and hearing? Law schools discussing getting rid of the LSAT? Law firms starting to change hiring practices and looking at non-traditional (tier 1) law schools? Oooh, is that the rise of the millennial leader (video) I’m seeing?? Hmmmm.
So what to do?
Yes, if you hadn’t figured it out yet, this is my annual “set intentions, not resolutions” post:
- 2018: New Year. New You. No Way.
- 2017: Resolutions or Intentions? How are you beginning your year?
- 2016: Don’t seek resolutions. Find your adventure.
- 2015: How to set up your marketing plan for 2015 (Editorial note: what a crappy title, sorry about that)
- 2014: No crazy New Year’s resolutions for me.
My 2020 intentions
Well, I’m not giving up. I’ve seen some great presentations over the course of the past couple years that are showing law firms continuing in their pursuit of best in class when it comes to running the firm like a business. Yes, there are those still clinging to “but we’re a profession,” but they are being shut out of the conversations more and more. Face it, you pay taxes, you’re a business. You have a business license, you’re a business. And while you might call them clients, they are customers as well, because they get an invoice and pay it.
I continue to listen to the conversations, and provoke discussions. I read, I skim, and I’ll share what I think is important to read. I’ve been leading those posts with “If you have time to read only on thing today …” and I’ll add the hashtag “#FirstReadLegal.” You’ll see those pop up on my Twitter and LinkedIn.
I’m a distrupter. I have a perverse level of comfort with conflict. That is good, and it can be bad, especially when you work with and for attorneys, who are basically the exact opposite. But what it does is make me not okay with the status quo … and that’s a good thing as I’m always challenging and questioning why we are doing what we’re doing. It might make you uncomfortable, but I promise, I won’t push if I don’t think it necessary. But if we can’t live by the status quo that means we have to continue to innovate and change, and that has me written all over it.
I’m happy to be wrong. And while I push, I hope no one in my circle doesn’t hesitate to push back, because I am willing to listen, and be wrong. Whether you call that being resilient, or buoyant, I don’t care … I just don’t want to be so stuck in my ways that the world passes me by.
And when it comes to blogging, I will post when I have something to say. There is so much to filter through out there, and I don’t want to contribute to the clutter in your feeds. I want to add value, not noise. So when I post, it’s because I have a burning desire to share something with you.
If nothing else, this year has showed me more than anything how we each have the power to be the change we want to see in our own personal worlds. That when we are ready, and we put our intention out there, things really do happen. That if everything in your life is not all right, it’s not the end. And my favorite, don’t look for the solution in the problem.
Happy new year.