Do you know what I’m excited about? The change in the air. The buzz. The nervous energy. The sense that something epic is happening. Can you feel it? The last 6 months or so has seen a flurry of innovative activity in the legal industry in New Zealand and overseas. I’m super proud of our profession, which is often traditional by nature, for being curious and trying things out.
When I was at LawFest a couple of months ago I was impressed at the discussions and questions being asked which show mindsets are shifting. Lawyers are opening up to change and looking at the possibilities. We’re not only looking, we’re actually giving new opportunities and technologies a whirl. We are standing up and refusing to be clockblockers who will be left in the dust.
My new feelings of pride for our profession have inspired me to write a manifesto for the Lawyers of NOW. This is what we’re about. Let’s hit it:
1. We are authentic
The Lawyers of NOW are not beige. We believe it is time to wash off the “beige-ing” caused by law school and working in more traditional firms which made us feel we couldn’t be our true selves. We don’t hide our personalities. We let them shine. We are no longer confined to the traditional corporate lawyer mold that’s boring as hell. Being professional doesn’t mean we have to be pretend we’re someone else while we’re at work. We don’t hide behind the armour of boring suits and makeup. We know what our values are, and we make decisions and act from the heart. As Seth Godin says, “fly your freak flag”. Don’t worry, we will.
2. We champion technology
The Lawyers of NOW improve their technology knowledge and skills every damn day. We see technology as a vital tool to make the law more affordable, understandable and accessible for our clients and communities. We know that saying we’re too busy to learn new technologies is an excuse that clockblockers use because they’re afraid. Avoiding technology out of fear that we’ll make less money or won’t get the same level of respect from our peers is clockblocker behaviour. We see other industries like our buddies in accounting profession embrace new technologies to future-proof their businesses and we applaud them. We acknowledge there are risks for lawyers with using technology, but we believe these risks are far outweighed by the benefits.
3. We are biz savvy
Being a lawyer is not an excuse to shy away from being savvy in business. The Lawyers of NOW use their legal training to recognise and evaluate risk to their advantage and make smart decisions for our careers and businesses. We don’t let a bit of calculated risk stop us from being business savvy. People learn from their mistakes, so we don’t let the fear of failure hold us back.
4. We are not afraid
The Lawyers of NOW refuse to live in fear. The legal profession often looks down on those who dare to be different and innovative. But we don’t let this stop us. We know that a failure to be ourselves and embrace new skills could mean the demise of our profession. We are proud to be the innovative Lawyers of NOW. Even though the opinions of other lawyers can be intimidating, we are gutsy enough to carry on innovating and doing our thing.
5. We are diverse
The Lawyers of Now come in all shapes and sizes. Our clients are a diverse bunch of peeps and so are we. We bust out t-shirts, tattoos, jeans, colour, humour and hashtags. We work part-time, full-time, flexible hours and remotely. We bring our kids to work, breastfeed at work, and work from the road while travelling to places we want to explore. We value each other’s differences.
6. We recognise our duty to do epic shit NOW
The Lawyers of NOW know life is not a dress rehearsal. We don’t let ourselves become miserable in our jobs. We embrace our fabulousness, weirdness and unique skills and share them with the world. We know what we want our legacy to be. We fiercely make bold moves to create lives that we crave.
7. We do not wait for permission from clockblockers to create change
The Lawyers of Now do not need someone else’s permission to act. We know that if we don’t keep our knowledge and skills current with the latest technology trends we will be replaced by people who do. We will not let clockblockers hold us back from defending our careers, businesses and incomes in the age of automation and AI. We create meaningful change today.
8. We are committed to helping the clockblockers
The Lawyers of NOW relentlessly try to convince the clockblockers that they must get with the programme. We do so assertively and respectfully. We are grateful to the clockblockers for their incredible training, mentorship and support. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. To show our appreciation we are ferociously committed to dragging the clockblockers ahead of the wave of change hitting the legal industry so their legacies will live on.
9. We create time to do what matters most
The Lawyers of NOW are not slaves to the billable hour. We work smarter, not harder. We find clever and innovative ways to work so that we can free up more of our time to spend doing the stuff that floats our boat. We use innovative pricing techniques. We use technology to automate repetitive processes and document preparation so we can focus on high value work that really spins our wheels. We turn our expertise and intellectual property into products that we can sell online over and over again with little extra effort. We say no to the never-ending rat race that makes so many lawyers miserable as they don’t get time to do what they love.
10. We have each other’s backs
The Lawyers of NOW understand that everyone is fighting their own battle. We represent our clients to the best of our ability while still supporting our fellow lawyers and treating them with kindness and respect. We reach out to our colleagues to celebrate their successes and to commiserate and offer help when times are tough.
Claudia King email@example.com is CEO and co-founder of Automio, having recently left legal practice to focus full-time on delivering law online and using technology to make law firms more efficient and profitable.