The Way of the Mastodon, Take Two
Patrick Lamb, who blogs at In Search of Perfect Client Service, reminds us that it was roughly two years ago when Sun Microsystems General Counsel Mike Dillon's post, "The Way of the Mastodon," rocked the legal blogosphere. If you don't recall, Dillon's post cautioned law firms that:
[T]he epoch of the current law firm model - which derives its profitability from growing scale and raising hourly rates - will soon be over. The firms that will survive and thrive are those that recognize this change and focus on how to maintain margins by focusing on efficiency.
Yet even now, when BigLaw is in crisis, law firms are still ignoring Dillon's advice. Writes Lamb:
Just last week, Dillon said he was shaking his head while reading a post reporting that law firms do not expect to make radical changes as a result of the economic downturn and related changes in the legal marketplace. In light of his earlier prophetic comments, his reaction that this feels "like whistling past the graveyard" should cause all but the most stubborn to at least pause. According to Dillon:
The reality is that we are in the early stages of a seismic shift in the traditional cost and delivery model for legal services. I see it every day in my interactions with the law firms that support us and in my discussions with peers at other companies. This change is the result of three major factors: the current economic downturn, the rise of alternative legal service providers and the lifestyle choices of the newest members of our profession.
Lamb acknowledges that change doesn't come easy to the legal profession. Still, he emphasizes that even if lawyers don't relish change, they need to "figure out how to at least be comfortable with it." Or else Dillon's two-year-old prophecy will indeed come true.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 22, 2009 at 02:35 PM | Permalink
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