“Guruitis is a scourge of our time, listen people there is no THE answer, there are a number of possible answers. There is no THE book but a number of books worth reading”.
Stephen Allen, @LexFuturus May 2012
Let me tell you about a book worth reading, in fact I would go as far to say that if you only had time to read one book on the future of the legal services market, then this is the book you should read.
Avoiding Extinction: Reimaging Legal Services for the 21st Century, by Mitchell Kowalski (@mekowalski) is a fictional narrative detailing the visionary law firm of Bowen, Fong and Chandri (“BFC”) and their client Kowtor Industries.
BFC, headed by the mercurial Sylvester Bowen, set out the case of a reimagined legal service provider to their future client, a new recruit and a member of their board of directors.
So, why do I say this is a must read book?
Firstly, with amazing brevity – less than 200 pages, Kowalski provides the reader with a vivid depiction of what is possible when the starting point is giving the client what they want, rather than trying to fit what you already do to the clients want. I can do little better than to quote BFC’s mantra:
“BFC performs legal services that differ from those of our rivals, or, similar legal services, but in a very different way.”
Secondly, it tackles the “biggies” in terms of: project management; value pricing; technology; knowledge management; recruitment; reward; work space; team work; alternative sourcing; management; and leveraging your assets. All in this one book, less than 200 pages.
Thirdly, it references the theorists, but through believable examples, including: Boake & Kathuria; Martin; Mayson; Susskind; Parsons; Posner; and Sharp. This book is your “Oh, but where to start?”
Fourthly, because some of it will make you feel uncomfortable by challenging your status quo. I, personally, have never warmed to the open plan principle but find myself unable to resist the argument (if universally adopted by all).
Finally, because I have worked on a proposition that would have delivered to Kowtor’s RFP and that has demonstrated, in reality, many of the lessons set out in Kowlaski’s book.
However, both of us have come to a similar answer, quite independently of each other and without knowing, at the time, of each other’s existence.
This puts me in mind of Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin who, quite separately, came up with the theory of evolution. Darwin published the Origin of the Species (dedicating it to Wallace) and Wallace was just happy having his own theory endorsed by recognised great thinker.
Mitchell Kowlaski is Darwin to my Wallace, I am happy to know my theories are shared by someone who is clearly such a great thinker.
Both of us, like Darwin and Wallace, are interested in understating how to avoid extinction, if you are too then read this book.
Post script. A number of people have advised thhe the ABA site is not apply to supply and that Amazon is unable to supply until December.
I am reliably informed that Ben McNally Books in Toronto will send copies to the UK – email the owner at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him for a copy.
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