why can’t johnny innovate?

in his post who? me innovate? bruce macewen of the Adam Smith, Esq. blog makes a number of great observations about lawyers’ natural aversion to change. the heart of the post is this chestnut:

The pressures on our profession, and our industry … to innovate have never been greater. Increasingly, “the way it’s always been done” is not a satisfactory strategy or approach … The problem is that we’ve never been much good at innovation. And now we have no choice.

oh how i wish i could believe or understand what he’s talking about here. we “have no choice?” oh, that’s right you live in NYC where there really is competitive pressure on law firms and maybe firms from the rest of the world even matter a little. then there’s fly-over territory, also known as the part of the country between new york and los angeles. we don’t have that problem here: when you’re the only game in town you really don’t have a “pack” to stay ahead of. yes, it’s good to be king. so i guess we do have a choice bruce. the choice to do nothing until it’s absolutely necessary. hey, it’s worked for the last 250 years of the profession. why change that now?

the author wraps up by recommending that law firms get their intellectual feet wet by going for “base hit” innovations instead of trying to change everything in a frenzy of reactionary change (“swinging for the fences” or as i like to call it — “panic”).

not to sound cynical, but let’s see how much traction the author gets on this line of thinking. let me know how it all turns out — i’ll be reading advance sheets by a gas lamp in the basement of the library if anyone wants me.

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