Bits and Bytes: Are lawyers prone to tattoo thinking?

I recently read a post by author Seth Godin on what he calls tattoo thinking. Tattoos are forever. If you’re considering getting one, you really have to think hard before going ahead as you know it’s an irreversible decision.

Some decisions, of course, are more serious than others. When it comes to lawyers, things such as a price adjustment, a change to your marketing brochure, a new way of engaging with your clients or trying out that new piece of software are all relatively low-risk decisions with potentially significant benefits.

And yet instead of making these decisions and taking bold steps, we wait and see. We wait for others to try something and learn from them. We say we’re too busy to take those risks. And while we wait on the sidelines for others to make those mistakes, we lose out on the opportunities that could change our own and our clients’ lives.

I see this in my dealing with lawyers and technology. They want guarantees and security. Undoubtedly, I chalk that up to our psyche and what we learn is our role in society. We are the protectors of the law and justice. We are taught to make cautious decisions. We advise our clients against risk. We think about our lives in that cold logical way of avoiding and mitigating risks.

Adoption of technology or experimenting with new business structures is a risky enterprise. It’s interesting to see that in Britain, there hasn’t been a flood of alternative business structures following deregulation of the legal market. Instead, we’ve seen more cautious behaviour that further affirms our aversion to risk.

The challenge is that we’ve fallen far behind many other industries in terms of adoption of technology. Our cost structures aren’t in line with other industries. And many of our clients fail to see our services as worth the cost we charge. As a result, we all need to rethink how we view risk and start to make changes to improve the system for all.

So go ahead and make a change.

Monica Goyal is a lawyer and technology entrepreneur. She’s the founder of My Legal Briefcase and Simply Small Claims. You can follow her on twitter at @monicangoyal.

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