foreword by professor stephen mayson
It’s here at last! Four long years of waiting are over. Chrissie Lightfoot’s sequel to The Naked Lawyer has arrived….
The Naked Lawyer blazed a trail. Its innovative style, approach and language went where no-one else had quite been before. It looked at the psychology and processes of winning new business and providing stand-out service. Chrissie offered a template for navigating the modern world of law with obvious passion and success.
The core idea of the first book was about relating to others – hence so many metaphors and images of intensely personal and private relationships that might have been unsettling for those of a prudish or more traditional disposition. Whatever the sensitivities, the notion of ROAR (reach out and relate) was – and remains – a key platform for Chrissie’s ideas.
Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer takes off from where The Naked Lawyer left us. We have ventured through the self-discovery and personal brand foundations offered by The Naked Lawyer. We now have the ability to demonstrate value and empathy in winning and retaining business. In that personal journey, we were stripped bare, we looked deep into ourselves, and we were prepared well for the new, hyper-competitive, ‘law law land’ that was about to emerge from the global financial crisis and the reforms of the Legal Services Act 2007.
But that world has now arrived, and has not stood still either. Arguably, we have only felt the first fluttering of the butterfly wings of climatic change that the legal ecosystem is about to experience. Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer is about looking forward. After summarising in the introduction the key messages of her first book, Chrissie treats us to three chapters describing the world that tomorrow’s naked lawyer must face.
She draws on an impressive array of data, forecasts and opinion. And she doesn’t confine herself to national boundaries: here you will find material and case studies from around the world, building on her experience of working across Europe, North America, Asia and Scandinavia. The picture she paints is a global one, because all markets are being affected by the forces she describes.
Her brush strokes also have such compelling (and evidenced) force that they will frighten the pants off a lot of lawyers. It is a world that many will resist. It is also one for which no lawyer has been trained – and, more importantly, for which no lawyer is currently being trained.
Here lies one of the fundamental themes, and challenges, of Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer – contrast. Tomorrow’s world of law will be so different to yesterday’s and today’s that the contrast will be psychologically and organisationally disruptive. No-one has been prepared for it. That is why this latest book is so necessary: it will help anyone with a care about law’s future and their role in it.
The drivers of competition, new entrants, and future technology will transform law law land. Digital and social media have developed exponentially in the past four years, bringing potential, momentum and disruption to the world of law – and that’s before we come to the idea of the robotic, automaton (not human) lawyer that is explored so convincingly in the following pages.
The certainties of the old legal world have gone: career for life, reasonable expectation of rising fee income and rewards, promotion to partnership, client loyalty, self-regulation, professional and organisational autonomy, legal aid, and so on.
Uncertainty, change and constant challenge are now the order of the day. However, the end of the world as we currently know it is not in fact the end of the world, just the emergence of a new one. Contrast and transformation implies big change; and that, in turn, creates opportunities and excitement. If other people fear to tread in this new world, entrepreneurs don’t.
But entrepreneurs also understand that business is about people. However much we create processes, commodities and robots, we still need some people to produce and some people to buy (even if production methods and buying habits change over time). The world will remain human and social.
Nevertheless, the relentless march of industrialisation, wearable technology, and robotic artificial intelligence will push the boundaries of what it means to be human and social. Chrissie explores in depth the meaning and consequences of these developments for legal services – and then rightly poses some challenging and uncomfortable questions about where this all takes us in matters of ethics.
Through all its insights of change, uncertainty, technological development, market disruption, job and relationships transformations, and entrepreneurial response, Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer encourages us to think about what it really means to be a lawyer (and what it will mean to be a real lawyer) in the twenty-first century.
It is blending all these things into a seamless vision of your own future and how you will live it that lies at the heart of Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer. Those who understand the union of entrepreneurialism, future technology and the nature of being human will have embraced the message of this book, and you can dance confidently into the future. Indeed, you can then go back to The Naked Lawyer and start all over again: the insights and techniques from that work will be even more necessary and valuable when you’re pursuing the vision of the future from this one.
Stephen Mayson is professor of legal services regulation at the University of Law, and honorary professor in the Centre for Ethics and Law at University College London. He now spends most of his time as an independent non-executive director working with a number of law-related organisations (www.stephenmayson.com).