Mission Possible launched Oct. 1 — a webcast of 30-minute overarching segments on the new legal market and new practitioner, smart marketing, emerging business models, and 15-minute spotlight pieces by leading minds exemplifying key ideas within those broad-stroke concepts.
Some of the most renowned, forward-thinking voices on the future of the profession were with us, if for only a blink in time, to impart exciting thoughts and information. Mission Possible delivered:
• Intensity — Sam Glover galvanized many by arguing technology competence is an ethical obligation.
• Wit and humor — Jabez LeBret microphoned up just to compete with Sam.
• More wit and quick-fire directions on how to seize the opportunities of this unusual age and make it work for you — Peggy Gruenke gave great advice on advertising online, and on being present and effective in the community of here and there.
• Heart string tugs— Shantelle Argyle and Diana Singleton flat-out inspired all of us would-be legal aid lawyers to think big and dream bigger. (Yes, I am a would-be legal aid lawyer.)
The content resonated with me and my work here at the WSBA. But, I have to admit, it was intimidating at times. If you watched the whole program — four hours with 12 speakers — you may have felt like one member who ended her question with, “Now I have to get a tech degree?” Then Joshua Lenon replied, “Lawyers need a math degree” (maybe in jest, but he looked so earnest when he said it). Some of you may have thought you needed a marketing degree, too, after hearing Kevin O’Keefe lay down the law of sound lawyer marketing. Add to that a business degree for the running of the firm and you will be retiring about the time you finish school. Anyone else overwhelmed?
Don’t be. There is no need to have that depth of knowledge in all these areas. What you need is to be a T-Shaped Lawyer. R. Amani Smathers (who wasn’t at Mission Possible, but would have fit in beautifully) said it better than I ever could for ReInvent Law. What we need to do is adapt, gaining a shallow understanding of many different subjects, because that is what the world wants from us and that is what makes us better at relating to others and doing great work. We are, believe it or not, a multi-disciplinary field. Good lawyers who litigate cases about complex matters know they must submerge themselves in the subject to a degree deep enough to explain it to a jury. But we forget that this skill set of submersion and translation would also help us on the back end of running a firm and on creative ways to model our business, talk with our clients, plan projects effectively, or gracefully manage employees. We revert back to our I-shaped roots of the profession and we hide away our talents for translation and exploration — unless we’re woken up to the possibilities, which is what I hope Mission Possible did for folks.
For me, it was like one big confirmation of the work I do. I am proud to be part of a bar association that does programming like this and proud to be a resource to members interested in growing and improving their business. By the way, I had the best seat in the house, being the “Skype facilitator” and de facto audience for each Skyper. Yep, we used Skype, just like you can with your long-distance clients.
Thank you to all who watched and tweeted like crazy. Thank you to those who will watch in the future please give us your feedback. And check out the next Legal Lunchbox, which builds on these ideas, the Mission Possible resources page, the Law Office Management Assistance Program’s Firm Launch Guide, and the LOMAP lending library. Want to continue the conversation? Give us a call!