The Amazon effect


Posted by Sarah Keegan, co-founder of Legal Futures Associate The CS Partnership

Keegan: We are all interacting H2H

I always try never to offend, so apologies straight off if I do, but I have to be honest and say it still amazes me how many lawyers we come into contact with, who are still behaving like dinosaurs when it comes to technology.

And it’s not about chronological age either – the youngest ‘dinosaur’ that we have worked with is 25, albeit the older ones are in their 60s (which as we all know is no age these days).

There are even lawyers who still refuse to have a computer on their desks. Or heads of department who will not take new work that comes in from cold calls or the internet.

We are talking about lawyers who dictate every letter verbatim or who reply to emails by printing them off, and then dictating the response for their secretaries to type up and send (after the responses have been printed and approved, of course).

Whilst those examples might seem extreme, what is most alarming is the large number of lawyers who just do not think they need to change the way they are working.

Not their legal skills and expertise – but the method and the tone of the way they deliver their services.

In 2019, we can learn any fact within seconds, access vital documents over smartphones, communicate with each other at any hour no matter where we are in the world, track our children’s whereabouts 24 hours a day, and even pay our bills whilst sitting on the bus or turn up the heat in our homes from the office.

Before we buy anything, we look for it online.

We read other people’s feedback on the product or service online. Then we see if it is sold on Amazon or eBay, and if it is, we press click, and it is delivered to our door the next day. If we change our minds, Amazon will allow us to return it.

Companies are geared up to take the hassle out of our lives and give us more time and autonomy. Companies treat us with respect – because they know that, without us, they won’t exist.

That is the world we are living in, and I know it’s the same world that the legal dinosaurs are living in too.

It doesn’t matter if you are the kind of lawyer who sells B2B or B2C – we are all interacting H2H (Human to Human).

And being honest again, it worries me when I come across lawyers who haven’t yet joined the dots between their own consumer behaviour, and what their clients will demanding of them in the very near future – if not already.

Don’t be the lawyer who gets left behind in the sea of change… we all know what happened to the dinosaurs!

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