Law is a verb, not a noun!

Recently, I heard Alpesh Bhatt speak; his presentation was fascinating and he spoke with the fervor and energy of an impassioned believer.  He made the following observation:

"The organization of the future is a verb, not a noun."  He continued by asking:  "Who will own the stock of the organization?"  He said that users will control the company; his examples include and other similar Internet operations such as "youtube" and "facebook."  Yes, the stock of the company may be "owned" by one or two people, but the control of the operation is really in the hands of the users. He cited examples of where the users did not agree with a company policy and forced the company to retract its stand.

This is an interesting concept. I’m reminded of the phrase, "… the more things change, the more they stay the same!"  I’m referring to the fact that, even in the "old days," the real control of a business was and is in the hands of consumers. Unless you have customers willing to purchase your goods or services, you have no business!  Unless you have clients, there is no reason for you to have a law practice. Yes, you may technically "own" the company or law firm, but you will have no business … no revenue … without clients.

Thus, the clarion call:  Treat thy clients as they would like to be treated, or you will have no clients!  This is a paraphrase of Tony Alessandra’s "Platinum Rule" of asking your clients how they want to be treated, or Ben Franklin’s mantra, "… take care of the pence and the pence will take care of you."

Another way of looking at this concept is to suggest that law is a verb, not a noun; that law is constantly changing. Our courts, though they use precedents, constantly interpret the written word to mean something different in different times, always seeking to keep the law relevant to the day’s values. In other words, the law changes or is a verb, not a noun.

At the end of his presentation, Bhatt observed that business used to be about putting together the puzzle. Seven steps to this, five steps to that, etc.  We will see how this process orientation is no longer appropriate. We will be asked to solve the mystery, not create a process. And if/when we bring value to the table to help our clients solve their business mystery, we will be their colleague, their "partner " in helping them solve the mystery then facing their business.

Pretty sophisticated stuff … and lawyers who can "get it," will remain the top lawyers of our profession.

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