Book Review: The Return of the Naked Lawyer
Although Chrissie Lightfoot’s ROAR (Reach Out And Relate) concept always reminds me of a Katy Perry song (a singer of popular songs M’Lud) the fact is ROAR is a far more attractive proposition than the alternative of SNORE, which still seems to be the benchmark for most law firm management books that leave you looking to slit your wrists before you’ve even finished the “executive summary”.
The sequel to Chrissie’s The Naked Lawyer book of four years ago, this is a motivational guide you’ll either love or hate but certainly won’t be able to ignore. I suspect a lot of readers may initially be deterred by Chrissie’s frequently OTT comments and topic headings but, here’s the thing: the traditional legal world is now facing some of the biggest challenges it has ever known.
Sure, there have been crises before – and recessions. And, people like myself and Richard Susskind have been warning of the need to adapt since the 1990s. But, in the past, as long as firms were prepared to stick to their knitting, pull in their belts in and not do anything rash, they were always able to survive and ignore the writing on the wall.
That has now changed for good and they are facing a perfect storm of an increasingly assertive client base, who are no longer prepared to tolerate the quality of service – particularly the billing practices- that have been foisted on them in the past; and, the entry into the market of a new generation of “alternative” legal service providers who take their lead from the ways of the commercial world rather than Ye Legal Profession of Olde.
This is the world of the “New Law, New Normal”. It is no longer a case of law firms needing to change their business models or else someone else will eat their lunch but rather that if they don’t change, they will become someone else’s lunch.
New Law Thinking from a New Law Thinker – shame about the Old School Publisher
Set in this context, Chrissie’s book becomes essential reading – and it is an easy read, with plenty of bite-sized sections of information to contemplate and learn from. In fact I’d go so far as to say that if you don’t find something in this book that provides you with at least one “aha, I never thought of that before” moment of enlightenment and inspiration, then you are either run the most successful law firm in the country (which you most certainly don’t) or else you are in denial and staring commercial disaster in the face. The one caveat is the price – ludicrously high – I fear the publishers really do need to embrace the Digital Age and the 21st Century – and discard their Old School thinking.
In terms of her use of social media – and her writing – Chrissie Lightfoot is the nearest thing the legal market has to Kim Kardashian. But is that a bad thing, as in a couple of years Kim Kardashian has achieved a far higher public profile and brand recognition/awareness (and been able to monetise it) than any law firm has ever achieved in decades and, in some instances, centuries.