Everyday in business is a good day. But, being is business isn’t the same from day to day; doing business the same way it has always been done is not a recipe for success. Many of the changes we’ve faced are the same ones faced by any small business. Changes in technology, changes in the competition, and changing client expectations are all part of owning a business. It is better to be ahead of the changes than to play catch up. But it is not always easy to stay ahead so it is important to keep eyes wide open to coming changes. This is one of the reasons I read 3 to 4 newspapers daily, and publications like Florida Trend and The Florida Bar News, among others. I need to know what is happening in various industries, especially the legal industry, but also in those industries that buy legal services. I have to keep up with technology to ensure that we use technologies effectively and efficiently. One of the more recent conversions in our world was to use iPads as document readers instead of reading huge volumes of case documents on paper. The iPads paid for themselves in reduced purchases of copy paper! Another technology change was our development of a client portal. Clients were looking for ways to send or receive large size or large quantities of files and developing our own file transfer portal has made this possible. At the core, a business may not change; our research methods are fundamentally the same. A mechanic may, at a base level, fix cars – but the tools used to fix cars, or to conduct jury research change and the point of this post is look at how to use available tools effectively. Don’t wait until you are the last person to adopt and adapt – it will be too late.
As with many things in life, some changes are positive and others, less than positive. Regardless of how we feel about changes, they are going to happen, so it is important to be ready to adapt to our new situation as soon as the inevitable change occurs. I have a lot of friends who are “old school” when it comes to their views of change, particularly changes in technology. They are living in the past on things like phones; they say, for example, “All I want to do is talk on my phone, not text, email, check the stock reports, use the built in calculator, or HORRORS (my emphasis added) use the GPS to actually know where I am going!” I wish these people good luck because they are getting more and more out of touch with reality with every passing day. Changes in technology have, for the most part, made my professional and personal life easier. I do not suffer from the dreaded informational overload about which many people complain because I control the ways I use my technology; technology does not control me. As David mentioned, I used to read boxes and boxes full of legal documents printed on paper and mailed (in the U.S. Mail) to me by our clients. Our filing cabinets were jammed full of paper and when our work on each case was completed, it took someone in my employ half a day, every single work week, to shred all of the paper I had read, once, in order to understand our clients’ cases. Now, thanks to the technology feared by some of my friends, my clients send the same voluminous documents on an electronic portal we have set up exclusively for their case then, when we receive them, one of my employees clicks a few buttons on a computer and transfers the documents to my iPad, on which I efficiently and without wasting paper, read to my heart’s content. Who says the old days were better? Not me!