In a world where technology is rapidly changing the way we live our lives, it’s no surprise that the legal profession is also evolving. In a MaxLawCon 22 presentation, Ryan McKeen talks about the future of law and how lawyers can stay ahead of the curve.
The key to success in the legal profession is to focus on:
efficiency and organization
acquiring online real estate
well-organized tech stack with data at your fingertips
Just like in a game of chess, lawyers need to think several moves ahead and anticipate what their next move will need to be for their law firms. The demand for legal services will only increase as society becomes more complex, with lawyers embracing change and experimenting with new approaches —- we can stay ahead of the curve.
So, are you playing checkers or chess? The legal profession is changing, and it’s up to lawyers to adapt and evolve. With the right mindset and a focus on efficiency, the future looks bright.
01:26 Efficiency is the macro trend
06:35 Consolidation is a macro trend
08:33 Are lawyers safe?
10:04 The role of lawyers in the future
12:26 Building your brand
16:12 Efficiency in the legal profession
17:08 Opportunities for law firms
Watch the full video on YouTube here. https://youtu.be/r-DmgwvT1Mg
Connect with Ryan:
Transcript: Are You Playing Checkers or Chess? The Future of Law
In today’s episode, we’re sharing a presentation from Max law con 2020. To keep listening to hear Ryan McCain, as we share his talk, are you playing checkers or chess where the practice of law is headed, you can also head to the maximum lawyer YouTube channel to watch the full video. Now to the episode.
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson nutrix. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.
So this winter Tyson and Jim they call me and they say, Hey, Ryan, we want you to come and talk at max law. He said, Okay, what do you want me to talk about? We want you to talk about the future of law. I’m like, Okay, well, that’s a big topic. And you have 20 minutes, okay. And you’ve got to give your audience three takeaways. And I’m like, Alright, I’m down for this challenge. And this has been of all the talks, I’ve given the hardest one, to write and to think about and to work through. And I’m grateful just, I’ve even had the process of doing this, and of being here and engaging in this way. So first, we’re going to start with where we are headed. And as I prepared this talk, I started looking and thinking and thinking like, well, like, what’s going on in Utah? What are they doing in Australia? What are they doing in California? What’s going on in Billy state of Arizona. And I was like, No, I’m like, that’s like, 10,000 foot level, like, that’s even a little too granular for where it is I want this talk to be. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, that is a symptom, like not a cost, that is a symptom of much larger trends. The biggest trend in any of our lives has been the trend to eliminate inefficiency, our lives have become more and more efficient over time in every single respect. I mean, the simple act of checking into a hotel is easier checking out getting a flight, getting a car to the hotel, getting food, everything now is simpler than it was last time we gathered even in October, and it’s going to be simpler at the next maximum lawyer conference next year. So efficiency in the elimination of inefficiency is the macro trend of our lifetime. And, you know, I was I had the good fortune of attending legal acts with Ryan and file Viny of this great conversation with Alexis Ohanian, one of the co founders of Reddit, and he said, Look, you know, where this is headed, is ultimately like, you’re going to, you know, snap your fingers and say, I need an estate plan and, you know, web 3.0 and Bitcoin, it’s going to organize your finances in a way that’s most optimal, and you’re going to have an estate plan. But he’s like, you know, the good news is for lawyers, like lawyers aren’t going to go away, the need for connection is not going to go away. And that’s like, way down the road. We got a long ways to go there. And so I started thinking, I’m like, Well, where else has things like this played out? And I thought, Look, I’m half Italian. My grandparents are all Italian. I’m actually an Italian citizen. I’m getting my passport soon. So I’m pretty excited about that. And I have a Jogye I have a Jogye. It’s my it’s my, my wife’s grandfather who’s polish, and the judge is no longer with us. And George was a pharmacist. And so judge in the 1940s started a pharmacy called Southwood pharmacy, he served the Southwood section of my hometown in Enfield, Connecticut. And he was in business for about 60 years, and he was a pharmacist. And like many of us, his experience was analogous like because he was both the pharmacist filling scripts and in those days, he had to like make compounds and scales and all that stuff that he would he would talk about endlessly. And he also had to run a business. He had to do books. I lived in the southwest area when I grew up and I would walk to his store and they had a soda fountain. And that was a real treat to get soda. So that’s how he did he built a community based business. He showed up for his community. He showed up for his church, and people knew and loved him and he served and served his community. And he made a living for himself and he made an impact in his community. And in about 2000 He got approached by CVS when CBS was already in town, but our town had like a CVS or Walgreens. And then we had like five local pharmacies like maybe your town was like this. We had Thompsonville pharmacy and hazard Ville pharmacy and Southwood pharmacy and they all started about the same time. And CVS said, Look, we want to buy you, we want to buy you for $3 million. And George was proud, foolish and proud and stubborn, and judge would rather at that time in 2000, he would have rather died on his feet and lived on his knees. And he told CVS No, I’m not taking your $3 million not taking it, I just can’t do it. I’m basically too proud of what it is that I’ve done. 10 years later, Josh showed the CVS, he sold for 600,000. He had lost 80% of what they had initially offered, not even factoring in the time value of money. And I thought to myself, Mike, yeah, you know, what, I feel like the legal profession is sort of like judge was maybe in like, 1995, like we’re in a place, and we’re about to be in another place. And it’s going to change in ways that are going to be hard to predict. Anybody who can say with certainty, how 50 Different states are going to regulate the legal profession. I mean, you’re better than me, because it’s going to play out in different ways. But I think the big trend is going to be towards efficiency. And, you know, ultimately, here, when you think about things, when you think about another macro trend in this in this world that we live in, it is consolidation. In preparing for this, I mean, the number of airlines across all of our lifetimes, has shrank. I mean, two thirds of US beef is made by just three companies at three different plants, Marco Brown was talking about how all the chicken is in Iowa, made in farms in Iowa. And that’s where all of our chicken comes in. You can see the reduction in number of banks from 14,019 94, to 4037. I mean, smartphone companies, everybody in this room, as you know, Verizon and AT and T or T Mobile, Sprint, whatever they call it today. And you also see a trend of restaurants coming in. And this plays out big time, especially in the medical profession today, I would say, as an injury lawyer, one of the things that we deal with their various medical providers day in and day out, even as recently as 10 years ago, there were many different independent providers of medical care, it was a very fragmented market, you had rockville hospital, you had St. Francis Hospital, you had Hartford Hospital, you had Manchester Memorial, you had different entities. And what has happened in the time that in the past 10 years, and really in the past five years and accelerated more in the past to to the point there’s now litigation, we basically in our state of Connecticut have about three health care providers. We have Yale, Hartford Hospital and Trinity, and we may only have to Trinity may get bought or something. That’s what they’re in litigation about. But that consolidation is a macro trend. And I do not think the legal space is immune from any of this, right? I don’t, I don’t think that we’re, we’re special guests, we have different regulations that may protect us in various ways. But these are the trends. And you know, one of the things that I think about with maximum lawyer and with the maximum lawyer group, in particular, and I’ve said this to Tyson in gym, I feel like this whole group, and this community in particular, is absolutely crowdsourcing, the best practices for small firms in the country. And we as a collective are communicating, talking, sharing what’s working, what is not, what vendors to use, what conferences to go to. And we are Unlocking Potential in ways that has not been unlocked before like this, this is a unique group, where you have a lot of open source information that flows generously through it, and we all benefit from it. And I feel like in some ways, like we’re we’re like guinea pigs in a way we are the pioneers, we are the ones who are out there who are pushing the envelope who are trying new things, and who are experimenting and getting results and also building data as as to what it is that we are doing. So I think the good news is is like everybody in this room is going to be okay. Everybody in this room is going to be more than okay. And people who recognize this and sees this are going to be fantastically okay. And so I don’t think I mean lawyers are not going to go away, like the need for legal services is only going to increase over the course of our life. I mean, Ryan mentioned this at legal X. I mean, even when I graduated law school, like there was no cryptocurrency law. There was no you know, social media law Tiktok law, there’s all as society changes and becomes more complicated, the demand for lawyers goes up, so you’re always going to be okay.
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So that brings me back to Josh, it brings me back to the medical profession as a whole, like, what is the role here for lawyers? And then what can we do now? Is the question. So I think the role for lawyers is what the role for doctors and pharmacists has been, which is last mile delivery services. If you think of a logistics train, if Mike Whelan is in the room, like last mile delivery, Amazon can pretty much easily more easily move packages across country, from Long Beach to Hartford, Connecticut, but they always have issues with getting the product from their warehouse to your door. And they do this in a variety of ways with contractors, vendors, their own employees. And the same thing is true with like medicine, most doctors in our area now work for Hartford healthcare, or Yale. And what they do is they just do surgeries, they just operate. And that is, from an economic perspective, the most efficient thing possible to happen. They aren’t worrying about marketing. I know Bill various that said, like, I talked to him yesterday, and he said, like this stuff is hard. Running a business, being a lawyer doing both trying to grow maybe as a solo to maybe have a few employees are maybe a few more, this is really hard work. And it’s pretty inefficient. And you are trained specifically to do things. And the more you do with just that thing, the more you’re going to produce the more efficiency that there is in the market. So I think is what I think happens here is like, Look, if you if you are in, you’re going to have the potential to sort of freelance almost like you would a DoorDash or Uber where you’re just like, hey, I’m going to take gigs, and I’m going to work. And I’m going to do this, and I’m going to go on, I think that that’s all, there’s always going to be a need for that. Because these companies that will come in, I think it will look a lot like healthcare are going to need those services, they’re going to need those people, they’re going to need those skills, and they’re going to need that knowledge. So if you’re like, hey, I don’t want to build an empire, I don’t want to be Billy, like I want to I want to practice law, like there’s going to be a definite role for you. But I also think you have a real choice. Because these companies that will come in, they’re going to want to buy the like CVS did to judge, they’re going to want to buy you because if nothing else, it gets competition out of the way. Because it accelerates CVS is growth. I mean, CVS was always going to win the battle against Southwood pharmacy, like there was no question. But they could win it faster, if he had gotten out. And they would have taken the other pharmacist on, they wanted to take the pharmacists on to work at CVS, and they would have paid him money to do so. So you know, if you’re if you’re looking at this moment, what you shouldn’t be looking at doing, especially to me, is what I mean, this is branding, and Billy gave you a whole thing on branding. And that’s, that’s great. I’m not gonna go too far into it. But what you shouldn’t be doing is you should be acquiring real estate, you should look out there right now. And you should say maybe this is the last best opportunity of all of our lives to grab some real beachfront real estate, whether it’s on Tik Tok, whether it’s on Google, whether it is it is in your community, it is branding, it is getting out there, getting your face out there, and getting your name out there. So people search for you. Because we are in a world, I’m in the personal injury world where at this point in 2022, if you want more clients, you just pay more money, it is pay to play for leads, the more money you pay, the more your phone will ring. But branding is something that is valuable and transcends that and getting your name out there. So if you know for us, you know we’re Connecticut trial firm, which to me is pretty easy to remember, but not easy enough. So what we did is we are we’re co branding, we a campaign called CTF wins Connecticut trial firm wins. Okay. And and that’s going to be co branded with us and we’re working on rolling that out. We are going to look you know, trademarks are another thing that you should be looking into because trademarks are saleable. Phone numbers, we’ve got 877 CTF wins. So we’re looking to get that real estate and build brand around that in a way that simply connects with the consumer. And the reason why is we want to ultimately sell that hopefully, I mean, I’m not going to be Josh, I’m not going to be the one who is telling CVS No, what I’m going to say is I want more I want more and here’s why you’re going to pay me more because I have a brand. I have inbound people know my name, people know my firm. Here’s what our 800 number gets for calls. Here’s what our website gets for clicks. And to me, you know, we’ve got our CTF wins thing up here but to me like build that brand wherever you can, and it doesn’t have to be on tick tock like you should not leave this room thinking that you have to build on tick tock I know, Courtney and Bill I don’t know if you’re in this room are you know they’re Minnesota Construction Law, like get in front of The Minnesota construction workers, the business owners, those who are out there building, think about your circle and getting out there and getting the name in your community. However it is that you define that community, Josh to find his community as Southwood part of Enfield, Connecticut, that was his community, get out there and figure out what your circle is, maybe it’s all of Arizona, maybe if you’re Sandy, it’s Vegas, maybe it’s multiple states, but wherever it is, define your community in brand to it narrowly, and very, very, very specifically. And yet, the biggest asset, you know, that you’re going to have to sell, because branding takes a lot of time and money, you should have your data in order, you should be looking at software that can organize your data, even if it is not immediately useful to you right now. Even if you have no way of accessing it, even if you don’t have a chief financial officer, making sure that you have clean data, and you have data at your fingertips, that is going to be something that if somebody is looking to buy you, CVS comes to town for you, then that is going to be something that they look for having your systems and your tech stack in order and operating. Again, that is last mile knowledge that is going to be extremely valuable. These companies that will come in I don’t like the way you say like the legal deregulation doesn’t matter. I think that that’s inevitable. But I also think it can be done in other ways. Marketing, we see this an injury, like there are firms that just come in and just mark it and then they refer out all their cases, that is a thing that happens. And they can generate those cases, but they still need the systems to run them in Connecticut or Minneapolis, or Colorado or wherever you are, they need those systems. So those systems need to be written down, they need to be clear, and those things are going to be extremely valuable as you look to sell. And in so I don’t. So what I’m saying is it could be you know, as as we looked on, as I say CVS, it doesn’t have to be like a national law firm, it could be one of your law firms in your state gets a lot of traction or two of them get a lot of traction. And they essentially become Hartford healthcare and Gale or in your market like that could happen. Or there could be marketing companies that come in, or there could even be, you know, back office companies that are in there running maybe your intake and your books and your data and your tech stack and doing all those things. Well, you simply service the clients. So I think I think all of these models are possible. I think all of them are more efficient than our current fragmented system, I think that there’s always going to be needs that will not be met. And so there will be people who will be unaffected, you know, there will be time will standstill in some areas of practice that just aren’t scalable, and are necessary, and tech will not touch. But I think you need to be looking at this opportunity as an opportunity. And if you want to double down and build now’s the time, it’s only going to get harder. I mean, I’ll share a story. I started my firm and I had a I had a blog and like that’s what like launched me in a way. And in like 2007 Eight, I just write whatever I felt like, and I get like a million views a year on my website, just me I had no SEO, you can’t do that today. Like you can write to your heart’s content, you can’t do that today. And these windows are getting smaller and smaller and smaller your window on tick tock or reals, your window in your community, your ability to brand are all going to get more expensive over time as the markets coalesce and change. And as bigger money comes in, because how many Max law sessions could be cancelled. If you had more money. Like if you just had more money, and you could buy the vendors, you could get the software, you could hire the people. And that’s where I think the private money comes in. So I’ve got 35 seconds left. anybody has a question? That’s great. If not, thank you. Oh, personal injury. That being the highest margin that you’re seeing that you’re seeing the creation of national firms, you’re seeing mass marketing, you’re seeing the John Morgan’s of the world like absolutely personal injury. But I think I mean, I think other areas of practice that are that are, you know, you know, certainly family law, immigration, estate planning. I think all of those things are possible for this. I mean, you’re seeing an even a state plan. I don’t do it, but you have like wealth counsel, and you have different software’s that are running in the background. We’re out of time. All right. Thank you.
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