Since talking about making Smart Decisions in a Confusing World at a recent legal conference, the interesting thing is that more people have clicked on the link on my Recommendations page for this book than for any other. Why would that be?
I think the answer is confirmation on another subject that I blogged about a while back; lawyers like to give advice and they don't like to be seen to be taking it!
The point of the talk was two-fold.
The first is that as perceived experts, lawyers exist to perform a vital and valuable function in life. Yet this "expert status" is being eroded, and in some cases, blown away by customers who challenge everything they hear from their lawyer; customers who "research" their particular circumstances and in many cases dispense with a lawyer altogether and construct their own contracts simply because their 30 minutes of internet based research suddenly puts them on a par with their 7-year studied and 3+ year practised lawyer...and why spend money when you can do it yourself? This erodes law firm revenue and profist. The evidence for that can bee seen by downloading law firm accounts from Companies House.
Secondly, lawyers and law firms who have taken a decision to invest in their future and who do their own research into contracting with helpful collaborators, coaches or mentors need to be able to see through the information overload and spot the snake oil salesmen from the real deal. They need to make better informed decisions for the sake of their future. And also to justify their decisions to their partners. (Probably the biggest single reason! )
I won't bore you with the full 40-minute transcript here but the gist of the event is summed up in the above two paragraphs and the final bit of wisdom taken from Hertz's book;
1. You make a better decision with a full stomach and a full bladder (The Wise Old Woman, the Jewish Mother and the sages' of the past were right after all doh!)
2. Always have someone to hand who tells you what you don't want to hear!
I've always been happy to tell lawyers and law firms what they don't particularly want to hear (check out some of the columns from a few years back!) Some shrug their shoulders, some you never hear from again (the majority) and some decide that they should check it out and do something about it (fewer than I would like) but until I set up the links and directed people to them, I never had any statistical evidence that.
I do now.