I watch and participate in a lot of action sports; it’s a stress reliever for me outside the office. I am fascinated by how with each generation, sports evolve.  Whether a new pastime is created from a mere trick in someone’s backyard or a veteran athlete in one sport takes on another in order to prolong his career, there is always something new.

Because sports are so completely different from what I do every day, getting involved makes my mind work in a different way and to think about goals and challenges. Athletes either progress or fail. They create a new trick to win the X-Games, or a 14-year-old kid knocks them out of the running. They don’t get comfortable, and they don’t waste any time.

Careers are vibrant, filled with achievement and travel. But why do these athletes push the boundaries so vigorously? They progress to promote their sport, progress to push themselves, progress because if they do not, they fail in their careers and are quickly replaced.

Don't Get Comfortable

The practice of law remained relatively static for many years.  Lawyers and law firms often found themselves associated with terms like “stodgy” and “dusty”—the very mention of the legal field brought to mind a certain ponderous tradition.  Now, however, attorneys are faced with a challenge akin to that of the professional athlete. The world around them is changing. Their clients are getting younger; the way their clients communicate is changing. The new tricks the next generation of attorneys brings to the table won’t be fancy flips, but they will bring new tricks.

The efficient use of technology will make lawyers who understand and adopt it early faster, more efficient, more accessible to their clients and more comfortable for the tech-savvy next generation of clients to work with.

For better or worse, many of the attorneys who don’t develop that new trick will be knocked out of the running by the professional equivalent of that 14-year-old kid.  The changes in available legal technology, in client expectations, in means of communication and billing and the way legal services are packaged will just keep coming.

Will you be the Motocross rider who makes the leap to Rally Car Racing or the veteran sticking to his old tricks who loses the game to an up-and-comer who is helping to change the rules?