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Law Practice Today

February 2023

Forget Lather, Rinse and Repeat – Times are Changing

Cynthia Thomas


  • Lawyers must once again get uncomfortable and decide how to alter their legal practice to accommodate working in a post-pandemic world.
Forget Lather, Rinse and Repeat – Times are Changing

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Change is inevitable. Whether you like it or not, “the only constant in life is change,” the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus wrote.

Change is “the act or result of something or becoming different,” according to Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. It is unavoidable. At some point, everything changes.  The weather, people, seasons, and even the world in which we live goes through a transformation.  Whether the change is good, bad, better, or just plain different, so many people fear change.  Despite the benefits that can result from making simple alternations to improve one lives and/or livelihoods, some individuals would rather live and operate in a place of comfort, especially when it comes adopting technology.

The fear of change is no stranger in the legal industry. For decades lawyers and law firm leaders ran their firms using the “lather, rinse and repeat” model. Simply stated, If it wasn’t broken, it wasn’t going to be fixed or even altered.  Unfortunately, this methodology came to a screeching halt when the world entered a global pandemic.

In early 2020, lawyers were literally forced to walk out of their corner offices filled with client file folders, stacks of paper and bookcases stuffed with books to work from home because of COVID-19 restrictions.  Working from home was a rarity in the legal industry and was not even an option for legal staff before 2020.  However, in order to provide legal services to their clients, attorneys and law firm leaders had no choice and quickly made major changes to their back-office operations and tech stack over the past two years in order to keep their law firm doors open.  They had to get uncomfortable. From transitioning their practice from archaic on-premises computer servers and networking equipment to cloud-based servers and fully embracing working in a paperless environment, firms used technology to collaborate with each other so they could continue to service their clients.

Thankfully, the proverbial dark cloud of the 2020 pandemic was the silver lining the legal industry needed to making overdue and necessary transformations to the practice of law and the delivery of legal services. Today, no longer forced to “temporarily shelter in place,” some lawyers have gone back to working in the office 100%. However, a vast number of lawyers and legal team members are still working remotely and prefer to continue to do so if not all the time, at least a couple of days out of the week.

Lawyers must once again get uncomfortable, and decide how to alter their legal practice to accommodate working in a post-pandemic world and not go back to the “lather, rinse and repeat” model.  Legal professionals must embrace change if they want to operate a successful, sustainable and thriving legal practice in 2023 and beyond.

Luckily, the ABA Law Practice Division offers several resources to help lawyers and law firm leaders navigate how to maintain, sustain and grow a thriving law practice in 2023 and beyond.  From books and webinars to bringing legal professional and legal technology together in person at its 37th annual ABA TECHSHOW, the Law Practice Division will help lawyers become change agents.

On March 1-4, 2023, the ABA TECHSHOW will be back in Chicago for an in-person conference experience which will better than ever.  Kicking off the conference with Startup Alley, conference attendees will watch some of the newest legal technology startup companies providing bold innovative services to facilitate and transform the practice of law and the delivery legal services to compete in a live face-off pitch competition.  Unlike some of the other legal technology conferences, the ABA TECHSHOW provides two full days of MCLE presentations from top legal professionals, tech innovators and legal disruptors from all over the world under one roof. Speakers, such as Emily Amara Gordon, who is enthusiastic and vested in the future of legal profession, technology and innovative legal operations and business solutions, will share her expertise in leveraging your tech stack to better service your clients. With CLE sessions topics on Core Concepts, Financial Management, Marketing, Operations, Client Experience, Transactional, Litigation, and Futures, TECHSHOW attendees will learn how to technology can transform all facets of their practice.  Additionally, attendees can visit the new Content Creator Space for a hands-on legal tech immersive experience after walking the Expo Hall learning more about the latest legal tech.  It is a great opportunity to get answers to some of those burning questions that keep lawyers and legal professional up at night about legal tech products and software.

And yes, the excitement continues each night with vendor-sponsored happy hours, and networking events, such as the Taste of TECHSHOW.  The Taste of TECHSHOW invites all attendees to dine at Chicago restaurants with faculty and board members to unwind with like-minded “agitators” inspired to alter the lather, rinse and repeat model of practicing law.

According to Socrates, “the secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  Therefore, if haven’t been recently or never attended TECHSHOW, I invite you to come to Chicago March 1-4, 2023, and learn why for 37 years ABA TECHSHOW remains one of the best legal technology shows for lawyers and legal professionals. Not only will you leave Chicago with a new perspective on how to leverage technology to improve your law practice, you will also learn how to create and/or enhance your legal tech stack.