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Jay Shepherd
Jay is a writer and speaker devoted to making work less work. He is the author of Firing at Will: A Manager's Guide (Apress, 2011).
Recent Activity
A recent survey listed lawyers (specifically associates) as the unhappiest occupation in America. This isn't a huge surprise. I know about a kajillion lawyers (which is one followed by a wad of zeroes, or ten to the wad), and way too many of them are fairly unhappy with their profession. When I stopped practicing (escaped?) two years ago, many of my colleagues gave me that look you saw as a kid when you told your friends that you're going to Disney World — you know, that wistful, pleading look that says, "Take me with you. Please?" In this short talk... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2013 at The Client Revolution
Nope. No fireworks. It was a commercial featuring those old Coca-Cola glasses that McDonald's was giving away. Jay Shepherd Writer | Speaker | Recovering Lawyer jayshep.com 34 Clearwater Road, Newton, MA, 02462, USA Phone: 617.835.5061 Read Firing at Will: A Manager’s Guide, Jay’s new book about the riskiest thing you can do at work with your clothes on.
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Here is the six-minute "LexThink .1" speech I gave in Chicago in March at the ABA TechShow. In it, I explain the three simple steps you need to take to get someone to do what you want. LexThink follows the "Ignite" speech format: six minutes, 20 slides, 18 seconds per slide, advancing automatically with no control by the speaker. Enjoy. And if you want the free Result Triangle worksheet, it's right here. You can print it out and use it right now to help solve whatever problem you're facing. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2012 at The Client Revolution
Short post over at the new jayshep.com on how appliance-repair companies and other providers can't seem to schedule appointments. Wow: something lawyers do right when it comes to time. Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2012 at The Client Revolution
Have you seen the video with all the jelly beans? If you ever spend any time on Facebook or surfing through YouTube videos, you probably know what I'm talking about. In late 2011, singer-songwriter Kina Grannis debuted a video to her song "In Your Arms." It took 288,000 Jelly Belly jelly beans and nearly two years of planning and stop-action photography to create the three-minute video. Since its release in November 2011, 5.4 million people have watched it on YouTube. The video directly led to Grannis's appearances on *Ellen* and *The Jimmy Kimmel Show*. At the moment, she's on the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2012 at The Client Revolution
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This week saw the season premiere of the still-successful CBS reality show *Survivor*. Remarkably, this is the series' 24th season; CBS has aired two seasons every year since 2000. (If you haven't seen the show, well, where've you been? Don't worry, though: I wrote about it over at *[Gruntled Employees][ge]* back in 2010 — "[Why employment law is like "Survivor][sur].") An interesting and unfortunate thing happened during the first "immunity challenge" between the two tribes, who this season are split along gender lines. The challenge featured a difficult obstacle course that began with a leap from a 25-foot platform onto... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2012 at The Client Revolution
I agree, Matt, that people tend to focus on the technology aspect (in this case, the Facebook platform) instead of the bigger picture. It's understandable, since there's a novelty about having a Facebook policy in the first place. My main problem is that companies have a knee-jerk reaction and want to start hyperlegislating Facebook usage. Nearly no employers have a policy forbidding "being mean at work." (Nor should they do.) Why then do they need a "being mean at work on Facebook" policy? Thanks for your comment, Matt!
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Well, not really. In fact, it has a long way to go. Over the past three years, since this blog started, the conversation about replacing the 1919 time-based billing model has snowballed. In many ways, the revolution's initial campaign to discredit the billable hour has been successful. There are now very few people defending hourly billing as an effective and useful practice. But still, the vast majority of professional-service firms continue to track their time and bill their hours. While many firms pay lip service to so-called alternative billing or alternative fee arrangements, almost none of them have taken a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2012 at The Client Revolution
I just finished rereading Hugh MacLeod's terrific short book, Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination. If you need some inspiration on following your dreams, this book is a great starting point. Toward the end of the book, Hugh talks about his approach to marketing. If you're not familiar with his work, I can tell you that he is the worldwide leader in cartoons drawn on the backs of business cards. (It's entirely possible that he's also the only cartoonist who works in that medium, but whatever.) From this fairly obscure position, Hugh has published two bestselling... Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 24, 2011 at The Client Revolution
Jerry — I really didn't. If you believe that time spent is a valid method of valuing professional services (or as you put it, the "only standard"), then you're opposed to pricing. Timesheets measure only the most recent hours spent. They have no entry for the value the client places on the work. Tracking time demeans the value that the lawyer brings, and it also causes the firm to operate differently. On this, we fundamentally disagree. Timekeeping is nothing more than an inaccurate retrospective look at a subset of the lawyer's costs. Pricing is about what it's worth to the client to get the work done, and what it's worth to the lawyer to do the work in the first place. It's interesting to me that in your primer on drafting AFAs, you don't say a single word about the value to the client. Jerry, with all due respect, the so-called AFAs you advocate are just hourly billing in drag (to use an excellent Ron Baker phrase). An expert lawyer should be able to answer that most common of client's questions, "How much will this cost?" Replying with "that depends" and hiding behind questionable budgets and Gannt and PERT charts and Lean Six Sigma is the mark of the amateur. Clients don't care how you manage your resources; they only care about your solving their problems. I appreciate your response, though, and wish you the best for the holidays. — Jay
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Most lawyers agree that timesheets and billable hours are terrible ways to measure value, but they don't know how to do it any other way. But amazingly, even as 2012 approaches, there are still some who actually believe that timesheets are necessary. Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 22, 2011 at The Client Revolution
If you see lawyers with their arms in slings, it's probably from too much patting themselves on their backs. According to a recent survey in the National Law Journal (subscription required), law firms raised their rates in 2011 by "only" 4.4 percent. The story now is that this is the third year of "modest" increases. From the National Law Journal: For the third year in a row, law firms showed restraint with hourly rate increases, inching up at a rate only slightly higher than inflation in many cases. The average firmwide billing rate, which combines partner and associate rates, increased... Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 22, 2011 at The Client Revolution
Good work, Tracy! It's more work for you, but your clients know that you really were thinking about them. — Jay
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So it's that time of year again, where lawyers and law firms fall over themselves to remind people that they exist. It used to be that every firm paid for expensive, customized holiday cards. (My firm used to.) But it's very time-consuming to print out contact lists, stick labels on envelopes, and run them through the postage meter. It's also not very environmentally friendly. And although it can look nice when you have dozens of cards taped to your conference room's glass walls or arrayed around lobby, they're up for a couple of weeks and then they get tossed in the trash. Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2011 at The Client Revolution
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As many of you now know, my new book Firing at Will: A Manager's Guide was published by Apress last week. It's an unlawyerly guide to the riskiest thing you can do at work with your clothes on: firing employees. So far, so good. Amazon is currently listing it as number 7 on its Kindle list of "Hot New Releases in Business Management & Leadership." (It's right behind the Steve Jobs biography. No, not that Steve Jobs biography. The other one.) You can order the Kindle version here, the paperback version here (convenient for stocking stuffers), and the Nook version... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2011 at The Client Revolution
Some of you may have gotten an email or RSS update from *Client Revolution* that included only previously published posts. (That's hard to say.) Sorry about that. We're having some RSS issues. Should be solved soon. As for an answer to the question, "Where's the new stuff?": It's coming. I'm in the home stretch of finishing a book about the riskiest thing you can do at work with your clothes on: firing employees. The book, called *Firing at Will*, is due to be published by Apress on November 22. Which means I better hurry up and finish. You can learn... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2011 at The Client Revolution
What app developers can teach professionals about pricing their knowledge Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2011 at The Client Revolution
And this is exactly the mistake that lawyers and other professionals make when they bill their work by the hour. In doing so, they're asking their clients to value you them for the work they just did, rather than for the years of experience and knowledge that enabled them to do that work. If you're only charging for the past few hours, you're leaving money on the table because you can't charge for the value of your accumulated knowledge — your true value. Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2011 at The Client Revolution
Frank, You made my day. Those kind words mean a lot coming from you. Thanks! Hope you're doing well. Best regards, Jay
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Here's the video from my IgniteLaw 2011 presentation at last month's ABA TechShow in Chicago. Thanks again to everyone who voted for the proposal. The event was fantastic, with a terrific lineup of boldfaced names from the blawgosphere. The rules were simple: 20 slides, 18 seconds a slide, and no way to control their relentless advance. It was terrifying and exhilarating. As someone who does a lot of public speaking, I found it far more difficult than preparing for a 90-minute speech. Most of the other speakers had the same reaction. Here's the summary: >In 2019, your law practice will... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2011 at The Client Revolution
You're correct, Chad, in pointing out the contradiction. I wrote the post you linked to two years ago, and I've learned a lot over that time. I'll be the first to admit that I used to be fooled by the value of efficiency. But no longer. Maybe you'll find the same thing happens to you if you keep learning about it. I have to disagree with you that "most people agree that effectiveness is goal number one." Not one major US law firm uses a business model that rewards effectiveness. And I'm really not sure what you mean by "doing so efficiently makes the whole thing doubly valuable." To whom? Unless you're charging clients based on time, efficiency (in terms of output divided by time spent) is completely meaningless to the client. We do agree that there's no reason lawyers can't be both efficient and effective. My concern is that firms today preaching about efficiency are completely ignoring effectiveness. Thanks for the comment. — Jay
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Want to know what that one word is? Here are two easy ways to find out: 1. Go grab your nearest unabridged dictionary. Turn to page one. Start going through each defined word one at a time. You'll get to it eventually. (OK, maybe that’s not so easy.) 2. Go to the [LexThink.1][ign] site and vote for my proposed talk, “One Word That Will Reinvent How You Serve Clients.” Just click on the handy "vote" icon (see image). Voting ends February 24. There are 23 other proposals from a rogue’s gallery of big legal thinkers, and only the top 12... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2011 at The Client Revolution
One of the largest firms in the country, Howrey LLP, voted to dissolve itself yesterday. In an interview with *The Wall Street Journal* yesterday, the firm’s final CEO Bob Ruyak blamed Howrey’s demise on “alternative fees.” (You know how I feel about that ridiculous term.) He also blamed discovery vendors (those vicious law-firm assassins), impatient partners, and, of course, The Economy. Funnily enough, he failed to blame a creaky, outdated business model or, you know, himself for the collapse of the firm. But trust me when I tell you that the story going forward will be how those dastardly alternative... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2011 at The Client Revolution
Jay Shepherd added a favorite at The Client Revolution
Feb 12, 2011
Jay Shepherd added a favorite at The Client Revolution
Feb 12, 2011