Episode 138 — Anthony Johnson — Industry Disruption is the Key to Survival
The future is unknown in many ways — but that doesn’t mean we can’t start preparing for tomorrow, today. The legal industry is changing, and the sooner you accept that, the more likely are your chances of survival.
Anthony Johnson is one of the pioneers of the industry who focuses his practice on reading data and applying it to tomorrow.
On this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, check out his thoughts on:
- The realities of alternative business structures
- How technology impacts the legal industry
- Why it’s important to attract outside capital for your law firm
The truth about Rule 5.4. “I’m finally realizing that the same players that are investing in tech startups that disrupted the whole world are the same guys investing in litigation finance — the same emerging markets, the same groups, and the same people or individuals. So when you get those guys sitting in a room and then you give them the ability to now start a law firm, that can lead to trouble. The people thinking that Rule 5.4 won’t affect them in their lifetimes are the ones who will be out of business.”
ABS is here. “Alternative business structures are out. You can argue all you want. It’s done. They have a way in. It’s officially legal in Arizona, regardless of whether it should be or not, of the ethical rules, like Wall Street doesn’t care. There’s too much money. We all know that. Let’s all back up and stop trying to lawyer this up. That’s an excuse not to pay attention. That’s kind of how I look at that whole conversation. If you’re not realizing that this is just the truth and reality of it, you then go talk to some of the guys I’ve been talking to. There’s too many hundred billion dollar funds now that are now completely committed to going after the space.”
Renaming law firms. “I’d like to challenge the idea of putting your name on the door of your law firm. I’ve been talking about taking mine off for a long time, but I think that the problem is that there’s too much emphasis on the individual people knowing them personally and then trying to anchor your business around your own performance and your own reputation that’s going to die with you. So until you have a brand, process, and standards that you can actually step away from the firm and your firm doesn’t die and your business can’t die without you, you don’t have a business.”
Stellium’s goals. “The future of legal is in desperate need of leadership when it comes to technology, business processes, and disruption. The goal of Stellium is to not just do that and be that ourselves, but to find strategic alliances — entities that all resonate with us so that we can kind of be part of that change and lead in that change. Otherwise, if we don’t, then we’re just going to be sitting around waiting for Wall Street to find those people. That’s inherently opposite to what we do. Do you want the guys investing in all the corporations and the pharmaceutical companies running point on how we’re going to change our industry? Because that’s what happens if we all don’t drop our egos, make some friends, and actually do something about it.”
Change is coming. “I think that the only thing you have to do to survive — and it really depends on your risk profile — is understand change is coming and understand what your role is going to be in it. Are you going to lead in the change? Do you have the ability to? If not, who do you align with? What change do you want to see? Go find them. Quit your job, go work for them. You really want to be a lawyer, so now it’s time to prove it. The future of law isn’t grandpa’s law, because most of the time that’s where you’re working. So I think you need to look around and think about that and then decide when the right time to make a move is.”
What does being a game changer mean to you? “The only way to change the game is to do it differently. The theme of this podcast is disruption. Apple changed the world when they launched. Steve Jobs changed the world almost every year, and he did it in two words. This future’s coming and if you don’t think differently, if you don’t change the way you look at it, you will go out of business too.”