For Millennials, in almost any industry you look at, there’s a consensus that to survive and thrive, you must collaborate. This is plainly visible when you look at fashion brands, social media influencers, musicians, and app developers. And it's true. Just look at the recent collaboration between “Superinfluencer” Something Navy x Treasure and Bond at Nordstroms. It purportedly racked up over $1M in sales in less than 24 hours after going online on Nordstrom.com. Then you have Casper who teamed up with West Elm to allow the primarily e-commerce-based mattress company to offer prospective customers the ability to actually try their mattresses out in person. Casper also just launched a smart and well-aligned partnership with American Airlines which could expose the brand to a whole new group of people. BMW & Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang & H&M Uber & Spotify, GoPro & Red Bull, and the list goest on.
Cross-pollination and co-branding just makes good business sense for brands like these. But why? Is it because the companies’ bottom line gets bigger? That’s an obvious goal but the truth is, collaborations have the power to be wildly successful for Millennial facing brands because they simply add value for customers/clients.
In the data driven sharing economy we live in, the more effective a brand or company is in delivering extremely high quality content at an affordable price targeting to the right customers/clients, the more successful it will be. What I’m saying isn’t really news to anyone. Richard Branson wrote a great article about this a few months back (HERE). But an area where the benefits of collaborating may not be as obvious is in the modern day legal profession.
The legal market today faces many uncertainties. With the rise of AI, many law jobs will likely become obsolete. That notwithstanding, so much of how our economy is being driven by Millennials is through a golden age of start ups and small businesses. It’s really a beautiful time to be alive. Every day we’re introduced to new technologies, new brands, new ideas, new ways of communicating with each other and at a high level, new ways of existing. The economical reality of this, however, is that start ups and emerging brands generally don’t have budgets to pay typical law firm retainers.
Most traditional firms have such high overhead that they simply can’t reduce their fees without killing their margins. We see this trend in retail and the response (rightly so) has been a massive shift toward the direct-to-consumer model. Brands like Everlane, Reformation and Framework know this. Remove the middle man and you can lower your cost of doing business and pass along that cost saving to your customers and clients. Typically this is where solo practitioners come in.
Solo practitioners are able provide better rates and, often times, more hands-on attention and service to their clients. But it's my belief that it's no longer sufficient to operate as a "solo" practitioner in the modern economy. There needs to be a shift in the collective language and concept in order for solo practitioners to thrive now. They need to shift their energy and thought to shed this illusion that practicing “solo” somehow makes you independent and can add the most value to their clients. Instead, we need to retrain ourselves to know that we ought to be Interdependent practitioners. This has become something of a mission statement at Lichy Law. With our focus directed primarily toward clients in the fashion, lifestyle, social media influencer, real estate, digital media and entertainment spaces, if our clients are collaborating we sure as hell better be too.
What does being an "Interdependent" practitioner even mean? Just another nuance written by some millennial to sound cool to his audience? Definitely not. I happen to subscribe to Tony Robbin's notion that "by changing your habitual vocabulary – the words you consistently use to describe emotions – you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live." Something he calls "Transformational Vocabulary". The idea of being interdependent isn’t novel or rocket science either. The simple truth is, as interdependent practitioners, we just need to create a vibrant, complementary and trusted network of attorneys who we can collaborate with to add the most value to our client’s needs.
Whether you started working with a client to form their corporate entity, file their trademarks and guide them through their first distribution agreements, then referred them to an M&A colleague in your network to guide them through their first major fund raise, to an employment attorney who can walk them through hiring their first 100 employees – if you can add the maximum value to their needs, they will succeed. And their success is your success.
At Lichy Law we’re constantly looking to collaborate with attorneys and non-attorneys alike (drop me a line if you're interested in collaborating!). The more open minded we can be, the more opportunity you can let into your business and life, the more value you can add to those around you. And at the end of the day, it’s just a more fun way to do business and to live.