Those 500-sheet packs of copy paper sell in Wal-Mart for under $3. In Staples, whose branding has been office supplies since 1986, the lowest price point is near $5. Clearly, the Staples brand has a problem. So does the branding of lawyers who are going about the search for work as if it were pre-2007.
Both have been too slow to change what they sell and how they sell. Here in this analysis of Staples for the financial information company Motley Fool I argue that it has to get radical and shift itself from its early formulas for success. For example, maybe it should totally drop brick and mortar as well as the B2C model.
So much of the employment advice for lawyers also is stuck back in yesterday. For example, are lawyers pushing to get associated with the networks for LegalZoom, which has been around for a while, and LawZam, which is just getting off the ground? Should more of them be figuring out how to get hired into a corporate legal department instead of chasing a law firm job as the goal? More departments are hiring newbie lawyers. For insight in how inhouse operates Mark Herrmann's book "Inside Straight" is a useful read. His twice-weekly column on Abovethelaw.com also deconstructs the dynamics of being on the client side.
The painful reality about the new marketplace realities is that every worker has to figure out, often daily, how to earn a living or, as with the caveman, to bring home dinner. When we look at how the big guys like Staples are struggling we get it that incremental change might just waste time and bring false hope.