Elephant Post: How Did "The Great Recession" Change the Way You Do Your Job?

(Image [cc] andrewb47)
After a solid week in hot and humid Philadelphia, it is great to be back in Houston where the weather is supposed to be hot and humid, plus we are all awaiting Tropical Storm Don's approach in the next few days. At least it is now Thursday and that means that it is Elephant Post day and only one more day until the weekend!!

This week's question focused on "The Great Recessions" affects on your job. Many of us could answer this with one sentence: "I have to do more, with less." However, there are other aspects of a huge downturn that cause changes in the way you do business that actually are good changes. For example, I know that many law firms gave lip-service to Knowledge Management projects that would improve the way we conduct business for our clients before the downturn, but actually implemented some of these processes once the clients demanded they do so or lose their business.

Thanks to those that contributed this week. The Elephant Post series works because it allows us to hear from our peers' perspectives and even from those that we might not hear otherwise. Toby Brown, Scott Preston and I gave a lunchtime presentation at the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section's Summit on the value that is brought from expanding your professional circles, and listening to the perspectives of others.
We're doing this again next week, and we are actually giving you a second change at the Brass Ring. We'd like for you to go through some of the old Elephant Posts and give your perspective on a question that you "almost answer!" So, after you read through this week's answers, scroll on down and answer that one question that still sticks in your mind. It will make all of us feel better when you do!!

Danny "The Kid" Johnson
Legal Technology

I work in the Cloud which is semi counter cyclical; thus, I've gotten busier during this recession. I don't think people are doing more with less but rather doing more with new tools, e.g. cloud technology. Wall Street is validating all of this by investing heavily in cloud and social startups.

Toby Brown

My job and duties changed dramatically as a result of the downturn since AFA job functions didn't really exist prior to that.  Additionally my job as an "AFA Guy" changes almost weekly.    Fortunately these changes all worked in my favor.  Before I was managing known projects using established technology.  Now I am being thrown new and interesting challenges everyday, scrambling for the right tools and resources - which is kind of fun.

Pat Orr
Law Firm Librarian

I've added accounts-payable wizard to my resume, because we lost our full time acquisitions clerk. We share a clerk with Professional Support, which is better than having to do all the invoice payment tasks.  Preparing and analyzing database use reports is something I do more frequently; monthly rather than quarterly.  I think these changes have become status quo; we've adapted.  I suspect there will be more to come.

Bail Bondsman in Las Vegas
Bail Bonds Agent

I'm still working as both a real estate agent and bail bondsman, but I can tell you for certain that I've changed my buying habits.  I nitpick every grocery store item (i.e. price per oz, etc.) and I put in extra hours at work to save for the "just in case" moments in this economically anemic environment.  I don't use credit in business or pleasure.  If it's not cash on hand or in the bank, I don't spend period.  I've had to be humbled somewhat in the past 4 years, so I'm going old school 1940's frugal up in here.

Corinne Tampas

Yes. I believe that this is actually a time of opportunity. In my case, I have made two big changes.   The first change concerns additional training in mediation and arbitration as courtrooms are being closed almost everywhere because of budget constraints. Civil matters will be pushed back even further and whether ADR is ordered or not, litigants are going to want to resolve disputes sooner rather than later. Moreover, it is more cost effective.  The second change concerns reading just about everything on LPM ever written. In a previous life, I was a building contractor (with an MBA), so I understand scheduling. The same principles can be used in litigation, especially in the discovery process. Frankly, I do not know where I am going with this, but it is going to be hot. I just know it.  Regardless, clients are changing what they expect from lawyers, they want more bang for the buck, and I want to help them get it.

Next Week's Elephant Post:
What Elephant Post Question Did You Almost Answer?
A week does not go by where I don't hear from someone that says "aww man, I almost answered last week's Elephant Post question." So, for those of you that have ever said this, here's your chance for redemption. Go skim a few of the old Elephant Post questions and find one (or three or four…) that you would like another chance to answer.

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