This process is slow. This process is labor intensive. And I love it! Yes, it marks me as a full-fledged coffee snob. And most other people don’t even like my coffee, which makes it all the better. You can argue until you are blue in the face that this ritual is a waste of time, that I would be much more productive if I threw a couple of scoops of store ground coffee into an automatic drip maker and set the timer to wake me up on Saturday morning. And while intellectually I understand the words you are saying, I can’t imagine ever giving up my mill and drip filter. Because it’s not really about the coffee, it’s about the process. The addiction is to the anticipation of the reward as much as it is to the reward itself.
I bring this up because in IT we often make excuses for why attorneys are so averse to changing their process. “They’re stodgy and set in their ways.” “They’re luddites who would rather do it the long way, than use the more productive technology.” “They just don’t want to learn anything new.” There are undoubtedly attorneys who fit those descriptions, but I wonder if we’ve been thinking about it the wrong way around. It’s not that they’re stuck in their habits, it’s that they really like the way they do things. And I don’t just mean, they’re comfortable doing it the way they always have, but maybe they actually derive pleasure from the process of practicing law. When I waltz in with a great new product that I think will make their life so much easier, they hear “I’m going to destroy your process” and they react just as I would if you said, “I’m giving you a brand new single cup coffee machine for home!” I don’t want a push button solution for my Saturday morning coffee, but a more efficient hand mill, a better quality filter, or a high performance kettle might be a welcome addition to my current process, making me more efficient without destroying the ritual that I have evolved over years of practice.
Maybe what I’m suggesting is just a semantically different way of looking at the issue. And maybe all attorneys got their JDs to please their overbearing mothers, actually loathe the practice of law, and secretly long to be baristas. But as I’ve seen one attorney after another reject terrific new products that I feel would greatly enhance their practice with minimal disruption to their process, I reflect on my Saturday morning coffee ritual. What seems a “minimal disruption” to someone who doesn’t fully understand my process, might be an unconscionable alteration of the ritual to me.
On the other hand, if I go into a coffee shop and it takes them 25 minutes to get me a cup of coffee, and they charge me $50 because their process was labor intensive. I don’t care how good the coffee is, I will probably not return to that store anytime soon.
Just thinking out loud.