Lots of people all too willing to pronounce Covid-inspired increase in remote work means offices are dead. We’re all going to be working remotely now nearly all the time now, or at least have the option to do so, right?

Ian Bogost does not agree. Here’s the money quote from his article in The Atlantic:

 Indeed, it’s possible, or even likely, that my employer—and yours—could help their workers and the bottom line, simply by allowing us to work from home or come in on a hybrid plan. Remote, flexible employment might be a win for everyone.

But actually, it isn’t. A rational assessment of your time and productivity was never quite at issue, and I think it never will be. Companies have been pulling employees back to work in person irrespective of anyone’s well-being or efficiency. That’s because return-to-office plans are not concerned, in any fundamental way, with workers and their plight or preferences. Rather they serve as affirmations of a superseding value—one that spans every industry of knowledge work. If your boss is nudging you to come back to your cubicle, the policy has less to do with one specific firm than with the whole firmament of office life: the Office, as an institution. The Office must endure! To the office we must go.

This should be obvious, but somehow it is not: The existence of an office is the central premise of office work, and nothing—not even a pandemic—will make it go away.

This is similar to what I have been saying for some time. Many people will be working remotely than in the past, but offices–and the desirability and possible necessity for physical presence in the workplace–are most likely not going to disappear anytime soon, if ever. Most of those who believe otherwise are probably engaged in wishful thinking.

One further point:

At a minimum, those willing to return to work in the office without having to be dragged into doing so will have a competitive advantage over less flexible workers.

Photo by Ivan Samkov, via Pexels.com.

What is the most important thing investors should know about the topic de jour, non-fungible tokens?
That they are most likely to be the next illustration of the greater fool theory.
We agree with
Dennis Kennedy:

NFTs seem to be making a lot of money and there is a tremendous sense of FOMO, the fear of missing out around them. And they’re also so hot that we’re just now starting to get the thing of that where people saying they’re overhyped and they have nowhere to go but down. And so, we’ve longtime listeners that will recognize the classic Gartner hype cycle in effect there. So, we’re definitely in one of those top levels of the hype cycle right now so which it was where it becomes important to really understand what’s going on and to start to sift through what is, let me call somewhat ironically here, what is real and what is not real and what we need to pay attention to and what’s going to last.

What do lawyers need to know about NFTs? Loads and loads, since their use implicates legal concerns from estate planning to intellectual property to investment rules and crimes. There will always be a greater fool who is anxious to litigate.

The Kennedy Mighell podcast undertakes to provide an intro to NFTs for lawyers.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Q & A Graphic
Answering Difficult Questions

The first entry in my Presenter’s Guide Series dealt with answering audience questions. The second article, dealing with on how presenters should handle difficulty questions, is now available at LLRX.com.

The next two in the series will deal with:

  1. How presenters can help themselves by controlling the flow of questions, and
  2. How prestenters can advance their objectives by asking the audience questions.

Very pleased to see that my first book has increased in value. The 1999 version cost $40. A new copy of it now sells for $62.98. Better hurry, they have only two new copies left!

I can only hope my next book has the same longevity.

Own The Map Book Cover
Own the Map

An article in this month’s ABA Journal entitled Customers are relying on web searches, but some lawyers aren’t prioritizing SEO and social media marketing (ABA members only) provides more evidence that the legal profession is generally not on the cutting edge of technology:

Seth Price, a founding partner of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers in Washington, D.C., says many law firms don’t use SEO or social media because they’re stuck in an older mindset when it comes to marketing, and they don’t believe that change is necessary.

“As a result, they think there is no need for other forms of marketing because what they’re doing has worked well enough so far,” Price says. “But newer law firms are recognizing the gaps when it comes to digital marketing, and this is allowing them to grow quickly and therefore secure a more competitive position within the industry.”

Conrad Saam‘s Own the Map remains the single best resource for easing lawyers into sophisticated use of SEO. Our review of this excellent book is available.

Here is the complete text of the Preface to Jerry Lawson’s upcoming book Knowledge Management for Lawyers: Building a Culture of Success, scheduled for publication in April 2022. It was originally published at LLRX.com and reprinted at The Impact Lawyers.

I first learned about the joy of efficiency from my high school Geometry teacher, Miss Freida Riley. On submitting a proof for her approval, her usual reaction would be: “It’s OK. Can you do better?” What she meant was make it simpler, more streamlined, more efficient.

If more work resulted in better insights, I might hear words like: “That’s good, Jerry. That’s what we are looking for.” 

Miss Riley prized efficiency, what mathematicians call “elegance.” She showed me what poet Edna St. Vincent had in mind when she wrote “Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.”

Valedictorian of her high school and college classes, Frieda Riley could have been a star teacher at virtually any school in the country. She chose to teach in McDowell County, the heart of the West Virginia coal fields. It was the poorest county in the poorest state in the nation. The poverty in McDowell County is so deep and so persistent that the New York Times used the county in an article portraying it as the poster child of poverty in the United States.

Miss Riley blessed her students with better ways of thinking and approaching problems. She opened the door to new worlds, new possibilities.

Frieda Riley died of Hodgkin’s Disease at age 31. Today she is honored in the National Museum of Education, but her most important legacy is the countless students she inspired–and equipped–to meet challenges. Continue Reading KM Book Preface: Freida Riley

Many lawyers, possibly to help preserve their peace of mind, tend to underestimate the potential impact of AI on their practices. Professors Elizabeth C. Tippett and Charlotte Alexander have a key insight in their article Robots Are Coming for the Lawyers:

Imagine what a lawyer does on a given day: researching cases, drafting briefs, advising clients. While technology has been nibbling around the edges of the legal profession for some time, it’s hard to imagine those complex tasks being done by a robot.

But, as we discovered in a recent research collaboration to analyze legal briefs using a branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, lawyers’ jobs are a lot less safe than we thought. It turns out that you don’t need to completely automate a job to fundamentally change it. All you need to do is automate part of it.