In today's world, individual talent brings with it power that simply did not exist before technology brought the consumer and the worker together in a common connection. In yesterday's world, men with power owned companies who owned individuals with talent. Often times, the men with power had no talent themselves except their ability to accumulate power. The individuals with talent brought a particular skill to bear, but often had no business ability or access to enough money to connect their skills directly to the end user. The individual was forced to work for the company in order to obtain some small semblance of compensation for the talents they brought to bear. Companies existed to accumulate talent, provide infrastructure, and market services or products to the end user.
It always struck me growing up how the people at the top of the corporate hierarchy often seemed to have the least talent, the least aptitude and the least skill. I remember thinking growing up how easy it must be to achieve success simply looking around at my father's friends who were wealthy and successful, the business elite. After moving into a wealthy neighborhood it struck me that the most wealthy kids were those of the business owners and yet the business owning parents of those wealthy kids were often times drunks or suffered from some other insufferable insecurity.
As I grew older, and entered the corporate world, I saw tremendous talent within the workforce, however those workers were often at the bottom of the food chain and were paid the least.
I wonder what the power brokers will do once the hierarchical structure of corporate American breaks down under it's own weight and collapses inward? I wonder what those men who are so good at wielding and accumulating power once there is no value in such activity?
I challenge anyone out there to tell me what value is provided by being a firm of 1000 persons as opposed to an individual who is the most talented at what they do. The hierarchical structure of law firms growing exponentially larger as they attempt to add more worker bees at the base certainly adds imperpetuity to its ability to bill hours to the client. But, is the hierarchical structure somehow better at providing value to the client? Has any law firm ever cared about whether or not the pyramid structure is capable of delivering quality?
Of course, anyone who is being honest will admit that the pyramid structure of law firms was built on a single premise, the innate need to add more hours at the bottom of the structure each calendar year. The pyramid structure is built to drive more hours and could care less about quality. That is not to say that some large firms have not devoted time and resources to hiring the best. That is not to say that large law firms have completely ignored the quality proposition of the business model. But issues of quality and efficiency have, by no reasonable estimation, been the driving force of growth. Quality and efficiency have been talked about to some extent because, well, it is important to give lip service to such notions when you are a silk stocking entity.
I am confident that I will see the demise of the great pyramids that big law has built at the dying end of the industrial age.
Rise up you individual workers of talent. You no longer need to subscribe to the fallacy that you need the corporate structure in order to provide value, quality and efficiency to clients. The industrial age has already passed. When will you notice?