When I was articling in-house, a senior lawyer let me borrow a book that was described as eye-opening and scary. The book: Who Stole My Cheese? by Ilene Hochberg. It’s a bestseller and a nicely-written book. It’s very short and, given that it was a story about mice, looked more like something you’d give to a 7 year old. I read it in under an hour.
Here’s my synopsis:
The story basically describes 4 mice running around in a maze and looking for cheese. They happen to come across some wonderful cheese and dig in. When the cheese begins to run out, 2 of the 4 go off looking for more. They can tell that the cheese won’t be there for much longer and that it’s getting old and moldy. So they adapt to the situation and forge ahead, ultimately finding more cheese. The 2 other mice, however, get too comfortable when they find the cheese and don’t believe it will ever disappear. When the cheese runs out, they stay put, waiting for more cheese to appear. They think everything will be fine. They didn’t smell the rotten cheese on the wall, so to speak… The cheese runs out and they begin to starve. They’re scared to move. They’re paranoid and delusional. They don’t adapt. Eventually, one of those 2 mice leaves and finds more cheese and brings the other one over the ‘good side’.
The moral of the story is that we need to adapt to the changing circumstances around us and that our cheese (whatever it is) may not always be there and that we should go off running towards it when it’s time to do so.
This book, while great for some, didn’t phase me. It only reinforced what I’d already knew: adapt or starve. Never take for granted how to acquire more ‘cheese’.
Why mention this here in the DL Blog? For one simple reason: if traditional lawyers don’t adapt to the changing circumstances (i.e. the use of technology to reduce costs and offer more value added services), they too will start to wonder: who stole my cheese?