20130317-222444.jpg I graduated from law school thirty one years ago in 1982.

Reading Daniel Pink’s latest book, “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” I was struck by just how much has changed — and is going to continue to change.

In 1982, there were 3.4 billion people in the world, and not a single mobile-phone subscriber. Today, there are seven billion people in the world—and six billion mobile cellular-phone subscriptions. Cisco predicts that by 2016 the world will have more smartphones (again, handheld mini-computers) than human beings—ten billion in all.

And much of the action will be outside of North America and Europe, powered by “youth oriented cultures in …the Middle East and Africa. When everyone, not just those in Tokyo and London but also those in Tianjin and Lagos, carries around their own storefront in their pocket—and is just a tap away from every other storefront on the planet—being an entrepreneur, for at least part of one’s livelihood.

Pink (@danielpink), a New York Times’ best selling author, shared this information to make at least a couple points.

One that buyers can buy products and services from across the world as well as readily discover information so as to make informed decisions when buying. And two, that entrepreneurs selling services and products may now sell to individuals and businesses across the world.

What’s all this change have to do with you and I has lawyers and entrepreneurs (know that many of you building a book of business as a lawyer I’d call an entrepreneur)?

The way we do business and sell our services is changing forever. As much as I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the delivery of legal services (hard work, word of mouth, relationships), a computer in everyone’s hand connecting them to lawyers, people they trust who can influence their choice of a lawyer, and alternatives to legal services is a game changer.

  • Lawyers, no matter how focused a niche they choose can not only now reach enough people looking for a lawyer who focuses on such a niche, but can also develop a strong word of mouth reputation on the niche.
  • Consumers of legal services anywhere can access information immediately to assess a lawyer, including information shared via social media and social networks.
  • Providers of alternative legal services have more competitive advantages in cutting into services provided by lawyers than they have ever had before. Lawyers best take the opportunities they have to network across the Internet to build relationships and grow their word of mouth reputation.

The biggest takeaway is to know that anything is possible. Anything.

When you’re apt to you tell someone, “That’s nuts, that’ll never happen,” you may want to be more open minded.

When you’re about to forgo the opportunity you now have to do the type of work you love doing for the type of clients you’d love to work for, think again. It’s possible for you as a practicing lawyer and me as the founder of a company.

I’d have been first in line in law school to say “no way” to having more pocket size computers than people in the world thirty less then two generations after I graduated.

Image courtesy of Flickr by anirvan.