I am often asked to describe the attributes of the Third Wave practice of law. In this regard, I have often struggled with possibly the right descriptions.
Sure it is easy to talk about features, to use a marketing phrase, but attributes are much different. After all, attributes, when you think about it, our objects held by saints. It is meant to be emblematic of what this type of practice is about. It is intended to describe the variable characteristics of the practice. Maybe it more abstract, but it is the philosophy, the attraction, the characteristic, the social science behind the practice.
So, I have thought about it over the years, and I have contemplated the question. And, what I have concluded is that more often than not the attribute that should be most associated with the Third Wave practice of law is modesty.
Look, I am not contending that the Third Wave is to the practice of law what the burqa by some Islamic nations. It is not intended to cloak the entire practice of law.
Modesty, after all, is measured against a society or group of people. In this case the traditional bar. In this day of huge firms, lavish offices, showboating, extravagances, slap actions, and overly zealous lawyers, it is not hard to appear modest.
But, modesty is the goal of the Third Wave practice measured against this standard. The Third Wave represents a type of reticence or a type of demureness, does it not? By its very nature, the Third Wave represents a deeper humility and simplicity than does the typical law practice.
Third Wavers do not, by their action and nature, subject themselves to peer pressure. They do not conform to the community standards of how most in the bar operate a law practice.
Think about it for a moment and you will see this is true. In an age where most attorneys want an audience for cars in which they commute, their offices meant to impress, their clothing intended to portray power and expense, the Third Wave more discourages non-essential exposure. You will not see a Third Wave attorney plastering themselves all over phone books and magazines, and blasting themselves into every home over TV and radio.
Third Wavers work from home or nondescript office environments. They soft sell and attract clients by personal, one-on-one, referral-based communications. They make court appearances over the phone when they can and do not need luxury cars to commute to and from work. They do not seek to lord over staff and employees. It is not about flash. Third Wavers are more about substance. Yes, we hang out on the web and in social media sites, but what we do is make ourselves available only for those who what to discuss or what to view. We are not carnival barkers, and do not rely typically on push technologies and intrusive media.
Further, when you analyze it, the Third Wave applies equally to lawyers based upon gender, race, height, hair, and whether one is skinny or fat. Because there is no hierarchy in terms of employment, there is no such restrictions or discrimination in the Third Wave practice.
The Third Wave is not exactly the fig leaf of the legal profession, but the Third Wave does not promote class-based exhibitionism either.
Like it or not, this is my thought on the subject.