Over the years, I’ve posted in this space a couple of diatribes about the wisdom– or really, lack thereof– in a strict DIY (do-it-yourself) mentality in the practice of law. See here and here if you’re interested. Yes, I have a pecuniary interest, but I contend that a DIY approach to the Hague Service Convention can have disastrous results for a litigator, just as DIY investigations and DIY translations can. I stick to my guns on that, but was reminded today of another reason not to keep hold of every little piece of the litigation puzzle. Just give yourself a break, counsel. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.

I serve on the Community Mission Board of my local YMCA. This afternoon we had a meeting of all the Y boards across Kansas City and its environs, and the Executive Director asked how many of us had used GPS to get to the meeting. Most of the hands in the room went up, so he asked how many of us already knew where we were going, and used GPS anyway. Just about all the hands stayed up. He rhetorically asked why, and offered a simple explanation: it’s easy. It let us concentrate on other things, like making sure we didn’t rear-end the Nissan Altima in front of us (it was rainy, so…). What a great analogy to use when asking donors to sign up for auto-draft contributions.

That prompted a little self-analysis… I’m one of those who uses sat-nav even when I know where I’m going just so I don’t have to think about it. Like many of my fellow lawyers, I frequently have thought fatigue— a term I either made up on the spot (a variant of decision fatigue, which is different) or I heard it somewhere else, can’t remember, and I am thus unable to properly attribute credit.

Now, I’m a MAP NERD. Navigating is a fun game, especially in foreign countries where planning is critical. I love pondering alternative routes to wherever I’m going, and I frequently override Google when she (Google is a she on my phone, and she has a beautiful English accent, almost like a stern schoolteacher) gives directions. She’s awfully grouchy, but sometimes, I just have to let her into my heart.

It’s the same with certain aspects of litigation. Many pieces of the puzzle can and should be handed off to somebody else. Lawyers can’t expect to handle every single aspect of a case or we’ll drive ourselves nuts.

Outsource it. Then you can start to make it better.

[Just let the video play. You know you’ll be singing by the end of it.]