The racing line is the optimum line to take through a bend on a race track.
If I am facing a right hand bend then I will position myself to enter it from the left hand side of the track. I drift across to the right of the track as I am turning, with a view to clipping the right hand kerb at what is called the apex of the bend. I then allow myself to drift back out towards the left hand kerb, accelerating rapidly as the bend straightens out.
The result is that I have “Straightened to the bend” allowing my firm to preserve fuel, minimise tyre and brake wear and maintain momentum.
That is all well and good with a single bend. We emerge from the bend and resume our efforts back on the next straight stretch, business as usual.
The problem arises when we adopt the same strategy without realising that there is not one bend, but two, the first to the right, as above, the second to the left.
If we do not realise the situation then we are wrongly positioned as we reach the second bend.
We are too close to the left hand kerb. We are wrongly positioned. It becomes impossible to straighten the bend as we did with curve #1.
Our momentum and driving line will lead us to slam into the right hand wall, or need to take dramatic action to slam on the brakes and limp around the next bend.
This is how I see the current challenges facing the law sector.
The first bend was the recession. Get into position, downsize, reduce hours and wait for straight, wait for the recovery and carry on as you were.
But then we realise too late that there is another immediate curve – The changed market place. There is no straight, there is no immediate reacceleration. Instead, for many firms, there will be an awful realisation that they have not anticipated the changes in the track ahead as they hit the chicane wall or take other evasive action.