Change Is The Price Of Survival

Gary Player is a world champion golfer. At the age of 29, he became the third golfer in the world to win all four major titles. He did it before Tiger Woods was born and he did it before Jack Nicklaus, the golfer who still holds the record for most major title wins (18), won all four major titles.  Gary Player was lifting weights and exercising and studying nutrition in the 1960s when the rule of thumb for golfers was that weights and exercise would damage a career, and nutrition was for nuts. That is why at over 80 years of age Gary Player looks and acts like he is in his 50’s, and starts his day with a thousand sit-ups and a hundred push-ups. 

On Gary Player’s website, he has a page called his Ten Commandments. The commandments are gems of philosophy integral to his success. The two I like most are #2: Everything in business is negotiable except quality, and #1: Change is the price of survival

In Miami, criminal defense lawyers for decades made a good living specializing in DUI defense. The police had economic incentives (lots of overtime) to make arrests, and the consequences of a DUI conviction made defense and litigation a valuable legal service people were willing to pay for. 

A few years ago the Miami State Attorney’s Office instituted a pre-trial diversion program for DUIs called “Back On Track“.

Suddenly, 90% of the DUI clients disappeared as there was no longer an economic incentive for most clients to pay for a quality DUI defense when a reduction of the charges could be guaranteed by enrolling in BOT. 

The criminal defense bar in Miami all had a fair warning it was coming, but many lawyers did nothing to prepare. Many small criminal defense law firms that depended on DUI cases closed. The firms failed because they ignored or didn’t know Gary Player’s first commandment: “Change is the price of survival.”

Change is the price of survival”  goes to the very heart of the problem of people saying “but that’s how we always did it.”  We always listened to music on records. Until CDs. And we always bought albums on CDs until iTunes. We’d always listened to music on regular radio until satellite commercial-free radio came along.  You can find the same examples in Netflix conquering Blockbuster Video, or in any number of instances. You just have to be open to look for the change.

In my law practice, in my business life, and in my personal life, I challenge myself each day to look at how I do things, and whether I am missing the change that is the necessary price to my survival and success. It’s a worthwhile and thoughtful endeavor. It’s one of the reasons I decided to write this blog after the internet SEO gurus told me no one would ever find me, my firm, or my website on the internet unless I started doing things like writing a blog. In other words, I had to change. 

There is one more may that incorporating “Change is the price of survival” into my practice that can help clients. I have tried over one hundred and twenty jury trials as lead counsel. Many of those cases had similar charges and similar facts. Changing and adapting defenses to the particulars of the case is crucial to a successful outcome. Even within a particular trial, when the case is not proceeding as the client and I envisioned, then change – at times- can often be the literal price of survival for my client. In other times, the experience to stay the course through the choppy waters on a particular day of a case that may last many months can also lead to success.

The over thirty years of trial experience that I bring to each case is what I rely upon in making the right decision, for each client, every time.

Thank you for reading.


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