Are you paying for the surgeon or the scalpel?
We all have knives at the house. Some of us even have surgical scalpels (or other very sharp instruments). Likewise, many of us have access to medical supplies. Why then do we not just perform surgery in our homes, especially in this world of “do-it-yourself” and with the common belief that with access to Google, we can gain necessary expertise in just about any desired subject? Why indeed. The answer, of course, is that for most of us, the idea of using knives, medical supplies, and even pharmaceuticals on our own, without proper guidance and supervision, is sheer stupidity. Yes, when dealing with the world of medicine, most of us recognize and value the knowledge, training, and expertise of the surgeon (and the MD generally). Most of us know that what we are paying for, at a very steep price in almost all instances, is this very knowledge, training, and expertise of the medical professional. We are paying for “know-how.” And yet, outside of the medical arena, far too many individuals seem to believe that Google can make them an expert in any field.
I recently saw a study which suggested that almost 60% of adults believe that they can gain the required expertise to accomplish just about anything with a little internet research. To clarify, the results of suggested that this group believed that Google would help them come to know just as much as the average professional in such fields as medicine, law, accounting, investing and the like. REALLY? If that were indeed true, you can understand why it would hurt my feelings and cause me to wonder why I spent so many years and dollars towards my JD..:) Thankfully, it is not true. Instead, this merely reflects a dangerous overconfidence that some people have adopted through their consumption of online information.
Let’s pause here and draw a distinction related to the surgeon and the scalpel. When it comes to medicine, WebMD and similar resources can enable anyone to learn about various medical terms, symptoms of the disease and suggested treatment of the same. Likewise, Amazon.com and an innumerable tally of other websites can provide access to just about any type of medical device and supply imaginable. But having the instruments, the medical terms and even instructions on how to use the same does NOT make any person a qualified and experienced surgeon. Among other things, a skilled surgeon has seen and been part of hundreds and hundreds of medical procedures and therefore knows from experience how to diagnose and treat medical conditions. The internet cannot supply this essential element of experience and “know-how.“
Similarly, even though you can download do-it-yourself legal forms and instructions on how to utilize such legal papers from the internet and even if you spend many hours reading legal publications, your new stack of internet papers and your legal vocabulary has done nothing to make you into a qualified legal professional. In the end, just as you are paying for the knowledge, training, and experience of the medical professional (when you go to your local MD), you are paying (or should be) paying for these very same things when you are dealing with an attorney.
The same is true when it comes to an accountant, an insurance broker, a financial advisor and other like professionals. As I often tell my clients, the papers are free! They are not paying for the paper, the binders or anything else that they can buy in Staples or Walmart. Instead, they are paying for knowledge and experience, the ability to listen, analyze and apply the law and my understanding of legal tools to their circumstance. As the internet continues to change all aspects of our lives and provide an even greater degree of information and raw data, along with access to papers, products and the like, our need for wise and experienced doctors, dentists, accountants, investment advisors, attorneys, mechanics, architects, appraisers, etc., etc., etc. will never change!
If you disagree, go ahead and watch a YouTube video on performing a root canal and have at it!!! ?