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07 Nov 2016

How Can Legal Professionals Drive Innovation? Expert Advice from our Community

During Legal Innovation & Tech Fest 2016, we hosted an interactive Q&A session with our community to understand their challenges and also share ideas for driving innovation. We were blown away by the responses we received and really impressed with the level of innovation that is already going on within law firms and in-house legal teams.

Here is an excerpt from the session where our Legal Innovation & Tech Fest community share their top pieces of advice for driving innovation.

“I would say just start. Start small, pick something that you think you can make a difference on in the near term, and give it a try. I think it’s dangerous to become paralysed by the analysis of what would be the best thing we could take on next, or what would be the most important thing, what would really move the needle. I think you can build momentum if you just pick something and just start.”

“One thing we try to do is speak to people in the induction process, so get them as soon as they walk in the door and try to find out what they’ve been doing that they thought was really good and get their ideas right at the beginning.”

“Work with people who are going to build energy with your innovation initiatives, not sap it. Sooner or later, particularly with lawyers, you can come to them with a bunch of case studies of things you’ve been able to do, and that’s when they’ll engage. So, really just run with the people that are wanting to support you.”

“One of the firms I work with do something called “stealth innovation”. They find one evangelist and they won’t let anyone else get involved in that particular innovation project, so they make it extremely exclusive. Their evangelist starts saying “Oh, you should see this really cool thing I’m doing” and others try to get involved but aren’t allowed to until they fully understand the project – and then it becomes an exclusive group that really helps move it forward. It’s quite an amazing process. It’s similar to what Apple do with their products – they have a limited quantity and when it’s run out everyone wants it. And then you get everyone involved and they just line up for that product.”

“In our firm we did something where we had a future group of partners who were preparing a partnership strategy and what they were coming up with was a bit boring. So we got some young lawyers to run a parallel process, a ‘future futures’ group and they actually came up with an amazing set of recommendations. When they presented them to the partners they were absolutely blown away.”

“Just get started in a very small way, and in a very measured way and see what eventuates. Worst case scenario it doesn’t quite work out and you can try something new. But there is a very good chance that it will work out and you’ll find to your own surprise, that it’s resounding success. There are a lot of legal start-ups out there, all of them are desperate to engage with in house teams and law firms. So my advice is if you see an interesting news article, or you see an interesting start-up, just give them a call and have a chat and they’re more than likely to let you try them out and just see how it goes.”

“My advice is get quick wins. Try to make small iterations to build people’s trust. Share your wins with your colleagues “Hey I just made this small change, this technology was evolved, we changed this process” and you’ll find they’ll continue to be innovative.”

“We talk to lawyers about things that are challenging in the firm, and ask clerks to hack them. They often come up with very innovative ways to solve the problem because they don’t have exposure to it day to day so they have the distance to see the bigger picture.”

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