Building a Culture of Innovation in Legal Services
What does innovation look like for a traditional industry such as law?
“Building a Culture of Innovation in Legal Services” (Ark Publishing 7/2015) by Adam Billing & Abigail Hunt, examines the unique environment in which law firms operate, and innovate. As the pace of change accelerates in legal services, so does the imperative to innovate in a more consistent and systemic way. This means going beyond innovating solely in response to a client demand or regulatory change, to making innovation part of the law firm’s DNA – creating an innovation culture. Some law firms are incorporating elements of design thinking as a foundation for this culture of innovation, but the barriers to change characteristic of the sector present a significant challenge for those firm leaders that recognise the role innovation needs to play in the firm’s future growth and profitability. “Building a Culture of Innovation in Legal Services” looks at specific steps leaders can take to start laying the groundwork.
“Building a Culture of Innovation in Legal Services”
– By Adam Billing & Abigail Hunt
The innovation imperative
The trends that are driving change in the legal sector are well known: clients demanding more for less, the billable hour under fire, shifting workforce demographics, the growing need for global reach.
These trends are all exacerbated by new technologies that enable, among other things, greater legal process outsourcing, e-discovery, and virtual working. All of these factors, combined with new client needs and regulatory changes, create an environment ripe for disruption in terms of how legal services are delivered, what those services might include, as well as who is delivering them.
At the present time, the greatest impetus for change in legal services is coming from in-house legal teams. These teams are under pressure to deliver both more and different strategic value to their own changing businesses. Des Woods, chairman and a founding partner of the Møller PSF Group at Cambridge University, said ‘Clients complain constantly that their legal suppliers are behind the game in terms of innovating around service delivery and pricing. Their view is that most innovation is in the in-house lawyer community, as they face direct budget pressure from their boards. Having said that, the market has definitely woken up and many, but not all, firm leaders are gearing up for major change.’
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