|How Clients View Innovation in Legal Services (George Beaton)
||Results of a late 2017 survey from corporate clients of Australia’s largest law firms.
When asked ‘What makes law firms innovative’ only 15% gave answers related to any kind of technology.
To beaton, this is not unsurprising; in the office towers of Australia, in-house lawyers grapple daily with many more things where innovations, other than technology, would make a big difference to getting work done in a better, faster and cheaper way.
Startlingly, more than one in four of all respondents replied ‘Nothing’ when asked whether they could name any law firm they would regard as innovative.
To many, innovation in legal service delivery is synonymous with the increased use of legal tech. Firms that are implementing legal tech may see themselves as innovative simply by having purchased off-the-shelf technology.
And while some clients may perceive firms that use legal tech as innovative (which says something about how low the bar is), the survey results demonstrate that most clients are focused on things other than legal tech. Firms that focus solely on legal tech – and ignore process improvement, billing structures and data – run the risk of thinking they are doing enough to prove to their clients that they are innovating. The fact that 1 in 4 respondents indicated that they couldn’t name an innovative law firm says something about how the innovation efforts of law firms have been perceived to date.
|Technology: Law’s Collaborative Catalyst (Mark Cohen)
||How technology is changing the legal profession.
Technology is transforming law from a sole-source, clubby, homogenous, tradition bound, pedigree-centric, labor-intensive parochial guild into something entirely different...
Technology is the nucleating force of a new legal culture that is transparent, collaborative, diverse, cross-border, data-driven, problem solving, tech and process centric, diverse, inter-disciplinary, merit-centric, flat, pedigree-agnostic and innovative. This is replacing the incumbent legal culture that is parochial, fragmented, labor-intensive, lawyer-centric, risk and change-averse one that was designed, regulated, and dominated by lawyers for their own benefit.
In yet another excellent article for Forbes, Mark Cohen discusses the impact that technology is having on the legal profession. Of course, Mark is not saying that purchasing a legal tech product and implementing it at a law firm is going to radically change the legal profession. Rather, as Mark notes, a new legal culture is emerging that cares about data-driven solutions and focuses on using technology and process to innovate.
This culture was evident at the Global Legal Hackathon (which I attended last weekend in Toronto, and which Mark mentions), as well as at the Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson (at which I am currently based, and which Mark also mentions).
But, as Mark notes, with technology becoming more abundant, it’s even more important that lawyers hone their emotional intelligence skills to become trusted advisors. Great lawyers will leverage technology, but they also need to be great communicators who build trust and confidence with their clients.