A recent survey of 154 companies found that more than one in four company lawyers cannot name a law firm they regard as innovative. In addition, only 15 percent viewed firms as innovating in the technology space. It’s no surprise that traditional law firms have been slow to adopt emerging technologies and drive innovation.
It comes down to comfort and resistance.
Comfort: Familiarity and comfort with “the way things have always been done around here”. This is also something that lawyers derive a sense of confidence, identity and self-worth from.
Resistance: Why change something that has been working for years? “Legal technology and business model innovation isn’t something we need to worry about.”
The legal services industry has been built on the foundations of processes, rules and most of all, precedents. This requires that one looks backwards to what came before, rather than forward. There’s no precedent for what’s coming. Processes and rules serve a purpose - to help people deliver on an existing, profitable and repeatable business model - but they don’t support speed and experimentation, - a key pillar underpinning innovation.
The way that legal services are delivered is fast changing due to advances in technology and business model innovation. This is resulting in a gradual shift towards affordable, standardised services and efficiencies in how law firms deliver services.
While it’s clear that traditional law firms need to move away from ‘old law’ and start to embrace the ‘new law’ rhetoric with action, not just words, in order to stay relevant and competitive, few firms are making sense of all the noise and responding in a meaningful way.
At Collective Campus we have been supporting law firms across the globe embark on their own innovation journeys, including the likes of Clifford Chance, Pinsent Masons, Maddocks, King & Wood Mallesons, Cornwall Stodart and Mills Oakley.
Leveraging our experience and knowledge from working with key players in the legal industry, the Collective Campus Legal Academy has been setup to deliver:
- Legal-centric design sprints and hackathons
Here are five examples of how we are currently driving innovation at law firms.
Earlier this year, magic circle law firm Clifford Chance announced the establishment of its own internal Tech Academy and partnered with Collective Campus to deliver digital awareness training across more than 15 offices globally in order to help its lawyers best navigate the tangled web presented by emerging technologies such as blockchain, machine learning, automation and legal technology. The key aim was to develop basic digital knowledge, skills and awareness required when working with clients, while understanding the changing landscape of the legal industry and the impact of technology.
Tim Sherwood, Director of the Clifford Chance Academy said 'the Digital Awareness sessions really moved us forward in our collective understanding of key trends. The courses were open to everyone irrespective of seniority or role, a tactic that worked well in the interactive pieces and led to greater richness in the insights gained. The only entry criterion was the need to better understand some mysterious concepts and technologies!'
Click here to find out how you can start upskilling your law firm on emerging technologies impacting the legal industry.
The Mills Oakley Accelerator was established by Mills Oakley in partnership with Collective Campus to fund and accelerate the development of legal services innovations, providing Mills Oakley with an equity stake in a portfolio of emerging legal startups.
Mills Oakley realised that legal services is changing fast. As such, it turned to Collective Campus to help it explore new value adding business models and technologies in legal services and align its brand with that of a progressive, innovative law firm. Collective Campus put together the Mills Oakley legal startup accelerator program, a $500,000 program geared towards exploring and commercialising legal services innovation. Collective Campus was primarily responsible with managing the design and delivery, including marketing, startup recruitment, workshop facilitation and startup mentorship.
The accelerator gave Mills Oakley a stake in a diverse portfolio of legal services startups and exposure to cutting edge innovations so that it can best determine its investment decisions going forward as it navigates what is a quickly evolving legal landscape, one which is moving from old law to new law.
The Mills Oakley accelerator:
Click here to find out how you can start to connect with, learn from and invest in legal tech startups disrupting your industry.
Michele R. Pistone and Michael B. Horn hit the nail on the head with their description of the future lawyer in their paper titled Disrupting Law School, “The classic image of a lawyer is one whose expertise was based on prior knowledge and experience, plus what he or she could learn from researching books in a law library. increasingly, a lawyer’s expertise will be based on prior knowledge and experience plus what the lawyer can train a computer to do.”
King & Wood Mallesons sought to teach its lawyers the fundamental of code in order to give them an appreciation for digital, move them closer to being able to code smart contracts on the blockchain and having better conversations and building better relationships with technology industry clients.
Collective Campus designed a custom blended learning front-end web development course, complete with face-to-face physical classes paired with live-streams and complementary online content, videos and quizzes.
Students developed an understanding of the fundamentals of front-end web development and computer logic to get them to better appreciate technology infrastructure and support conversations and relationship development with technology industry prospects and clients.
Click here to find out how your law firm can start to upskill lawyers in the basics of coding.
It is common for lawyers to feel obligated to make perfect solutions from the very beginning. But given we live in a world driven by ever-changing needs of end users, does this approach still make sense? A recent study by Deloitte highlighted that approximately 114,000 jobs in the legal sector are likely to be automated within the next 20 years. The tipping point (intersection between automation, changing expectations and the rise of millennials) is predicted to occur as early as 2020.
In his book The End Of Lawyers, Richard Susskind predicts that “lawyers who are unwilling to change their working practices and extend their range of services will, in the coming decade, struggle to survive… a lawyer involved in routine work can expect to be replaced by a cheaper alternative.”
There will be a significant transformation in the typical skill set of the future lawyer, with creativity being a necessary skill. Although the legal industry is not known for creative problem solving, law firms face the same challenges when it comes to disruption as other organisations.
To drive creativity amongst its lawyers, Pinsent Masons wanted to introduce a Design Thinking mindset to problem solving in the context of legal services. They engaged Collective Campus to upskill lawyers across Pinsent Masons and members of one of their major clients in Design Thinking, including the tools required to apply it in their day to day roles.
Collective Campus delivered training for the team to help them:
- Understand the importance of creative problem solving in the legal industry
- Understand how to apply Design Thinking to improve the way they work together
- Understand how organisations have successfully applied Design Thinking to drive innovation
- Understand the Design Thinking methodology and application of the different tools and techniques at each stage of the process
- Understand how to pitch learnings/findings from design thinking to leaders to gain buy-in
The team gained a deep understanding of the value in applying Design Thinking to problems in the legal industry. Further benefits for lawyers at Pinsent Masons and their client that attended the session included:
- Ability to identify opportunities where they normally wouldn't (both internally and for clients)
- In this era of rapid disruption, become more relevant in the legal industry
- Learning how to apply a proven methodology to help drive innovation and solve real problems
Click here to upskill employees at your law firm on Design Thinking, the human centred approach to solving real problems.
Large organisations have been built to deliver a repeatable, scaleable business model. Unfortunately, this means they're not designed to effectively discover new business models. As such, executives are often blind to the fact that their processes, policies, systems and values keep the ship moving forward but don't help it change direction.
Understanding what your organisation's blockers are is key to building a ship that can adapt to changing conditions and keep it afloat.
Cornwall Stodart, one of Melbourne's most established legal practices, was looking to transform its brand and culture. Part of this involved building a culture that supports innovation and digital literacy. With so many potential initiatives to explore in the innovation space, knowing where to start and what will add genuine value is a challenge for most traditional organisations looking to drive change.
Collective Campus performed an innovation assessment to form an opinion of the resources, processes, values and systems in place at Cornwall Stodart and identify cultural enablers and blockers for remediation. This involved speaking to employees across vertical and horizontal lines as well as inspecting key documentation from across the organisation.
The team at Cornwall Stodart received an innovation assessment report that prioritised recommendations across resources, values, processes and systems so that they could make informed decisions about where to invest time and financial resources to drive culture change for innovation
Click here if you would like to build a workplace and culture at your law firm that truly supports innovation.
The legal industry is currently in the midst of a transformation. Emerging technologies are being applied by progressive law firms and legal startups alike to perform legal research, make data-driven decisions, manage IP, generate and deliver legal documents, compose, review and enforce contracts and help firms better manage their practices.
The lower barriers to entry brought about by ubiquitous, fast internet access and cloud computing has opened the door to various forms of business model innovations that legal startups are pouncing on, including lawyer marketplaces, legal document repositories and online self-service tools.
Law firms have long held a monopoly when it comes to providing legal services but changes in technology and just as importantly, client expectations, are transforming both the consumption and practice of law. It is great to see progressive law firms view this disruption as an opportunity and investing in driving both internal and external innovation. Richard Susskind puts everything into context, “I think if you are a conventional lawyer and you’re not prepared to adapt to the 2020’s you’ll struggle to survive, but if you are entrepreneurial and enthusiastic, forward looking, open minded, then there’s probably never been a more exciting time to be in the law.”
Law firms wanting to learn more about the CC Legal Academy can do so by visiting www.collectivecampus.io/legal-services
This report draws on our work driving change at large companies as well as from thought leadership in the space of not just management literature, but also evolutionary biology, psychology and sociology, because in order to see things clearly and influence human behaviour, we need to think holistically.