6 Easy Steps to Seed Innovation in Your Legal Department.
Plenty has already been written and plenty more remains to be said regarding innovation in legal services; together with increasing pressure for lawyers to emulate their business colleagues and ‘be more innovative’. Remarkable advancements in legal service innovation, driven primarily by technology, are reshaping the industry at an accelerating pace. But as GCs are now constantly challenged to do more with less and find new solutions to old problems (never mind the new problems), we need to ask; “Are there things that we can do ourselves to foster innovation in the legal sector, rather than simply looking in the direction of technologists?”
We believe that the answer is an unqualified ‘yes’. Innovation Officers (if you have one) and technologists do not have a monopoly on innovation (and if they do, that’s a whole other problem). Every single one of us as working lawyers can innovate and if you know where to start looking, the opportunities are not hard to spot. Identifying areas where you can innovate in legal services does not have to be a ‘Eureka’ moment nor a large, ground-breaking project; particularly if you are starting out, making incremental adjustments and improvements can have a significant compounding effect.
This should always be front of mind. It is this focus that is the driver of innovation in business teams and the most successful at it have a relentless hunger to find ways to improve the product or service they provide. Innovation in the legal services should be approached with the same attitude. Start with basic questions - the answers to which will enable you to serve your business partners better and create greater value for them. Do they want faster contracting processes? Do business colleagues want to be able to self-serve more often? Do they find interactions with the legal team slow or inconsistent? If you don’t already know the answers to these, you should ask. Find out what else they need from your team and what changes they would like to see.
Bring new talent into your team to stir up innovation.
In some cases, your team might really benefit from fresh faces or the input of non-lawyers, as they can help you to look at things from an “outsider’s perspective” and provide ideas for innovation. This can be as simple as bringing in new or specialised talent, even if just on a temporary basis. There is a world of options now to be able to do this.
Sep 26, 2023
Eleanor Lightbody is Chief Executive Officer at Luminance. She is a former Director at world-leading cyber AI company, Darktrace, where she founded and grew the company’s operations in Africa before..