In a new white paper released by Thomson Reuters, author Gabriel Teninbaum of Suffolk University Law School offers 11 principles to encourage law firm innovation.
Law firms need to uncover the best ways to manage changes that make them more effective and efficient at serving their clients, the author contends, and offers his ideas with the idea that “an organization will benefit from doing some of them, even if it is not immediately willing to do all of them.”
However, Teninbaum cautions, his bias is toward action — all the principles require doing something.
The 11 principles offered by the author range greatly, and touch on crucial issues for law firms such as creating the right incentives to spur positive behavior, when to collaborate, and how to encourage design thinking and project management. “There is no specific moment a law firm becomes innovative,” Teninbaum says. “Though it has to be remembered that innovation is not a state of being — it’s a process of turning new ideas into solutions.”
STAFF TECH EXPERTS
Firms need people who are adept enough to use new technologies, not just talk about them. This means something more than keeping lawyers around who are generally interested in technology: it means hiring people with training in data analytics, Lean Six Sigma, coding, and so on. Existing staff can also be trained. Consider librarians, whose work is changing from that of research oracles to knowledge specialists. Their role can (at least in part) be repurposed to be trainers and users of tech/innovation tools and methods.
When Littler Mendelsohn wanted to set themselves apart, they hired Zev Eigen, a Ph.D. with an expertise in data analytics. Eigen then helped to launch the Littler Big Data Initiative. This project provides the firm’s clients with HR predictive analytics, a data pipeline service, damages assessment, and more.
- TELL THE WORLD ABOUT YOUR INNOVATIONS
Clients will not hire a firm based on its reputation as a forward-looking, creative, technology-embracing law firm if they don’t know that the firm is doing all of those things. Tell them about what you’re doing. It’ll be a marketing boon; plus, being innovative may well be a self-fulfilling prophecy … so make it known that it’s an aspect of your identity.
Marketing innovation gives the legal marketing/sales team a new opportunity to connect with potential clients. For some clients, hiring a forward-leaning firm will be an attractive opportunity.