Law schools teach lawyers how to come up with creative arguments when representing their clients. However, they rarely teach lawyers how to collaborate and innovate to improve the practice of law, or to improve their work environment. Innovation can help foster new ideas on how to improve work-life balance, how to work less and bill more, how to market the law firm and how to improve client satisfaction. New ideas benefit both lawyers and their clients alike.
Here are 5 ways that lawyers and law firms can increase innovation in law firms:
Set Firm-Wide Goals & Share Them With Everyone
If you share your overall firm goals with the entire team, including staff, everyone becomes a part of the equation and can see the impact their work makes to the overall goal. They can see the value of their contribution and will be more inclined to innovate and contribute to its overall success.
According to Dr. Bastiaan Heemsbergen, Organizational Psychologist at Queens University in Canada, transparency is the recipe for innovation. If you have a transparent company, the ideas and innovation will flow.
Have 15-Minute Stand-Up Meetings Every Morning
Outsiders to the legal profession tend to believe that you as a lawyer are measured primarily by your ability to perform in court. Anybody who’s ever worked within the industry, however, realizes that your success depends just as heavily (if not more) upon your written presence. Indeed, the documents you compose should serve as your central channel for bolstering your value - both internally (within your firm and court system) and externally (to your clients). Legal documents are not simply vehicles for your thoughts and ideas; they are weapons of tremendous impact that directly affect your odds of winning a case, swaying a potential client, or becoming partner at your firm.
You probably know someone who has a “virtual office” or works remotely from time to time. While many sectors and industries have made remote work possible and even profitable, law firm infrastructure makes it difficult to implement remote collaboration in a legal setting. For years, even being able to access documents and case files from outside the office has been a challenge for many firms. Luckily, new and emerging legal software systems have thwarted this issue, making it not only possible, but easy to collaborate with your associates, staff and partners - no matter where you are.
Across industries, career advancement is dependent not only upon merit, but upon “who you know” - and the power of network influence is growing steadily as more opportunities for connectivity emerge. The legal profession is far from an exception; as many brilliant, hard-working, yet overlooked attorneys can confirm, navigating through the legal industry is difficult when you lack the proper channels. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start building a strong network - and, thanks to these five developing avenues, it’s easier now than it’s ever been before.