Law Firm of the Future

The Legal Tech Advantage

…defending yesterday — that is, not innovating — is far more risky than making tomorrow. — Drucker

The Importance of Innovativeness

Highly effective leaders are perpetual learners. What’s more, they recognize in managing risk for their organizations, being reactively adapting, instead of proactively innovating, is the highest risk posture. Being disrupted out of business has a higher probability today than ever before because of the acceleration of digital transformation. Moore’s Law as it pertained to the semiconductor industry held that the speed and capability of our computers would double every two years while we will pay less for them. (Yeah, I get a new mobile phone every couple years — but pay less? — never mind that) The semi-log plot below bears out Moore’s prediction for computer power.

(Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie — https://ourworldindata.org/uploads/2020/11/Transistor-Count-over-time.png, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98219918)

Lawyers Leading Change

Computing power today is galactic in magnitude, with quantum computers coming up on the horizon, and it is that computing power which fuels the explosion we are seeing today in digital transformation in all facets of life. In the face of this rapid change, leaders would do well to be proactively innovating. This means not waiting for the external environment to force change to happen but to sense the needs in advance and proactively put in place innovations that address the needs which are being signaled.

Law firms are not sheltered from this challenge. New tools are available and being adopted rapidly for Legal Tech. Those firms who put the technology in place will have a distinctive competence which the market will value. It will give them a competitive edge. An important key to success is to check under the hood first to assess readiness. Is the firm’s information infrastructure in a high state of readiness? I mean a readiness state such that successful pilot projects for technology initiatives will not fail to scale up because the data ecosystem across the firm has major weaknesses. We talk about this more in our other InCite LegalTech blog articles, so check those out if you want to know more.

Harvard Business School’s John P. Kotter wrote a landmark book years ago, Leading Change, which contains enduring principles for leaders who want to move their organizations to higher levels of excellence. In it he describes eight common errors to avoid as follows:

  1. Allowing too much complacency
  2. Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition
  3. Underestimating the power of vision
  4. Under-communicating the vision by a factor of 10 (or 100, or even 1000)
  5. Permitting obstacles to block the new vision
  6. Failing to create short-term wins
  7. Declaring victory too soon
  8. Neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture

(John P. Kotter, Leading Change, Harvard Business School Press)

To that, for Legal Tech, I would add not assessing AI Readiness.

I highly recommend Kotter’s book to legal professionals who lead their firms, especially those charged with pursuing Legal Tech. Kotter skillfully and succinctly summarizes how smart leaders address all eight of the challenges listed above.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Abraham Lincoln

“They can because they think they can .”— Virgil

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Bill Bispeck

Bill Bispeck

COO InCite LegalTech and Co-Host of The “Don’t Suck at AI” Podcast | Leadership in Digital Transformation