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The Lean Law Firm

 Maximizing value and minimizing blog at a time.

Entries in Innovation (8)


What's the Key to Excellence? Performance. Profitability. Innovation.

I wrote last fall about innovation in the legal industry—about how there's a lot of talk and little action. Since then, I feel like we've reached a tipping point. Every day I read about law firms using artificial intelligence, adopting legal project management, or hiring pricing specialists, attorneys managing workflows on Kanban boards or mapping legal processes.

It's all great. It's exciting. It's progress.

But is it enough?

Can any of those changes, alone, deliver the value clients want and the performance lawyers need?

The Altman Weil 2016 Law Firms in Transition survey makes it very clear: today's legal market demands a new approach.

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Change is hard. What if you could practice first?

This isn't another piece about how you’ve got to change if you’re going to survive. If you don’t accept the need for change, or if you aren’t interested in learning how you can manage any kind of change better, then click here. (And good luck!)

If you're still with me, great, because organizations that excel at change can respond quickly to opportunities or threats, and align people around new ways of doing things. Those that master it build resilience and an enduring competitive advantage. But successful change requires buy-in, and creating buy-in is difficult work. If you get it wrong the first time, it's really hard to get the support you need to try again. What if you could practice change? Well, now you can. And we can help you.

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If innovation's such a hot topic, where are all the innovators?

This week I was a speaker at the American Bar Association Section of International Law fall meeting in lovely Montreal (full disclosure: I live there).

Innovation. Change. Innovation. Process improvement. Innovation. Efficiency. These words came out again and again all day. It’s exactly what we do at Gimbal. And yet, my phone is not ringing off the hook. Why, because innovation is hard and what makes us great lawyers also makes us lousy innovators.

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Unbundling Legal Services - It does feel right!

I came across a blog post earlier today by Graham Laing on the subject of unbundling and whether it’s the beginning of legal services customisation. 

In his comment on Graham’s post as it appeared in the Law Firm Profitability group on LinkedIn, Richard W Smith, Business Development and Marketing at Herbert Geer in Sydney, Australia, expressed the view that Graham raises a lot of very good points, but that unbundling “just does not feel right.” Like Richard, I agree that Graham’s article raises a lot of good points. Unlike Richard, I think unbundling does feel right. 

I’ve worked on both sides of the fence: for leading international law firms, and as General Counsel of a public company. I’ve provided and purchased sophisticated legal services in jurisdictions across North America, Europe and beyond. As a lawyer and a client, I see huge value in “unbundling” legal services.

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What if your clients could determine the bill? Legal innovation in action

Ever heard of Miller Titerle? I hadn’t, but I came across the Vancouver firm's Winter Update in a thread in LinkedIn’s Alternative Fee Lawyers group. If you want to find out how a firm can innovate and really up its game, spend a few minutes on their website.

Miller Titerle is a boutique commercial firm that practices law based on principles its people believe in. The firm’s website announces that “[t]hese principles include providing prompt, practical and quality legal advice, tailored to our clients’ need and delivered at a reasonable cost.” So far, nothing too fresh or new. Just about every firm has a similar vision...but wait, there’s more. Really, there is so much more. And the things they’re proposing (I have no reason to suspect the firm won’t implement its plans) will distinguish Miller Titerle from its competitors and ensure its continuing growth and success.

Central to its "grand plans" for 2013: a break from traditional billing. The firm already uses value-based billing mechanisms like fixed & capped fee arrangements. What's new? When the firm issues a traditional, undiscounted bill for time spent, and the client feels the firm failed to meet its service and value commitments, the client may discount the fee by up to 25%. Yes, up to 25%.

The catch? There's always a catch...

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