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Thinking Of Innovating? Identify The Problem And Be Clear On Your Goals

Thinking of innovating?
Thinking of innovating?

Over the past five years the pace of change in the legal industry has truly accelerated.

In 2015 it was rare to find roles that are now becoming commonplace, both within law firms (such as an “Innovation Partner”) and within corporate legal teams (such as “Head of Legal Operations”). Countless legal technology companies have emerged, and universities have now added new courses such as Legal Transformation and Start-Up Law and rapidly developing ways to prepare students for the future of work in the legal industry.

Whilst the legal industry has long been criticised for its slow pace of change, this is no longer the case.  When COVID-19 hit, there was a risk that innovation in the legal space would be put on hold, such as during previous times of economic upheaval ( crash, 9/11, GFC) where investment in new technology was reduced to conserve cash. However, innovation is still high on the agenda as law firms seek to differentiate themselves while customers, clients and even the courts move to a transformed, digital environment.  To be sustainable, law firms must now look at ways to better serve clients, improve client experiences, and ultimately retain and win business.

For law firms that are looking to innovate, the most important first step is to accurately identify the problem to be solved, clearly articulate the pain points and then develop and investigate ideas for solutions.

At Lawcadia, we utilise design thinking processes and concepts in our own product development as well as with our corporate and law firm clients as we ideate innovative technology solutions. Drawing on our experience we have prepared a 6-step outline to help your firm get started.

Helpful hint: this process works best with a small team or teams of people across different functions. Get creative, have fun, and keep an open mind!

1. Be clear on your goals, what you are trying to achieve

These are some questions to ask:

  • What are the short and medium terms goals to achieve?
  • Is there an opportunity to strengthen your client relationships and secure more ongoing work?
  • Do you need to win more business?
  • Do you need to reduce costs to compete more effectively with other firms on pricing?
  • Are you spending time on administrative tasks such as generating monthly reports for clients?
  • Do you want greater visibility over what your team is doing, to ensure that your clients are being looked after and their timeframes met?

2. Identify the pain points or key problems

For each defined goal, brainstorm all the pain points and problems.

For example, if the goal is to win new business, a pain point could be “Business development is hard in a virtual environment”.

Hint: Use post-it notes and put one pain point per post-it.

3. Group pain points and identify common themes

This involves looking for commonalities among the pain points and grouping them together and giving the theme a name, eg Strengthen Client Relationships or Improve Internal Workflow

4. For each ‘theme’ explore possible solutions and shortlist the best options for further investigation

The more creative you can be the better – encourage the group to think outside the square with these types of questions to prompt new perspectives:

  • How would Google solve the problem?
  • How would a start-up solve the problem?
  • How would McDonald’s solve the problem?

5. Prioritise solutions to explore

You can use a matrix to assist with this – refer to our downloadable template for an example.

6. Capture ideas and next steps

This is called creating a ‘roadmap’ which takes a macro view and maps out initiatives over time – short, mid, and even long term. A more detailed action plan is also important with actions captured, responsibilities allocated, and priorities acknowledged.

You can access a free PowerPoint template which includes worksheets for each of these steps.

Download Here

We are also happy to help you run these sessions, as we have done for both corporate legal teams


This article was published by PEXA and Queensland Law Society in their digital transformation e-guide – access it here.