What’s flexible, intuitive and fast?
My previous post the “Age of uncertainty” touched on the need to embrace the inevitable period of change that’s now washing over the legal industry. In his recent blog post, Stephen Allen, Director of Innovation at Berwin Leighton Paisner, claims, and I tend to agree, that the the case for change in the legal space has been made already. “Now it’s time to make the case for a new order“, as he calls it.
But what will the “new order” look like? Table stakes processes such as legal project management are being experimented with and implemented in many firms already, alternative fee arrangement are more common, and more firms grapple with client demands for cost controls and greater transparency. Internal compensation models are also changing, and more law firms are looking to increase the number of none equity partners as an example (see Edge International recent Partner Compensation System Survey). But this is just the beginning of a change cycle. And we are making as many guesses as definite predictions. The age of uncertainty is upon us.
So how will the CIO, Director of KM, Director of practice support and other such key players in the firm, help enable this rate of change? The answer is flexibility, specificity, simplify and speed. Those are the parameters for assessing business processes and enabling technologies.
Since we don’t exactly know what change will look like, when we consider processes and systems that will support our firms in the next 24-48 months should be flexible enough to quickly change. If your LPM process and supporting technologies do not allow for quick modifications, you may want to invest in a different solution. Whatever you do should be specific to your users; it’s the promise of a personalized experience. As a practitioner I should know, learn, and interact with processes and automation based on my role, level of expertise, location, and history to support the things I should know and do. Simplicity is critical because our users need (rapid learning curve) as well as demand it. A new breed of information management solutions that we are now using on our smart phones, tablets and on the web are teaching our lawyers that intuitive interaction is possible. And finally, speed of implementation will determine how quickly we can support our firm and its changing needs.
Change is happening. Some of it is dramatic. Some of it is unknown. But those guiding principles can help us cope.