Innovation – isn’t it just for the big firms? 3 tips on how you can get started

On 8 May 2018, during the first of the Law Society’s Future of Law lectures we heard Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, musing on the possible long term impact of Legaltech on the law and upon law firms. Between predictions on smart contracts, algorithms and blockchain, there was, for those that might be scared to look up from their files, light at the end of the tunnel.

Sir Geoffrey's point was that so much of client work does not involve the law or legal procedure, but instead is based more on counselling and injecting pragmatism where often the law fails to do so. Where there is human impact there is a need for human guidance.

That is not to say one should develop a sense of security. This comforting prediction does not take account of two very important factors. Client experience and the digital ambitions of the state. These two factors will be critical to every firm, large or small.

Great client experience can certainly be observed in firms that may still be instructed by three generations of the same family from one week to the next. But pace of innovation is accelerating and it will be those who have made efforts to move with the times who continue to draw those new clients who have never instructed a solicitor before.

Government bodies are expected to innovate the way that they deliver value to the public. This is starting to take shape way beyond the digitalisation of the courts. You only need look as far as Her Majesty’s Land Registry and their strategic partnership with ‘Geovation’, Britain’s location and property data lab, where PropTech startups are receiving funding and development to accelerate growth - to what extent are they factoring in law firms and conveyancers?

If you have yet to move beyond tech commentary in the press, now might be the time to look at the market, especially whilst the environment is still somewhat democratised - we must not forget that startups need customers for growth and the obvious customer base at the moment is still law firms.

Innovation isn't just for the big firms, here are three tips to begin with:

  1. Find trusted sources of information:
    • our Future of Law lectures & public policy forums throughout 2018/19
    • our partnership with Eagle Labs  
    • the activities of our Technology & the Law Committee
    • visit a product launch, forum or LawTech incubator initiative and explore the possibilities.
  2. Find your office geek – try some ‘reverse mentoring’ if you don't get it the trainee might!
  3. Legacy systems – check what you are paying for – are you oversubscribed or underusing?
If you have any questions or require guidance email Jack Dunkley or contact the relationship management team.

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