Big bang or steady evolution? Innovation that's right for your firm.

In early October 2020, Actionstep hosted one of our virtual US customer and community events. We focused on the buzzword of Innovation! Innovation means different things for different firms. Operational excellence, business growth initiatives, client experience... What are the drivers of innovation at your firm? How do you prioritize? How do you manage change & measure success?

The event looked at how law firms can rethink how they market their firm and what today's opportunities are to stand out. We also looked at very practical ways for firms to design an innovation approach that's right for each firm.

Below are some practical takeaways to help your firm evolve & grow.

David Hepburn, Global President, Actionstep

  • Cloud software is coming into its own – particularly after April/May when people started making longer term decisions about remote working.
  • Remote working has put extra pressure on tech infrastructure that was in place prior to COVID. Firms are being forced to re-think their tech stack – quickly.
  • Interesting trend around self-sufficiency - Lawyers and paralegals have had to figure out how to do things themselves without the human glue that exists in the office to get things done. Therefore people are relying more on technology to give them the processes and information they need.
  • Using the technology you already have better - We have seen many of our current customers double down on their use of Actionstep. For example, relying more on document templates, document assembly, office integrations to save a few minutes every time they create something – those minutes of time saving add up each day.

Steve Taormino, CEO CC&A Strategic Media

  1. Marketing is a function of communications – it should not be standalone
    1. 5 different types of communication – marketing, advertising, PR, brand, reputation management – take a holistic approach
  2. People no longer trust what they read or see. It’s a by-product of the idea of fake-news. When you hear the same messages and themes through all 5 types of communication, people trust more – subconsciously they recognise it as more legitimate
  3. The most important things to measure are
    1. Client experience – ties into brand, reputation and the ability to get referrals
    2. Brand experience – transcends client experience as it’s broader and impacts more people
    3. Use data to make decisions about improvements to these
  4. Content – online spaces are becoming more crowded than ever. Make sure you have a clear strategy to stand out.
  5. Internal culture is the key to great brand and client experience. What are the core beliefs of your organization? When every person in an organisation fully understands and supports your company beliefs, customers feel the company culture through every interaction they have with your people and company. That is why brand is so aligned to culture – it starts on the inside.
  6. People are currently being bombarded with words and content across different marketing channels. Make sure your content and communications are true to your culture to achieve cut through and authenticity. People have an emotional reaction first, then they filter that with external influences.

Lucy Bassli, Founder of InnoLegal Services

  1. Clients want their law firms to be innovative and creative about how they work.
  2. Innovation is for everybody and can be done by everybody. You don’t need a Chief Innovation Officer to innovate!
  3. Innovation does not need to be “Big Bang”. The big bang that DOES need to happen is that firm leadership realize innovation is needed and they need to support it.
  4. Personalise your innovation – This goes hand in hand with authenticity. What aspects of your job that you find most frustrating? Focus on improvements around that. Can you control it or do you need others to get on board? The best place to start is something that impacts your clients.
  5. Map the process – Embrace the fact that a lot of what you do as a lawyer is process. Pick something you do over and over each day. Write down what you do, in what order. Look for inefficiencies and opportunities to improve. The best one to start with is client intake. How does it work now, step by step? How should it look? Map the future state.
  6. Review technology – Technology & innovation are inextricably linked. Before you look for new technology, look at what you already use and optimize that. For example – most lawyers live in Microsoft Office but may not realize its full potential as a productivity tool. Start with the problem and scope out what you need to solve it.
  7. Protect your work – Don’t save things on your laptops or desktop! Documents should live in the cloud. It’s not just about security - it’s about the ability to collaborate with your clients. Clients expect it. Gone are the days of sending document versions back and forth.
  8. Leverage data to delight clients – There are two types of data that law firms should be able to provide. 1) Operational data such as matter information, hours/costs, what was produced – quantify what has been done in a nice visual format. 2) Substantive data – qualitative information about the work being done. Work with clients on the data they need.

View a recording of the event here:

Big Bang or Evolution Event Recording

Written by Triona Saunders