24 Jul Our Round up of Janders Dean Horizons 2018
“Break the law, make the law” was this year’s theme for Janders Dean Horizons in Sydney with the focus on how law firms can think differently to create change.
For those who have attended one, you will know that Janders Dean differentiate themselves from the “same-old-same-old” static and stale conference format. We embraced that with our experiential retro museum which saw people reminiscing over dot matrix printers, playing their favourite cassettes on our boombox and remembering a time when the dictaphone was the latest office tech!
The message was simple, don’t run your deals like it’s still the 80s. But how do you make it safe to change? Janders Dean explored three key themes:
- People – the need to have people that can shape change and collaborate
- Technology – only works if it’s at the intersection of good process and delivered by the right people
- Process – changes in the legal services delivery landscape and embracing design thinking approaches
What we heard
Simplicity – one of the resounding themes was that of simplicity. Don’t over complicate it, keep it simple, pick real problems and solve them.
Collaboration – the realisation that you cannot innovate in a vacuum. Involve the client as well as the internal operations and and delivery teams, to ensure that you innovate with the client in mind.
Changing mindsets – design thinking applied to the legal sector enabling firms to adopt agile methodologies to trial new initiatives and fail fast. As firms mature and apply project processes from outside their own sector they are able to innovate through incubator projects that are allowed to fail.
Systems integration – a deeper understanding across the firm of broader set of systems and how they need to integrate to create a sophisticated solution for the firm. This is becoming a basic and expected requirement.
Technology doesn’t mean change – Technology is an enabler of existing processes. Automation of workflows is a process to go through, and that “automation software” should support your existing ways of working not dictate new ones.
Adoption – a recognition of the importance of good design and user-led user interfaces within the solutions a firm chooses to reduce the barriers and time required to increase usage and adoption.
What we learnt
Ross Forgione, Johnson Winter & Slattery CIO reinforced the importance of taking the time to listen to staff within the firm and find out what their pain points are. “If you don’t understand a problem how can you attack it?”.
Craig Thompson, Corporate M&A partner at Forsters talked through the process of becoming the technology lead in the firm over the last 12 months and the challenge for mid-tier firms who may not have the dedicated internal resources for an innovation program. Changing the mindsets of firms to invest in updating their systems to support business development and attract good quality graduate lawyers who have a basic expectation that often exceeds what is offered when it comes to technology in the workplace.
Peter Jones, Partner at DLA Piper shared their benchmark for success when it comes to innovation saying that it must add value to the client. “What are we doing, how are we doing it and what is the value to the client. When you look at innovation it’s about how we can do it better”.
Change is constant in the legal profession today; and innovation is about way more than technology. Eric Fiszelson from Herbert Smith Freehills talked about his perspective on the behavioural aspects of change. Acknowledging that getting lawyers to change their ways is difficult, Eric talked about Leadership in the new law revolution. As worshippers of the left brain, lawyers have been trained to think logically. This is evident across a firm’s outputs but challenged the status quo, encouraging lawyers to make a leap of faith and give themselves space to reach their creative potential to make great things happen for our clients. One example he gave was to answer to RFPs using more visual means.
And finally, Greg O’Reilly, Business Solutions Manager here at thedocyard summarised the key take outs that he’ll be discussing with his clients.
The common theme was listening. Both internally (across business units - practitioners, IT, KM, Marketing & Business development) right through to external clients. Look at what you are doing, how you are doing it, and how you can change it to add more value to the client.