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‘Realistic, optimistic and open’: Corrs head reveals key to successful strategy

‘Realistic, optimistic and open’: Corrs head reveals key to successful strategy


The head of innovation at Corrs Chambers Westgarth has opened up about how his firm has embarked on a strategy which sees significant gains for its staff and clientele.

Speaking ahead of his session at Lawyers Weekly’s upcoming Future Forum, Corrs Chambers Westgarth head of innovation Graeme Grovum said that lawyers can be doing a number of things on the innovation front to benefit both them and their firm.

“Be realistic, optimistic and open, Mr Grovum told Lawyers Weekly.

“Realistic about your current position – solutions do not come about by ignoring a problem that clearly exists.  

“Be optimistic about what’s possible. Innovation is a mindset – a belief we can improve, a desire to discover and an optimism to succeed.

“Be open about where new ideas can come from. Restricting your firm’s efforts to internal ideas only is, no matter how great your team, a very limited well of inspiration.

Mr Grovum said by taking this approach to innovation, his firm has been able to reap the benefits.

“Some very successful early efforts (Beagle and Cael Verify most recently) have really opened the gates in terms of partnering interest and opportunities, he said.

“As these opportunities increase, we also begin to see areas of connectedness – seemingly separate practice areas or client types that share common challenges and that can benefit from the same solutions. 

“It is immensely gratifying to be able to solve a problem for a client through the application of an existing technology in a novel way.

Though Mr Grovum did acknowledge that there were some initial challenges Corrs experienced in embarking on this strategy. However, he noted that the firm was able to overcome these obstacles by being clear on its vision.

“Becoming comfortable with uncertainty is very difficult for lawyers, and rightly so. Certainty, after all, is what our clients come to us for and what we strive to deliver, Mr Grovum said.

“But uncertainty is part and parcel of forging a new path – new ideas do not come with a guaranteed outcome.

“Reconciling the need for certainty that drives our legal advice, with the acceptance of uncertainty that guides our open innovation initiatives, can sometimes be challenging. It is a testament to the vision of our partnership and executive that we continue to navigate this dissonance so well.

Mr Grovum’s session at the upcoming Future Forum will discuss open innovation. He noted that in Corrs case that means partnering with other innovators as a way of creating value for our clients and our firm”. 

“We also commercialise our creations when possible and appropriate,” he said.

“By opening our innovations to the general market, we also move the broader legal industry forward.”

Mr Grovum said that he hopes attendees of the Forum will takeaway an appreciation of the power of open innovation to deliver better outcomes for all involved from his session.

“Change is happening at an ever-increasing pace and the legal industry is faced with a choice; be at the forefront of change, catalyse it, or suffer from the changes invoked by others,” he said.

“At Corrs, we are determined to lead change through open innovation. This is one of the most exciting times there has ever been to work in the legal industry!”

The Lawyers Weekly Future Forum will be held in Brisbane on 17 October, Sydney on 18 October and Melbourne on 19 October.

Now in its second year, the Future Forum is designed for practitioners who want to remain at the cutting-edge of technological change and business innovation.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Early bird tickets close 20 September. To book now, click here.

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