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Driving in-house innovation

In-house teams need to treat innovation as a dedicated function within their organisation, according to a NewLaw firm.

user iconTom Lodewyke 01 August 2017 Corporate Counsel
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LegalVision recently released a white paper titled, Transforming the Legal Landscape: The NewLaw Philosophy. As well as recommending ways for traditional law firms to adapt to the changes reshaping the profession, LegalVision explored how in-house teams can capitalise on these innovations.

According to LegalVision lawyer James Gonczi, who led the report, it is crucial that in-house teams dedicate an individual or group to focus on innovation.

In an article on the firm’s website titled, Why Law Firms and In-House Teams Need An Innovation Officer, Mr Gonczi said the report found three key barriers to innovation in in-house teams: structural barriers, such as a business structure that makes it difficult for legal innovations to receive support from leaders; technological barriers, such as outdated IT infrastructure or practice management systems; and resource barriers, particularly the time it takes to plan and implement innovations.


“In our view, law firms and in-house teams can overcome these hurdles, at least in part, by empowering an individual or team to explore and implement innovation as either part of their role or as a dedicated function,” Mr Gonczi said.

“LegalVision’s growth and innovation team has eight members that explore opportunities for innovation. The team represents a wide cross-section of our business: legal, sales, accounting, strategy and management.

“Each team member has a different focus and retains some of the responsibilities from the teams that they represent. This ensures they maintain an awareness of the challenges that their respective teams face.

“Our divide between a person’s daily duties and their innovation work is relatively fluid (achievable in a start-up structure such as ours). However, depending on the organisation, there could be value in having people work in defined part-time roles. This reduces the risk of your team’s innovation time being curtailed by the need to do their day-to-day jobs.”

LegalVision said in the white paper that outsourcing to NewLaw firms present an opportunity for in-house teams to shift their focus to more challenging or bigger-picture work.

LegalVision sees great potential for what we call an ‘inverse-outsourcing’ structure,” according to the white paper.

In an inverse-outsourcing model, clients brief out high-volume ‘business as usual’ work to legal service providers with competitive pricing structures and fast turnaround times.

The time freed up by this inverse-outsourcing process can be used by the in-house team to focus on the strategic projects affecting their business. This has the added benefit of increasing team engagement by providing greater opportunities for the in-house team to take on challenging and fulfilling work.

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