find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Legal professionals told to turn off auto-pilot

Legal professionals told to turn off auto-pilot


Legal professionals, both new-to-industry and established, have been encouraged to step away from “habitual thinking”, with one expert saying this is the biggest barrier to innovation.

Speaking at Lawyers Weekly’s recent Future Forum, the host of ABC TV's The New Inventors James O’Loghlin said while legal professionals are often advised to think innovatively, they can struggle due to their inability to break routine.

“The biggest barrier to innovation isn't technological or economical, it's psychological: something I like to call habitual thinking,” Mr O’Loghlin said.

“You know when you start working somewhere new and the first week you drive a different way to work every week? You go one way on Monday but there's a traffic jam, so you go another way the next day but there are too many traffic lights, so then on Wednesday you go a different way again, and then after about five days you find the quickest way to get to work and you drive that way to work every single day for the next 28 years.

“You don't wake up thinking, 'I'm going to have a shower first; maybe I'll have breakfast first'. You just get up and go into auto-pilot. A lot of our work days are like that too and that's not wrong. Systems, processes, best practice make sense; they’re efficient and effective.

“My point is this: if we don't find ways of stepping back and breaking out of habitual thinking and seeing everything we do with fresh eyes, then we don't see the cold water we waste every time we turn on the hot tap. In a way, we over-prioritise the status quo and we find ourselves doing things the way we do them, not because we've decided that’s the best way, but simply because that's the way we've always done them.”

Mr O'Loghlin said a key way legal professionals can step away from habitual thinking and into innovative thinking is to “question everything”.

“We all make assumptions. Every time you go through a green light, you're assuming that the light facing the other way is red, you're assuming the drivers coming the other way will see that red light, you're assuming they know what it means and you're assuming that they'll obey that red signal and stop,” he said.

“What assumptions are you making about your business and about the lawyer-client relationship? What assumptions are you making about your clients and your competitors? Try and identify what they are and then challenge each one. Are you sure they're all valid? Will they be valid in May 2017?

“We make millions of assumptions a day and they often sit beneath what we do and we don't really identify them. If you can identify the assumptions that you're making and question them on a regular basis, it can help you ensure that what you're doing is relevant.”

The Lawyers Weekly Future Forum was held in Sydney on 9 November and in Melbourne on 11 November.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Legal professionals told to turn off auto-pilot
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...