Kenneth Grady, CEO of SeyfarthLean Consulting, has some tips on how the legal department can innovate.
“Most innovation efforts still focus on products rather than services, which is detrimental for those in service industries.” “By not innovating ways to deliver services, we perpetuate wasteful service delivery,” he notes. Just as many industries expend time and effort to improving productivity, it’s imperative for in-house lawyers to do the same.
Some key take aways:
- By not innovating ways to deliver services, we perpetuate wasteful service delivery. After our clients have spent decades improving productivity, this suggests at the least that we are not good partners in efficiently using their assets.
- At this point, we are measuring service effort not value added. We need to find ways we can improve on that output during the time available. To date, certainly for the legal profession, this is an undeveloped area.
- The more significant danger facing lawyers in law departments (and law firms) is irrelevancy. Law departments mitigate risk. If that risk can be mitigated more cost effectively – cheaper – all the better. Paradoxically, when legal costs remain high (outside, inside, or both), law departments may play more central roles in organizations than when legal costs drop.
- Innovation can change that paradigm. Law departments using innovation can partner with the business teams to make strategic risk management part of business strategy development. The lawyers focus on building risk mitigation strategies into the strategic planning process. Rather than trying to take risk out at the backend, this approach favors designing risk out at the front end.
- Coupling innovation with efficiency isn’t just about doing more for less, it is about adding more value. If all we do is reduce our clients’ expenses, we will have achieved relatively little for the energy expended.