A nice and interesting piece by Ron Friedmann around resistance of innovation in the legal market place.
It’s not just your imagination, innovating in the legal market is hard. Over two decades in the legal market, Ron has seen lawyers resist most innovation. For example, it wasn’t all that long ago that buying laptops for the firm’s lawyers or sending e-mail newsletters to clients conjured up a parade of horrors in law firms. To this day, something as simple as preparing a spreadsheet to outline the budget and main activities for a client matter still elicits blank stares from most partners.
So, why do lawyers resist innovation? Here are the top reasons Ron has observed:
Doing nothing is better than doing something. ”My firm evaluates me by my billings and business generation, not by my new ideas.”
What we’re doing now is right, so why consider alternatives? ”What I’m doing ain’t broke, so it don’t need fixing”
Others might realize I don’t know everything. ”Why would I want to do that and reveal what could be perceived as a weakness in my knowledge?”
It’s easier to shoot down ideas than to calculate how they will help. ”I get paid to spot problems and avoid risks, not to take risks.”
Innovating would require accepting client feedback. ”To get new ideas, I might need to really talk to my clients.”
I might have to manage or lead. ”Change requires leadership and management.”
My corporate clients object whenever I try something new. ”I read articles about how many general counsels are unhappy with their outside counsel and want to see innovations in law firms. But when they have a big problem, the GCs only care about the outcome.”
I’m already making a boatload. ”I get paid plenty for billing hours and bringing in business as it is.”
I remember when so-and-so tried something like that 15 years ago and it didn’t work. ”If it didn’t work then, we shouldn’t try it today”
And, finally, the top reason of them all … Who else did you say is doing that?