What Technologists Can Teach Lawyers About Innovation

Agile Conference , Hoofddorp, 18th June 2009 Many law firms find themselves in sobering circumstances. They are facing mounting economic pressures, more discerning clients, and a deep-seated reluctance to change a way of working that has not kept pace with science or technology.

Something has to change.

Unfortunately, change means disrupting all that is known and comfortable. It’s no wonder that people say: “Change is good. You go first.” In fact, the sheer challenge of innovation can be enough to keep the risk-averse from ever trying something new. And, even if they can overcome their natural tendency to cling to the status quo, a lack of knowledge regarding the most productive way to carry out disciplined experiments can mean that their tentative innovation initiative is either stillborn or severely compromised.

Thankfully, lawyers and law firms are not yet beyond hope. At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, sometimes the help you need is close at hand. In fact, it may even be right under your nose. The technologists in your firm should have experience with a specific method of disciplined experimentation called Agile, which could provide the guidelines needed to help risk-averse lawyers conduct fruitful innovation experiments regarding how they practice law and how they run their business. To learn more about this, see my post What Technologists Can Teach Lawyers.

Has your firm benefited from this sort of collaboration between technologists and firm management? Have you used Agile to find better ways of meeting client needs and responding to current economic conditions? If so, please let me know. Yours might be the precedent that shines a light on the path for everyone in the legal industry.

[Photo Credit: Tim Difford]




ABA Journal Blawg 100

What a wonderful surprise!  Today the ABA Journal released its Third Annual Blawg 100 List and I’m delighted to report that Above and Beyond KM has been included in that list along with some truly remarkable law blogs.  The list was compiled by the Journal’s editors, who this year asked readers of legal blogs to recommend their favorite blogs.  Those recommendations are like gold to any blogger, and I am truly grateful to all of you who suggested this blog.

Now that the list has been published, the next step is for readers to vote for the blogs  that they like the best in each of the 10 categories.  This blog is in the “Legal Tech” category along with the following impressive blawgs:

The voting has begun and the results will be reported in February.  If you are so inclined, I’d be grateful for your support.  All you have to do is cast your vote before December 31.  Regardless of whether you vote or not, please do check out the blogs on the list.  They are a terrific entry point to the riches of the legal blogosphere.

Before I sign off, I do want to thank all my readers.  As I’ve learned over nearly two years of blogging, you are an extraordinarily generous group of people.  Some of you leave comments when you read something of interest.  Others of you tweet a blog post that has caught your fancy.  Still others send me e-mails from time to time just to let me know that something in the blog has resonated with you.  And then, there are those of you who don’t contact me, but are kind enough to recommend Above and Beyond KM to your colleagues and, in this case, to the ABA Journal.

Please accept my deepest appreciation.  It’s a great pleasure to write for and with you.