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Friday Share:  The 4 Pillars of Legal Innovation

Friday Share  The 4 Pillars of Legal Innovation

Somewhere between $100 billion and $300 billion change hands in legal every year, though estimates vary, depending on what’s being counted.  Still, at either end of the spectrum, it’s a sizable volume of money for important work.

In light of those estimates, it’s not especially revealing to suggest the legal market is mature, but the choice of profitability levers to pull could be instructive.

“In mature markets efficiency trumps growth,” according to Daniel Katz who is an associate professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. His ideas are offered in 366 slide presentation the covers a dozen or so Observations Regarding Innovation in the Legal Industry.

The full presentation, which is embedded nearby is this week’s Friday Share. It’s a quick read despite its seemingly ominous length.

Great lawyers design systems that balance risk and improve transparency, helping clients price risk internally. – Daniel Katz

The 4 Pillars of Innovation in Law

The legal industry has traditionally applied “human experts” in greater numbers to solve complex legal problems, according to Professor Kat.  He cites the Cobb-Douglas economics model where production = capital + labor.

“For greater returns,” the legal community should seek to substitute capital for labor.” That capital, according to the presentation, should flow into the four pillars of innovation in law, which   he defines as:

He breaks each segment down accordingly:

  1. Law manifested in “substantive legal expertise.”
  2. Technology rooted in analytics, platforms, AI and knowledge management
  3. Design focused on “design thinking, UX, process improvement and project management
  4. Delivery mechanics such as the business model and marketing

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Also see these related posts on legal innovation:
Tech Savvy as a Source of Law Firm Innovation
Law Firm R&D: Stories of Innovation
3 Notable Examples of Big Law IT Innovation
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Legal Innovation and Great Lawyers

The amount of investment being made in legal startups has grown substantially in the last several years.  For example, the presentation says in 2009, there were just 15 legal startups whereas today, there are more than 500.

Even as this startup community, which Professor Katz likens to an R&D function for the legal community, it’s not a question of lawyers versus the machines, but rather what lawyers and machines can achieve together.

The “data driven law practice is gaining steam,” but its utility is aligned with the good practice. “Great lawyers,” he writes, “design systems that balance risk and improve transparency, helping clients price risk internally.”

Here is the full presentation:


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
SlideShare Friday:  An Introduction to Legal Analytics

Photo credit: Flickr, PopTech, Ecomaterials Innovation Lab…(CC BY-SA 2.0)

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.
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