How to Foster Innovation in Legal Teams

— Juliet Edjere

The legal landscape is changing. Clients are demanding more efficient, cost-effective solutions, and legal tech is exploding with possibilities. The good news? You don't have to overhaul everything overnight.

Here are some practical tips and strategies, with a dash of personal experience, to cultivate a culture of innovation.

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Photo by Kvalifik on Unsplash

Define Your "Why"

Before diving headfirst into the latest legal tech, take a step back. What are you hoping to achieve through innovation? Is it about streamlining processes, reducing costs, or improving client service? Having a clear business case for innovation will not only guide your efforts but also garner buy-in from your team.

Reframe the Narrative: Innovation Isn't Scary

Innovation doesn't have to mean tossing out centuries of legal precedent. It can be about small, incremental changes that streamline processes, improve efficiency, and ultimately, better serve clients. Think about it: wasn't legal research revolutionized by online databases compared to dusty law libraries?

Shifting Mindsets: From Risk-Averse to Experimentation

This might be the toughest hurdle. Law schools train us to be cautious, detail-oriented, and averse to mistakes. But fostering innovation requires a willingness to experiment, even if it means failing sometimes. Think of it like legal tech startups – they iterate, test, and refine their products. We can (and should!) adopt a similar approach.

Here's where my tech background comes in. In the tech world, failure is seen as a learning experience, a stepping stone to success. We can adapt this by creating a safe space for brainstorming and experimentation within the legal department.

Leadership Buy-In: Lighting the Torch for Change

Innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum. It needs leadership that champions new ideas and empowers teams to explore them. This means more than just lip service. Leaders need to actively participate in the innovation process, allocate resources, and celebrate successes (big or small).

Think of it like building a house. The leaders are the architects, providing the vision and framework. The team members are the builders, putting those ideas into action.

Building a Common Language: Defining Innovation for Your Team

Innovation can be a broad term. For your team, it might mean streamlining workflows with legal tech, automating repetitive tasks, or developing new client service models. Clearly define what "innovation" means within your department and create a shared understanding of the goals.

This is where clear communication comes in. Just like any good legal document, we need to be on the same page about what innovation looks like in practice.

Embrace the Power of "And": Collaboration is Key

Innovation isn't a solo act. Encourage collaboration between legal and non-legal teams. Lawyers bring their deep legal expertise, while tech-savvy colleagues can offer fresh perspectives and insights into new tools and processes.

This is where the magic happens. Think of it like legal problem-solving on steroids. By combining legal knowledge with a tech mindset, you can develop truly groundbreaking solutions.

Rewarding Innovation: Celebrating Success Breeds More Success

Recognition is a powerful motivator. Celebrate innovative ideas, even if they don't all pan out. This could involve public recognition, awards, or simply acknowledging a team member's willingness to think outside the box.

Building a culture of innovation is a marathon, not a sprint. But by taking these steps, you can plant the seeds for a more dynamic and forward-thinking legal department. Remember, innovation isn't about flashy tech solutions or radical overhauls. It's about a continuous process of improvement, embracing change, and working together to find better ways to serve your clients. And that's something we can all get behind.


I'm Juliet Edjere, a no-code expert focused on design, product development, and building scalable solutions with no coding knowledge.

I document all things product stories, MVP validation, and how designs, data, and market trends connect.

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