A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

Are you a thought leader?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

by Stephen Wood, CEO, InfoTrack

Thought leadership is an overused, and dare I say abused, word in today’s boardrooms. Everyone wants to be a thought leader and every company wants to show thought leadership - but not everyone does.  As we launch the 2015 ALPMA/InfoTrack Thought Leadership Awards, it’s a great time to reflect on what exactly thought leadership is and how, as organisations, we can demonstrate it. 

Daniel W. Rasmus, the US based future strategist, recently defined thought leadership as:

 “…an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.”

I agree with Daniel and would go one step further - I believe thought leadership should disrupt markets.  I believe it should fundamentally change the way we see things or think about things, both from a corporate and personal sense. Thought leaders and thought leading organisations create new paths for us to travel down. 

When I think of thought leaders, I think of people who changed our world – from Ghandi to Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates to Steve Jobs - they opened our eyes to a new way of working or living. 

Jodie Baker, Managing Director of Hive Legal, the winner of the 2014 ALPMA/Telstra Thought Leadership Award, discussed her thoughts on thought leadership and innovation with us recently summing up: 

“Innovation is not about improving the way things are done, but changing it. It’s not about thinking outside the box, it's about asking is the box the right shape in the first place, should it be a star?”

At InfoTrack, we constantly ask ourselves what we can do differently, better, how we can fundamentally change the customer experience to enhance their day. This is what moves us forward. While it may not affect the world the way the thought leaders mentioned above did, our mission is to make the working day better for the hundreds of thousands of legal researchers in the world. 

What does it take to be a thought leader?

When we think about thought leadership and innovation in a commercial sense we tend to think of technology – the iphone, flat screen TVs, electric cars – but the most important elements of thought leadership in the legal sector is not about what we are using to innovate our service but how we are enhancing it. 

Recently we surveyed a wide range of legal firms and in-house counsel across Australia and New Zealand and the results showed the areas most in need of change and thought leadership in the Australasian legal sector are:  

  1. Addressing gender diversity (85%)
  2. Enhancing service delivery (53.3%) 
  3. Providing competitive and alternative pricing options (50%).
(Note: respondents could choose more than one option)

While technology can help with all of the above, the change needs to begin with the strategy and then focusing on the tools that can help bring that strategy to life.  The survey also showed us that client demands for greater efficiency and economic conditions continue to be the major drivers for change in law firms. 

Biggest Innovation Drivers

  1. Client expectation and demand (79.17%)
  2. General economic conditions (54.17%)
  3. Regulatory change (31.25%) 
  4. Existing competition (29.17%)
  5. Non-traditional new entrants from domestic market (27.08%).
(Note: respondents could choose more than one option)

Looking Outside

Often we should look outside our own industries to see where change is happening and how that could apply to our sector. We need to expand our reference points to help expand our own sector in its thinking and practice. 

Who is driving innovation internationally?

 Our survey respondents felt that outside of Australia, the countries driving innovation in the legal sector are: 
  1. United Kingdom (29%)
  2. United States (28%)
  3. Asia (18.7%) 
  4. Europe (4.6 %).
And that we could learn most from the following industries: 


 

I personally can’t wait to see what the entrants to The 2015 ALPMA/InfoTrack Thought Leadership Awards are doing to demonstrate thought leadership – from the calibre of last year’s entries I am sure it will be very exciting. 

Editor's Note

If your firm is doing something a little different, then you should nominate your innovative project for an ALPMA/InfoTrack Thought Leadership Award, which will be presented at the 2015 ALPMA Summit Gala Dinner on Thursday 10 September,  at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.  

Entry is simple - just complete the nomination form, answering five questions about your project, and provide relevant contact information. Entries close 5pm, Thursday 9 July. 

About our Guest Blogger

Stephen WoodStephen Wood was appointed CEO of InfoTrack in early 2010. As CEO, Stephen is responsible for the InfoTrack business, both in defining its future, and in achieving the steady growth aspirations.  Throughout his 23 years in the ICT industry, Stephen has worked with the legal profession, this sees him bring a wealth of experience to InfoTrack, particularly around how to leverage technology to drive business efficiency in the legal market. 

For readers interested in visualisation, InfoTrack recently gave all clients access to their brand new visual workspace tool at no charge. Named REVEAL, this sophisticated, visual tool enables clients to search multiple databases, and use the results of those searches to create a custom workspace displaying all information in a simple and comprehensible manner. 







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