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The market is changing. You get that. Be more client-oriented. Deliver your services more efficiently, more cost-effectively and in a way the client wants them. This all seems to make sense, so what is standing in your way?
I detect a fairly large obstacle in the form of the words “innovator” and “entrepreneur” and the perceptions they create. These words conjure images of risk-hungry “dragons” or Silicon Valley whizz kids, not the measured trusted expert adviser tag that lawyers are far more comfortable with. They are words you use to describe other people. Most importantly, they represent implausibility and unattainability, as opposed to the potential to deliver any real world practical benefit.
In this way, the seemingly widespread perception that you have to be an innovator and entrepreneur to succeed in the modern market has become a hindrance to progression.
The essence of being a lawyer is problem-solving, not innovation. Finding a solution to a problem; then finding a slightly different solution to the problem; then finding a solution to a slightly different problem. And so on. A simple, progressive and iterative process. This results in innovation, but in a form much less grand or magical than the rhetoric of the self-proclaimed innovators might suggest.
A few diverse examples might help illustrate this.
It is easy for a group of lawyers to excuse themselves from trying anything different on the grounds that they are inherently conservative and that change is just not for them. It is a little harder to justify this stance when you look at Kent County Council Legal Services. Local authority lawyers are naturally seen as a conservative group within an even more conservative sector. So how has Kent become such a beacon of innovative success? The answer is quite simple. Having recognised it had a quality product that met the council's specific needs in a
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