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Law firms aren’t widely known as big innovators. Unsurprisingly, traditional partnership models often favour risk-averse strategies, where the phrase ‘legal innovation’ generally comes below ‘profit margins’. However, alternative business structures and the ever-changing world of legal tech are putting firms under increasing pressure and demanding they adapt.
Gaining new perspectives is necessary to do this. Larger firms are increasingly introducing ‘legal tech incubators’. Firms, such a Slaughters, offer a set amount of investment, office space and resources and invite legal tech startups to compete for this. Startups then get the chance to become successful businesses and work with large players. In turn, firms can pick and choose from a variety of entrepreneurs and disruptive thinkers and, if they’re successful, benefit financially.
However, startups offer more than business opportunities. While law firms tend to stick to the trodden path, startups follow riskier strategies and tend to be more successful the more unique they are. Introducing this type of innovative thinking and giving them adequate resources to chase new ideas immediately injects a firm with more innovative thinkers.
How firms then integrate incubators into their operations is key. There shouldn’t be a hard line between new legal tech and legal business–startups need to know what lawyers want and lawyers need to know how the legal sector is changing. Instead, incubators should be integrated into the firm. This can be as simple as surrounding startups with lawyers in open place offices. Simply by interacting on a daily basis, lawyers gain insight into ongoing innovative projects and how new technologies are impacting cli
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