Janders Dean Horizons - looking forward

Janders Dean Horizons - looking forward

On the (ominously) dated Friday the 13th, Janders Dean held their exclusive, invite-only ‘Horizons’ conference in London. Determined to actually inspire delegates, the conference brought world-leading experts from a diversity of backgrounds together to look at innovation in the legal industry.

From established law players to small start-ups, Horizons was unashamed in only inviting the most innovative and progressive thinking speakers. And sure enough, the faculty at the event presented some of the most interesting keynotes and speeches on legal innovation so far this year.

Future-Forward Organisations and Disruption

How many people look at children’s playgrounds and think: law firms should be more like this? Claire Burge thinks the future of successful organisations will model the structured chaos of the playground. A central theme throughout her talk was the need to unleash your ‘humanness’ by giving people space and freedom.

Beyond the abstract ideas, Claire gave some very practical suggestions for how organisations can ‘unleash the humans’. By adopting more agile working methodologies, creating lighter leadership structures and changing fixed mind-sets, law firms can create a more effective workforce. She ended with a powerful challenge: if any part of your job can be done by a robot in the future – it will be.

Mike Rebeiro followed Claire’s talk with a more strategic look at the near and long term disruption of the legal industry. He weaved a challenging outlook for the future: a perfect storm of disruption – globalisation, liberalisation and costs pressures. In this upcoming time of tumult, there will be a greater need for successful law firms to innovate and thrive. But the legal industry is a traditionally sluggish industry to embrace change.

There are a number of significant and entrenched barriers to innovation in the legal industry. Law firms, partly due to the nature of their work, are incredibly risk adverse. This leads to a lack of innovation culture (where it is OK to fail and experiment). At a structural level, the equity model means that investment decisions by partners are focused towards maximum profit on yearly basis – not long term thinking. Additionally, the hourly fee means it pays to be inefficient.

The impact of technology on the legal industr

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About the author:
Mark is one of the Dispute Resolution blog’s technical editors. He qualified as a lawyer in Australia and worked in private practice before joining LexisNexis. In addition to contributing to the Dispute Resolution blog, he also writes for a number of LexisNexis blogs, including the Future of Law blog.