The need for product managers in law

The need for product managers in law

Richard Seabrook, MD at Neota Logic, writes on the need for genuine innovation in legal services. Does the answer lie in product managers? 

Richard contributed to our special report on the future of law: Lawyers and Robots? Open the report here.

A pet theory of mine is that one of the reasons for the lack of genuine service innovation in law (clearly not the only cause nor necessarily the largest which has to be the absence of real change in buyer behaviour) is the shortage of product management skills in law firms.

I refer to the combination of business, commercial and technical skills that can convert the increasing interest of law firm executives in service innovation into new service models for those firms and their clients. At a practical level, these skills might involve tasks such as strategic planning, ideation, creating the case for investment and successfully bringing to life new products and services underpinned by the latest technologies. All perhaps as part of a wider business and cultural change journey.

Having spent almost 20 years at Accenture serving corporate clients in this field, I understand how hard this is in practice and how rare the individuals who possess these skills along with a tenacity to see change happen (a.k.a. Change Agents) really are.

In law, I find myself increasingly sympathetic to firms who broadly lack these in-house skills at any scale or level of responsibility and yet are bombarded by legal technology providers and industry analysts urging them to dramatically change the way they serve their clients and by the way, at the same time, buy their products.

In last year's excellent Harvard Business Review article

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