A recent Law.com piece, “Rising Client Expectations Escalate Pressures on Law Firms” by Jessie Yount and Hugo Guzman, pointed out that while law firms may be facing tough economic times ahead, in-house counsel’s expectations in the delivery of legal services are increasing.
While the growing sophistication of the general counsel’s office has forced both law departments and law firms to move innovation efforts forward for the last few decades, for the most part, both are struggling to keep pace with new demands regarding technology and innovative ways to deliver legal services. While some have found ways to provide added value and innovate targeted offerings, those examples are still rare and certainly wouldn’t qualify as transformative or comprehensive changes. But where clients have led the way – for example, via DE&I initiatives and legal operations practices—we can see some light shining through. Such practices are redefining departments and thus, can ignite sparks of creativity and innovation taking place in law firms, even if they are following suit under pressure. So long as the changes stick and can improve practices, work cultures, and results delivered, they are worth pursuing.