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Should Clients Do More to Force Law Firms to Innovate?

The American Lawyer

Corporate legal departments have a critical role to play in advancing innovation in the industry, panelists from the law firm and in-house counsel worlds said Tuesday during a discussion at ALM’s Legalweek conference.

Meanwhile, law firms that adopt new approaches to delivering legal services—whether through technology or through other efforts to increase efficiency and lower costs—can position themselves ahead of their peers, panelists said.

During a discussion on innovation in the legal industry at Legalweek’s Business of Law Forum, Linda Novosel, who serves as Blank Rome’s chief innovation and value officer, likened innovation to other areas, such as diversity, in which in-house law departments have pushed their outside counsel for change.

If law firm clients demand innovative approaches of their outside counsel—and threaten to strip business from those firms that don’t innovate—it would force the industry as a whole to find ways to provide better value to clients. As for her firm, Novosel said her role in part comes down to focusing Blank Rome’s efforts on areas that further its clients’ business goals.

“We’re engaging with clients on a regular basis to figure out what their goals are, what their needs are,” she said. “It’s so important to understand the underlying objectives of the client. How do they define success or performing well?”

"Should Clients Do More to Force Law Firms to Innovate?," by Scott Flaherty was published in The American Lawyer on January 29, 2019.