Innovation At Regulation Corporations – Yuk

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(Picture by way of Getty)

I like the idea of innovation however hate using the phrase, because it stands for thus many pointless workouts in futility. I gained’t get into them right here — if you wish to learn articles which can be well-intentioned however utterly ineffective, subscribe to The Harvard Enterprise Evaluation. There you’re going to get 5,000-word articles with extra about innovation and fewer about helpful outcomes than you’ll be able to abdomen, little doubt. Sorry to beat on my alma mater, however they will take it.

Now for legislation companies …

Let’s begin with “What’s the objective of the legislation agency?” The reply to that is surprisingly tough to actually take into consideration. Peter Drucker says that the aim of a enterprise is to create a buyer.

Word his use of the phrase create. He doesn’t say, go get a buyer. He says you need to create one.

I feel that applies simply nice to a legislation agency, however there’s a difficult little wrinkle to assume by: What’s our buyer?

You may say, “Duh, Bruce, it’s the consumer,” however in case you mentioned that, you’ll be blowing it. There are two prospects for a legislation agency:

  1. The shoppers

2. The legal professionals

These are the purchasers, and any evaluation has to think about each of them. Certainly, as we speak, in New York Metropolis, isn’t there a plethora of shoppers and a scarcity of legal professionals? A 12 months in the past, it was the alternative.

Going again to Drucker now, legislation companies aren’t right here to get shoppers and get cash from them or to get legal professionals and invoice them out (even when, in fact, we have now a revenue motive); as an alternative, we’re right here to create shoppers and create legal professionals on the legislation agency, identical to Drucker says.

Innovation ought to be angled to this objective, or it’s extra jejune. For instance, technological improvements are hardly recreation changers. They’re extra like desk stakes.  Should you don’t have no less than an inexpensive capacity to crank out paperwork, blackline them, and shoot them out tremendous quick on electronic mail, then you’ll be able to’t be within the recreation.  However in case you take a step again, cooler or sooner or extra spectacular methods to do the foregoing aren’t, in my opinion, going to actually create shoppers.

I’ve been round for eons now within the authorized world, however I haven’t but heard of a consumer coming to a legislation agency — or leaving a legislation agency — as a result of its know-how was superior or inferior. And though legal professionals hate technologically backward legislation companies, they hardly ever, if ever, change jobs as a consequence of tech and issues like that. The exception to the foregoing is for a legislation agency to be so inferior that the consumer or the legal professionals assume the legislation agency is trapped up to now and ought to be averted for that motive.

As an apart, I do know you aren’t creating legal professionals; my mental leap right here is to outline it in order that creating legal professionals means attracting and retaining those that work on the legislation agency and thrive of their careers on the agency.

So how does one create a consumer or a lawyer?

Now that may be a nice query, isn’t it? I suggest that future (profitable) legislation companies will reply that query very effectively. And those that both by no means even thought-about this query or couldn’t reply it’s going to battle with both failure (or merger right into a stronger participant) or gradual motion to irrelevancy over time.

So what’s the reply — how does one create a consumer or a lawyer — listed below are some fast ideas:

For each legal professionals and shoppers, give attention to one trade and be a pure play in that trade. This permits the legal professionals and shoppers to achieve authorized profit, enterprise concepts, contacts, and different advantages from interacting with helpful counterparties. For instance, we give attention to actual property as our pure play. I’ve seen different companies as pure performs in:

  • Litigation
  • Company and securities with IPO’s
  • Completely different specialties
  • A full U.S. footprint with workplaces in nearly each state
  • A worldwide participant with workplaces in lots of international locations

For legal professionals, give attention to the guts of why they might need to be on the legislation agency.  Normally, it is because of an opportunity to construct a profession, construct a e-book of enterprise, be taught their craft, and so forth. Our idea is known as ATR (standing for Entice, Practice, and Retain expertise).

For shoppers, give attention to what they need greater than something, which is often help in constructing their companies. Purchasers typically consider all of the legal professionals as a commoditized group; nonetheless, we have now discovered {that a} distinguishing issue is focusing (not on our enterprise targets) however on the consumer’s.

For (some) shoppers, give attention to relentless price discount. For different shoppers, give attention to extremely top quality. Completely different shoppers worth totally different attributes of their legal professionals. Some shoppers worth the abilities of the legal professionals way more than saving cash.  Nevertheless, for different shoppers, the associated fee is crucial, and for them, being a low-cost producer may very well be an excellent benefit.

For legal professionals, emphasize way of life, tradition, and different humanistic components.

For legal professionals and shoppers, too, emphasize range, flexibility, and comparable objects.

Total, the purpose is you don’t need to attempt to be all issues to all folks. It simply doesn’t work, or no less than it hardly ever works. As a substitute, there ought to be some area of interest — dare I say an influence area of interest — that focuses everybody on what the legislation agency is all about.

These improvements distinguish the legislation companies that can have future success from those who I feel will battle.


Bruce Stachenfeld is the chairman of Duval & Stachenfeld LLP, an roughly 50-lawyer legislation agency based mostly in midtown Manhattan. The agency is called “The Pure Play in Actual Property Regulation” as a result of all of its follow areas are centered round actual property. With nearly 50 full-time actual property legal professionals, the agency is likely one of the largest actual property legislation practices in New York Metropolis. You’ll be able to contact Bruce by electronic mail at bstachenfeld@dsllp.com. Bruce additionally writes The Actual Property Thinker™, which accommodates purposes of Bruce’s eclectic, insightful, and outside-the-box considering to the true property world. If you want to learn earlier articles or subscribe, please click on right here.



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