Innovation In Law Firms. Thoughts And Perspectives

Abstract Marco Imperiale, lawyer and innovation officer at LCA Studio Legale, provides a fresh and dynamic perspective on innovation in law firms. In this interview, he discusses core concepts like the meaning of innovation, future forecasts for law firms and the peculiarities of the Italian legal market.

Every time we hear the term "innovation", we consciously or unconsciously think about technological innovation: focusing only on technology, however, can be prejudicial. Today, I would like us to concentrate on non-technological innovation. So, what about legal innovation outside the tech field?

I totally agree with you on the point. If we look at the etymological meaning of the term "innovation", we notice that it derives from the combination of Latin words "in" and "novus", which lead to a specific meaning: "looking at things from a new perspective". As we can see, technology is not intrinsically related to the concept. I would go further, saying that even today it is not the most important element, at least when it is used as a means and not as a goal.

Innovation, indeed, goes way beyond technology, both in the legal and in the non-legal world. For example, concepts like smart collaboration - both with clients and among colleagues - work/life balance (or, as I prefer, work/life integration), legal design, data driven analysis and decisions, gamification, and reverse mentoring can be great examples of innovation in the legal world. I would also stress the development of soft skills, like the meaningful use of empathy, both in terms of relationships with colleagues and the acknowledgement of the clients' needs; or a structured approach to feedback, which could help improve professional relationships inside and outside law firms.

Even if these fields are highly different, they have two points in common. The first one is the change of point of view required to the lawyer, in order to provide prompter, better and more informed choices to his clients. The second is the need of a customer-centric approach. The client won't just be the recipient of a service, but rather a journey companion, a source of information, and the best possible ally for the legal professional. The ones who will have the courage to ride the wave of change will shape their success accordingly.

How do you see the Italian legal market scenario 5 years from now? What is your forecast regarding the legal sector along with the issues related to the Italian system?

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