21 Aug 2015
2015 Legal Innovation Index shows large law making return to innovation
21 Aug 2015
Adoption of disruptive technologies for client engagement, CPD delivery and business development, along with the introduction of formal innovation approaches and agile methodologies have seen large law make a powerful return to the 2015 Legal Innovation Index, announced last night by LexisNexis® Pacific and Janders Dean, after being firmly kept off the prestigious Index last year by small to mid-size law firms.
2015 Legal Innovation Index judge, Dr George Beaton of Beaton Capital, said this year's entries are at a world-class level. "The legal services ecosystem in Australia is at last showing signs of emerging technology and business model-based innovation. This applies to both B2B and B2C providers as well the in-house demand side. This year's entries are of the highest order, many rivalling what I am seeing in the UK and North America", he said.
Jo Beckett, General Manager of LexisNexis Australia congratulated the Index winners for a standout year that has seen innovative thinking and practices being embraced company-wide across so many legal organisations and teams. "The 2014 Legal Innovation Index showed us the excellent results when small to mid-size firms threw away the rule book and built or re-engineered their business with innovation at its core. 2015 shows a readiness across the whole legal services profession to explore different ideas around what innovation can bring to its staff and clients, the business benefits of new service offerings, new clients, markets and more engaged staff," she added.
The winning organisations who receive a place on the 2015 Legal Innovation Index are:
- Allens for the Allens Accelerate program that helps start-ups get their legal affairs in order working with the firm's younger lawyers, giving younger lawyers responsibility while designing a service to meet the needs of a new potential client base.
- Envato's legal team for their plain language drafting style providing immense value to its internal clients. Along with their use of Agile workflow management practices, Envato has fostered increased efficiency in their small team and created a more sustainable workplace for its lawyers.
- Gilbert + Tobin for their outstanding use of app technology in translating the knowledge of an expert partner and making it accessible to the entire legal team, especially junior lawyers, significantly reducing the time spent on applications and guiding them through decision making processes as well as the digital delivery of their in-house CPD program.
- Herbert Smith Freehills for their Mindfulness program of online and in-office meditation programs for staff, a first in the Australian legal industry, in addition to their delivery of client knowledge and learning across digital platforms.
- LawPath for being a pioneer in the Australian legal document automation and subscription-based legal services including their Easy ESS solution developed in consultation with the ATO, as a simple, automated solution that businesses can use to complete Employee Share Schemes standardised documents provided by the government.
- McCullough Robertson Lawyers for their Innovation Jam, a systematic approach to innovation involving all internal employees to create service delivery excellence or new products that creates value for clients and new business ideas, such as the 'Healthy Days Benefit', where staff with 16 days leave can take 4 healthy days off per annum.
- Norton Rose Fulbright for delivering two practical and client-focused legal tools: ContractorCheck, an online survey to accurately characterise working relationships and allows contractors to be certain of their status and a franchise tool that gives fully paperless solution to franchise document production, compliance, document management and record keeping.
- RMB Lawyers for developing a new and separate law firm, Unison Outsourcing Pty Ltd that acts in unison with existing legal business; and creating a Local Government Town Planning Portal to provide information to Council clients.
- Sydney Criminal Lawyers for producing free-to-access information to better inform and prepare people facing the justice system in NSW. This includes the first iOS app providing information about the criminal defence process and the provision of blogs to order.
- The Fold Legal for being a small firm using technology, clear-headed strategy and imagination to punch above its weight in a specialist market. The Fold's focus on not over-lawyering is ahead of the curve and the appointment of a Head of Clients & Innovation demonstrates its serious commitment to innovation based on client understanding.
The winning individuals are:
- Matthew Burgess, Director, View Legal for founding ViewLegal, a fixed price business model that leverages technology and customer-centricity to great effect. It includes the View Intellectual Property (VIP) platform which includes an adviser network and a broad range of resources for a small subscription. Every subscription includes a donation to B1G1, a great way to acknowledge some external inspiration.
- Brennan Ong, Managing Director, LawAdvisor for creating a cloud-based platform for legal information, which aims to increase accessibility to justice in empowering everyday Australians to understand, protect and enforce their legal rights and also offers work experience to students and recent graduates. It represents a marketing platform for law firms as fees are charged only once the lawyer is engaged.
- Dr Cathy Sherry, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales for developing an online Moodle site that represents a new way for UNSW students to study land law. It will lead to better educated lawyers with a better understanding of this challenging subject.
- Dominic Woolrych, Legal Product Manager, LawPath for thinking more deeply about how clients can get the best value out of legal document automation with an accessible solution to identified problems as evidenced by the company's products Legal Health Check and ESS.
"2015 is certainly the year of the democratisation of the legal process in Australia," added Justin North, Director, Janders Dean. "We have seen so many exciting projects that demystify and provide better access to legal service for clients in a more affordable way. We are also seeing large law create dual brands with different offerings for different markets and this is a very smart move in a 'tight' marketplace.
"What has been great to see is the innovations around business development, client engagement and staff wellbeing – innovation is bring applied across the whole legal practice in Australia," he added.
The prestigious panel of judges included: Professor Michael Adams, UWS; Josh Kubicki, Legal Transformation Institute, Michigan State University; Joanna Goodman, Law Society Gazette; Richard Burcher, Validatum; George Beaton, Beaton Capital; Laura Vickers, Nest Legal; John Humphrey, QUT Law School; Denise Farmer (LexisNexis) and Justin North (Janders Dean).
To hear more about each winner's story please visit: http://lexisnexis.com.au/legal-innovation-index/index.html.
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