RSG: How to? Innovation Strategy for Law Firm Leaders

RSG’s new How to? Report seeks to answer some of the universal questions that law firm leaders ask and curate some of the best ways we have seen to get over recurring challenges. The report has been designed as a slide deck so they can be sliced and diced to suit different purposes.

  1. Are law firms different from other businesses when it comes to innovation?
    We have chaired many round-tables where this question arises. There are arguments for and against. Here we analyse the obstacles to innovation in law firms and present the best approaches we see from firms who have been able to harness their lawyers’ strengths and encourage what initially appear to them to be counter intuitive behaviours.
  2. What is an innovative law firm today?
    Since 2016, Europe, in particular, has seen more change in its top law firms than it has in the last twelve years. The benchmarks of what is innovative are constantly changing. Here we analyse the most significant developments in 2017 globally and detail the challenges in different projects and how they were overcome.
    • Service delivery models: most law firms have accepted their service delivery models have to improve. However, lawyers’ take up of their firms’ alternative delivery options and capacity to see how it applies to their particular practice areas can be slow. How have the most successful firms got their lawyers to see the potential of alternative service delivery options? What are the latest iterations of these options and how are they being incorporated into mainstream legal advisory work?
    • Technology: Even in some of the most advanced law firms, becoming tech-enabled is a “minority” sport. But law firms have developed fast over the past three years. Here we illustrate the best ways we have seen law firms’ tech-enable their lawyers.  Is it worth setting up an R&D unit, for example? We unpick what it is that has allowed some firms to use technology to gain an edge on competitors, while others struggle.
    • Productising legal services: how are firms standardising elements of the legal process and packaging them up into products? Does this approach really risk commoditising an advisory legal business? What are the gains to be made? In addition, we will look at the future for law firm ‘products’ that are devised as business development tools but for which the law firms do not charge.
    • Data: how are law firms currently using their own data in the interests of the firm and their clients? Are there any firms with a clear data strategy? What steps are firms taking to build a data strategy and turn unstructured legal intelligence into valuable data?
  3. What is an innovative lawyer today?
    The role of a lawyer on a transaction or litigation matter has evolved in the past two decades and continues to evolve. RSG’s new framework as to what makes an innovative lawyer lays out the skill sets, experiences and attitudes partners need to have for the next five years and how best to get them.
  4. How do you teach lawyers to innovate?
    How are law firms and in-house teams creating innovative mindsets in their people? Many law firms are experimenting with staff engagement exercises. What are the best ways to run these initiatives and what are the likely outcomes?
  5. Understanding clients: Despite state-of-the-art client listening programmes, top law firms often complain that their partners are still not aligned enough with their clients. We share some of the unique insight we have gained from ranking hundreds of corporate law departments on their innovation and relevance to their businesses. In this section, we identify and analyse the most critical developments affecting law firm clients to make the case as to why, for partners, innovation is not just a ‘nice-to-have’, and how they can become truly client-centred.
  6. Collaboration: It is a critical driver of innovation but many law firms struggle to create internal collaborations, let alone external ones. Who should law firms be collaborating with and how? How can smart collaboration entirely alter the innovation profile of a law firm?
  7. Financial performance? Are innovative law firms more successful financially? We have correlated the financial results of the top 50 global law firms with their Financial Times innovation scores over a three-year period to answer that question.
    How to prove that innovation can give tangible benefits to clients and lawyers?

To order the report or see a taster, Contact Andrew Bowyer or Reena SenGupta at RSG Consulting: or on +44 (0) 20 7831 0300.
Pre-publication purchasers who order before the 16 April 2018 will be entitled to a 15% discount.

Underlying research and analysis:

  • Benchmarks and case studies are based on over 10,000 submissions on innovation received from law firms and legal service providers and over 11,000 research interviews conducted with leading lawyers, law firm managing partners and chairs, company general counsel, CEOs, and other legal industry clients since 2006 for the FT Innovative Lawyers programme globally.
  • Frameworks and insights are drawn from nearly 30 years analysing the legal profession, including consulting and major research assignments for law firms, corporate law departments and other professional service firms. In particular, analysis on how law firmsinnovate is compared and contrasted with academic and scholarly research into how innovation occurs in business and in science.