Legal Transformation - 5 Practical Steps for Today to be Ready for Tomorrow

As laid out in the evidence in my last post, we are at the end of the golden age of corporate law department as a large standalone service entity but only at the dawn of a brand new model for legal services.

Pace of transformation is picking up, but there are 5 practical steps you can begin today to be ready for tomorrow:

  1. Build a diverse resource pipeline: Know who the players are, their strengths and weaknesses so when you are called upon to build your next agile matter team, you’ll be ready.  If you do not have that information, with one phone call you should be able to reach someone with the answer. This means participating actively in professional organizations, but also creating a  network that extends beyond to other market entities.  Keep in mind that diversity at both an individual and entity level is important to bring a variety of perspectives to bear to arrive at the right solution. A marketplace tool, like PrioriLegal (A HearstLab investment) can also help with right resource identification.
  2. Focus on Smooth Handoffs:  If you have ever participated in team sports or in a performing arts troupe, or are a magician, you know how important seamless transitions are.  You rehearse timing for hours on end.  As we shift to multi-entity teams, you have to focus not only on the activities themselves but on the baton handoffs.  How are you going to eliminate bobbles and drops?  Checklists and workflow tools, and good communication habits are key.
  3. Make Habits of Change, Resilience and Good Communication: Make training and learning new skills a core part of your work routine for yourself personally, for your team and department. You don’t have to manage a team to do this.  You can find one or more like-minded colleagues and learn a new work skill together. Find opportunities to practice these skills until they become second nature. Help your learning buddies reinforce their skills too.  Share your excitement for what you are doing with colleagues who may be more reticent or cautious.  Be a good example.
  4. Seek out experience with Natural Language Processing, Robotic Process Automation and Blockchain tools: This is continuation of the prior point, but more specific.  You may not be able to swing all 3, but find a way to get hands on deployment experience with at least one.  Both Microsoft and Google, for example, have open source tools you can take free tutorials on.  Once upon a time, this would have been “learn to use a computer.” Just think where you would be now if you had not learned to use a computer.  This is that advice. 
  5. Get Certified: More of us will shift jobs more often. Bolster the experience on your resume by getting certified where a reputable body exists: ALA’s Certified Legal Manager, SHRM for human resources; for project management Agile, PMI or Six Sigma certification, and recently Buying Legal Council’s procurement certification. Certification offers a hiring manager a short cut to know you have the training and the vocabulary to hit then ground running.  When they need someone you’ll be ready to fill that need.