Cultivate Your Innovation Mindsets to Build Your Future Practice Today, 0122 SCBJ, SC Lawyer, January 2022, #38

AuthorBy Juda Strawczynski
PositionVol. 33 Issue 4 Pg. 38

Cultivate Your Innovation Mindsets to Build Your Future Practice Today

No. Vol. 33 Issue 4 Pg. 38

South Carolina Bar Journal

January, 2022

By Juda Strawczynski

The legal services sectors are experiencing a period of rapid, significant change. With the COVID-19 pandemic shining a spotlight on the shortcomings of antiquated parts of our justice system and legal practice models, courts and law firms quickly shifted processes and practices throughout 2020. There’s no turning back. To help you plan for the future of your practice, you can embrace innovation mindsets, which are different ways of thinking that help us create processes and ideas that improve our lives.

Here are 20 innovation tips to: • get you in an innovation frame of mind

• help you find your innovation inspiration

• give you practical tips to succeed in any innovation project

• equip you for long-term success


Choose your own adventure

You get to choose your adventures in law. You decide how you want to practice and whom you wish to serve.

Especially when you’re busy, it’s hard to remember that you have agency over your tasks and priorities in your practice—and your personal life too. It can be hard to be honest about what you want to do, and what it may take to get there, but you get to choose. By taking ownership of your practice and where it will go, you empower yourself to effect changes for the better. By embracing agency over passivity, we become open to change.

Reflect on where you want to go

You’re busy—but set time to reflect on your practice, including where you are, and where you want to be heading, including your innovation journey Set time each month for self-reflection and self-assessment regarding your practice goals.

Self-reflection: What are your goals for: • Client development

• Client pipelines and business development

• Client management

• The progress of your cases

• Your legal skills, practice management and innovation goals

• Your personal management

Self-assessment: For each area, how are you doing? For example: • How did you apply your legal skills to a recent challenging situation?

What was the situation? What were the pressures making this challenging for you?

How did you react?

How did you proceed?

What other options were available?

How might you proceed differently in similar situations?

• For your legal innovation journey:

What’s working?

What’s an area you may wish to further refine?

What are areas you may wish to work on next?

Use your diverse skills to drive change

A good lawyer doesn’t just know the law—they use a host of skills to serve clients. The “lawyer mindset” is not just about understanding and applying the law— skills in business development, people and project management, leadership, emotional intelligence and empathy[1] all play a part. Recognize the diverse skills and mindsets you use as a lawyer, as described by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (see graphic on page 38).

Harness all your skills to advance your innovation mandate. If you’re worried that some areas are not where they should be, that could be a sign there is room for growth and improvement.


Take inspiration from other sectors

It’s often said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Lawyers should take inspiration from other sectors. If no-shows for client intakes are an issue, you can consider how doctors and dentists reduce the risk of no-shows for appointments through simple changes like calling the patient to confirm, to smartphone apps that simplify and automate the confirmation process. Other service sectors are a great source of inspiration and imitation.

Get inspired by your clients: Focus on their experiences

Law practices exist to serve clients, and in today’s markets clients have more choice than ever. To find clients, retain them, and grow your relationships, it’s important to consider the client’s perspective. Listen to them, as they are a great source of ideas for what changes will help most. When thinking about your client and prospective clients, consider: • How a potential client might first learn about your services (or why they might not learn about you at all)

• The prospective client’s first touch point with your firm—the initial impression

• The client intake experience: What kind of client onboarding experience do you provide? How do you prepare clients before their first meeting? How do you work toward building trust from the outset?

• How does the client feel about when and how they receive communications from you?

• Are fees clear, and are clients able to understand their bills? Will the client feel...

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