Innovation in Law Practice, 1019 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 5. 30

AuthorShantelle Argyle, J.
PositionVol. 32 5 Pg. 30

Innovation in Law Practice

No. Vol. 32 No. 5 Pg. 30

Utah Bar Journal

October, 2019

September, 2019


Shantelle Argyle, J.

Many lawyers develop their practices by borrowing ideas from others, signing up for free trials of new software solutions or using Google for pressing problems and are just plugging along just trying to make a living.

We often long to solve our problems and increase efficiencies by writing a check to an expert for the newest, latest, and greatest tech. It then promptly sits idle or becomes obsolete before we ever see any benefit. It's tempting to hope that we can pass the problem on to a robot, but in reality, most lawyers simply do not have the know-how or resources for a truly automated practice.

Those firms that have devoted the time and energy to identifying and analyzing their processes are well positioned to act on that crucial information and improve, both internally and externally, for the benefit of their team and their clients.

If attorneys want to deliver exceptional service, run an efficient and productive firm, and get paid for all of that, solutions to problems need to come from human-centered design.

What is it Human-centered Design?

Human-centered Design (HCD) is a philosophy that focuses on the people affected by a problem and includes their perspectives when designing solutions. For example, imagine that a paralegal points out frustration with the process for assembling a trial binder. The paralegal mentions the supplies are located too far from the printer, which makes the whole process take longer. While the paralegal might benefit from the extra steps for the day, lost time and efficiency also means lost money to the client.

Using both the client's perspective (paying for inefficiency inflates legal fees and decreases client satisfaction) and the paralegal's perspective (inefficiency keeps him or her from moving on to the next task), you determine that building shelving and an assembly station next to the printer will resolve the issue and increase productivity. The client is happy that a task takes less time and therefore costs less. What was previously always a frustrating experience for the paralegal is now quicker and easier and, as a bonus, serves as a reminder that you listened to his or her perspective. This solution did not require a speck of technology, and yet had...

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