Kerry Westland is the head of innovation and legal technology at the top 20 law firm Addleshaw Goddard. She had the pleasure of kicking the day off as the keynote speaker yesterday at a great new event in London called Legal Innovators. The huge clue as to what the day's main theme centered around is in the title and Kerry very handily started by giving her own definition of what innovation means. 'The use of a new idea or method that adds value'. Key to Kerry's interpretation is that whatever the innovation may be, it needs to improve on how things are currently done. This isn't limited to just technology and should, of course, include people and the processes adopted by law firms.
At Addleshaw Goddard, Kerry and team have broken this down into 5 specific areas:
1. New Products- Mainly linked to new revenue streams via products, solutions, and services offered to AG clients.
2. Internal Efficiency Projects- This is the main priority and focus of the team and is delivered through margin enhancement through the practice areas.
3. Live Client Work- Including some of the largest matters within AG and using tech to enable the delivery of these.
4. Pitch & BD Support- Every pitch at AG is touched and supported in some way by the innovation team.
5. Embedding Digital Transformation- Embedding technology in the DNA of AG via engagement and training
Even with these five key cornerstones in place, Kerry still stressed the point that adoption is the biggest single barrier to innovation and she likened the resistance to change in some areas of the business to when the bake-off moved from the BBC to Channel 4!
The positive conclusion for any team just starting out on the innovation journey from Kerry was the fact that although it has been a long hard slog, it was worth it. There was also an element of just scratching the surface and if collaboration between technology, clients and other law firms can truly take place, then the opportunities are endless.