Innovation is a word we hear quite frequently, specifically in the context of law firms needing to find ways to beat the competition and face a maturing industry’s challenges head on in order to keep their firms alive. To be truly innovative means looking outside one’s industry and studying other successful business models to determine how they may transfer to the legal industry. This is difficult to do even in the most strategic and visionary of companies, never mind adding a layer of skepticism, cynicism and disinterest in changing the way things work right now. It takes a thoughtful, patient and visionary leader to accomplish these goals.
Seyfarth Shaw’s Chairman, Stephen Poor, has led his firm through a cultural transformation using education, Lean Six Sigma processes, technology investments and an emphasis on continuously improving on success along the way. His firm created new delivery models for its services in alignment with client needs through its Seyfarth Lean approach. When asked about his perspective on innovation, Poor comments, “Why have more law firms not been innovative in the broader, more classic sense of the term? Until recently, the market has not required anything approaching innovation. Think about the string of years from 2002 and 2008. All you had to do was get bigger and charge more money—that’s hardly a business driver for innovation. You put together the lack of a burning platform along with the fact that most lawyers really resist change and it lays the foundation for why there has not been more innovation.”