What is Legal Innovation?

It can often be difficult to clearly explain what legal innovation is. At first glance, you will likely think legal innovation is exclusive to technology. But, in reality, it is much more. Legal innovation aims to increase access to justice by offering high quality, yet affordable, legal services to ALL individuals.

The Law Society of British Columbia reported that only 15 per cent of people facing legal challenges consult a lawyer, whilst 70 per cent of them don’t seek any help at all.

With cost considered a major barrier for most Canadians, current gaps in the legal system only further alienate these groups.

As it becomes increasingly clear that a shift is necessary from the traditional corporate law firm model, legal innovation focuses on new ways of thinking about our current regulatory framework and legal practice. While the practice of law itself has not changed, the manner in which our services are delivered should.

Technology presents the unique opportunity to carry out these same tasks more efficiently and effectively, relieving the burden on lawyers. Innovators are working to create solutions by designing tools and interfaces which can take over time-consuming tasks and increase the value of client services. These efforts can take advantage of existing technology or drive the creation of new technology tools. But most often, the innovation doesn’t require any technology at all.

For example, there has been a recent push for introducing online courts. As courts remain increasingly out of place with our digital society, they are now overwhelmed by paper and manual processes. Consider the benefits of delivering court services with increased accessibility, speed, fewer errors and at a lower cost. It would also be much more intelligible to non-lawyers wanting to better understand the legal process. Currently, the Civil Resolution Tribunal in British Columbia is among the most advanced online courts in the world.

Law firms, both big and small, are beginning to employ designated employees to tackle legal innovation within their workplaces. Many of the same goals involved in business operations management and process optimization, could be incorporated into how lawyers conduct their profession. Ultimately, the legal industry is a business like any other. As so, it should also be working towards reaching peak optimization and integration.

Legal innovation allows innovators to blend their passions for entrepreneurship and law with their creative instincts, to bring about inventions that are revolutionizing the way we practice law today.

Applying Process Optimization

Process optimization is key to efficient resource management. Law firms like any type of business must operate in a timely and cost-effective manner to remain competitive in their market. Improving legal processes requires process automation. This allows for better resource allocation, but also involves standardized quality and monitoring. Implementing the right technology is key to successful process optimization. Innovation management is not only for big firms, but for those of any size.

Implementing Technology

Implementing and using technology plays an important role in process optimization. It allows law firms to remain competitive in their market by providing a high quality service in a timely manner. Implementing technology is a long-term component of legal innovation as it requires important time and financial investment. It should be planned carefully to suit your current business model, but also have the flexibility to support your future growth and expectations. 

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