Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

chemistry between different professionals and departments. I would also stress that big law in general is facing several major threats, such as the impact of the Big Four, the rise of legal tech and the commoditisation of specific tasks, the increasing power and number of inhouse counsels, and the war for talent. Someone could also say that the pyramid structure, the hierarchical approach, and the billable hours requirements are going to change quite soon. Once we realise all of this, it is a personal choice to be frightened or excited. How do you see the legal innovation scenario? If we look at data, there are rising and significant investments in legal tech. Plus, law firms are becoming more sensitive to the concept that, in the future, it will not be a matter of being a tech lawyer or not, but a matter of using tech in a good or bad way. That said, I still notice – at a global level – an excess of focus on results and less attention to the cultural element, which is necessary to foster innovation in a specific environment. I believe effort is necessary from both parties. On the legal innovators’ side, we need to accept that change in law firms is very slow and painstaking. On the law firms’ side, it means adopting a true R&D approach, which is based on repeated failures. Lawyers’ tendency to be riskaverse forces them to make each project sustainable and profitable, but innovation is a different matter. What are your three suggestions to legal professionals worldwide for promoting innovation? Sometimes we think about innovation in grand terms, but I do not think of law firms as innovation centres. If I want open innovation, I go to a software company. If I want fresh and dynamic approach to complex challenges, I go to a start-up. On the other hand, I believe that a law firm can be 10% or 20% more innovative than its competitors. That lawyers can be 10% or 20% happier, more collaborative, more inclusive. That clients can be 10% or 20% more satisfied in our services. And if we reach 30%, we could already represent a new business model. Another suggestion would be involving clients more. While every law firm’s website and brochure mentions client care as a core element, I still struggle to notice serious, tangible efforts from most of them – I mean in terms of surveys, feedback forms and projects developed together. My opinion is that if we consider clients are our biggest value source, then we should invest in knowing them better. The third suggestion would be spending some time looking at the future, whether in terms of new challenges and new jobs, or simply looking at the curve of exponential innovation. Lawyers and clients of tomorrow are making videos on TikTok, have different value sources, perceptions and paradigms and face challenges in a different way. We cannot be indifferent to these trends. The only chance we have to ride the wave is in embracing them. In addition to the above, what suggestions would you give to legal innovators? The first one should be to empathise with lawyers and in-house counsels. Most of them have stressful lives, hectic agendas and demanding tasks to cope with. The second is to surround yourself with great minds and different backgrounds. Sometimes the trick is not being a good lawyer or a good innovator, but in being in the right place at the right time. Contest matters. Last but not least, stop choosing the “best possible option” and start choosing the “least possible evil”. It changed my life as lawyer, and it is a powerful asset if used properly. Contact Marco Imperiale Head of Innovation LCA Studio Legale Via della Moscova 18, 20121 Milano MI, Italy E: JUL 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM MY LEGAL LIFE - MARCO IMPERIALE 27

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