Discover how the world’s most progressive law companies are doing law differently.
There's lots of talk about why we need to change the legal industry, but much less about how to do it. The Doing Law Differently podcast taps into the valuable knowledge of those who are walking the talk of NewLaw. Host, Lucy Dickens interviews leaders of progressive law companies who are reinventing traditional legal practice and transforming the profession for the better.
From alternative fee arrangements and new technology to innovative business models and new ways of delivering services, find out what NewLaw looks like from the inside.
Join Lucy Dickens in her weekly conversations with forward-thinking leaders in law who share how they’re doing law differently.
The T-shaped lawyer: Developing people, not just technology (ep 73)
As I am often preaching on this podcast, lawyers of the future and successful lawyers of today will need to be more business-minded. A question that often comes up is what does that mean in practice? What are the key skills that modern lawyers should be equipped with?
Today’s guest, Peter Connor, has the answer.
Peter has developed the ‘T-shaped lawyer’ framework, all about the skills and competencies that a modern legal professional needs to assert themselves, integrate into the business they work in and become part of the decision-making from the early stages. The framework was inspired by the well known ‘T-shaped professional’ concept, explained in the episode and at the end of these show notes.
Peter’s business, Alternatively Legal, works with firms and in-house teams to implement a specially-designed program for developing skills beyond their core areas of expertise. It’s about transforming and learning new ways of thinking and doing, which are rapidly becoming imperatives in a world where working collaboratively with non-legal professionals is more and more important. Peter says:
“Think of yourself as not just a lawyer. You can be, and you should be, more than that. The ’T-shaped’ concept gives you a nice idea of what that might mean.”
In this episode, Peter provides an in-depth rundown of how his program works, how it can be tailored to different roles (from juniors to partners) and the results that people can expect from taking the course.
Peter explains that a true T-shaped professional must be across all the core competencies, they can’t try to opt-out of one aspect of the program:
“The answer is no, because everyone needs to be at least level one or two in everything. As a T-shaped lawyer, you have to be able to identify opportunities, like design thinking opportunities, so even if you’re not the person who’s going to be executing it, you’ll be able to have an intelligent conversation with an expert.”
What is Peter doing differently? He’s built a program that focuses companies on the humans who work for them, rather than the digital mediators and facilitators that tend to dominate the broader conversation about business development. More than that, he’s broken down and defined all aspects of what a person could need to succeed as a business-minded lawyer. Maybe that’s why he calls himself a ‘Legal Architect’.
If you’re not already familiar with the ‘T-shaped professional’ concept, the vertical line of the T represents your core area of expertise (legal expertise, in this context) while the horizontal line represents everything else – all the skillsets, mindsets and knowledge that may not pertain directly to the main thrust of your job, but that enable you as an individual within a company to do some pretty cool things.
Listen to the episode to learn more about how Peter has applied this concept to the legal profession.
This episode is brought to you by Nexus Law Group and LawCPD.
About our guest
Peter Connor is the Founder and CEO of AlternativelyLegal. Peter has worked all over the world helping in-house lawyers reinvent themselves and reimagine their way of working. He has developed the unique T-shaped in-house lawyer framework and T-shaped legal team framework.
Estate Planning Reimagined: How to attract clients when your legal work is proactive? (ep 72)
Lucy Percy is the founder of one of my favourite estate planning law firms, Head and Heart Estate Planning. She’s joining me this week to talk about the intricacies of working with families and having sensitive conversations, the challenges of marketing to that audience and the politics behind generously sharing expert information – something that Lucy wholeheartedly embraces.
Over the few years that I’ve known Lucy, we’ve shared a first name, an area of expertise in estate planning and many late-night conversations, often about being working mums in the law.
Lucy makes a promise to her clients to deliver a pathway to a loving and secure future for their children, whatever it holds, and she fulfils that promise in myriad ways (which she explains in the episode).
We also cover the challenges of marketing our services, given that engaging an estate planner is essentially a proactive exercise as opposed to a reactive one (as it usually is when people interact with the law).
“90% of my work isn’t writing wills, it’s actually convincing my clients to walk through the door in the first place.”
It isn’t easy, but Lucy seems to have cracked it, so listen to hear her approach to marketing.
Lucy tells us about her new online course, ‘Future-Proof your Family: an Estate Planning Course’, intended to spark important conversations in real households. The video course, complete with a set of questions at the end of each module, frees up time for Lucy to deep-dive with her clients in the initial consultation rather than spending it giving them a legal education. So, it’s a value-adder but it’s also not just about business:
“It’s not a funnel for me, it’s a stand-alone product. I don’t mind if you don’t use me after using the course, I love the idea of sharing education at scale. Now that it’s been produced, it’s a wonderful way to give without losing anything.”
Finally, we touch on the topic of managing a business and a family at the same time, something I don’t talk about enough on this podcast. Lucy gives a very realistic account of her own experience and candid advice for anyone thinking of doing the same.
This episode is brought to you by Nexus Law Group and LawCPD.
About our guest
Led by Principal Lawyer, Lucy Percy, Head and Heart Estate Planning is for couples with young families wanting to take charge of their responsibilities to each other and their children.
If you’re looking for a plan tailored to the emotional and financial needs of young children who lose a parent in childhood, to provide them with security and love after your or your partner’s death then their help and advice has been specifically designed for you.
Find Lucy online
* Head and Heart Estate Planning * Instagram * Facebook
Lucy Percy quotes
* “90% of my work isn’t writing wills, it’s actually convincing my clients to walk through the door i...
Is ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Really What Clients Want? A Conversation About Lawyer Formation and the Future of Law With Jordan Furlong (ep 71)
If Jordan Furlong’s name sounds familiar, you might have seen it on the front cover of my book under his impressive review. Or, you might be aware of him through the speeches about the future of law that he delivers around the world, his book ‘Law is a Buyer’s Market’, his articles on his website Law21 or his term, ‘Lawyer formation’.
If you’re looking for the video recording of this interview, you can find it here.
‘Lawyer formation’ is the term Jordan’s uses to describe the process of becoming a lawyer – from the very first moment you think ‘I want to be a lawyer’ to the moment that you actually feel ready to practise. One of his points is that we credential lawyers too early and thus unknowingly give birth to a kind of imposter syndrome – all too familiar, anyone?
We talk a lot about that in the second half of the episode. But first, Jordan’s thoughts on Covid-19 and the well-known mantra ‘faster, better, cheaper’.
Very recently, Jordan saw a tweet from Doug Downey, the Attorney General of Ontario, discussing all the changes that have been brought about by Covid-19; a new court system, online appearances and the dying need for paper copies. The headline of the tweet, though, was that Doug used the word ‘permanent’. Jordan says:
“When the attorney general says it’s a permanent change… It’s a permanent change!”
That gives me hope. But the slow, patient work still has to be done and to do that, we’re going to need some better mantras. ‘Faster, better cheaper’, Jordan says, is only really important to a small group of clients, mostly in corporate environments, who are under constant pressure to cut costs. Jordan’s alternative is a question that works for all clients and needs:
“Are we doing the job as well as it can reasonably be done in all dimensions?”
Much better. We move on to ‘lawyer formation’ and chat about what’s missing from the current curriculum, Jordan’s concept of which extends far beyond degrees and qualifications into the world of apprenticeships, holistic educations and the actual ‘junior lawyer experience’.
How can we do more to help newbies transition from theory to practice? How can law firms mentor and supervise better? Should we really be expecting new associates to bill 1000-1500 hours of work in their first year? If these questions are or ever have been circling your head, please listen to what Jordan has to say.
His parting advice is solid:
“Before you start reading resources and materials, before you talk to innovators and leaders, before you investigate how law can be done differently, start in your head and your heart. What is your purpose? Why are you here? Because at the end of the day, the market is asking that question every day. The market is headwinds, the market wants you to fail, and to make sure that doesn’t happen you have to be anchored and the place you want to be anchored in is ‘Why am I here?’”
About our guest
Jordan Furlong of Ottawa, Canada, is a legal market analyst who delivers strategic counsel to law firms and legal organisations regarding the massive changes now underway in the legal sector. He has given dozens of presentations about the future of law throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia over the past decade. He is the author of Law Is A Buyer’s Market: Building a Client-First Law Firm and writes regularly about the rapidly changing legal world at his ...
‘Netflix for Lawyers’: A Story of Overcoming Fear To Tackle Access To Justice with Laura Keily, Founder of Immediation (ep 70)
Laura Keily is a barrister, an entrepreneur and the founder and managing director of Immediation, a tech startup that’s not dissimilar to Netflix… for lawyers. In this episode, we talk about innovation, automation and the wider battle for access to justice which sits firmly at the top of Laura’s priority list.
In broad strokes, Immediation is a virtual courtroom and mediation tool for courts, tribunals and lawyers. Laura also went a step further by adding her own dispute resolution services to the platform, AKA creating her own content (the Netflix link).
When Laura launched her company in March 2020, she didn’t expect it to grow from zero to 2,000 users in five days. That incredible upswing was partly due to good timing, since the platform’s offering of courtroom digitalisation coincided with Covid-19’s impact on remote working policies:
“At the start of the pandemic, no one really knew what to do. But we’d been thinking about remote hearings for three years already so our process was ahead of where the market was up to.”
So, Laura has her own good foresight to thank. But more than that, Immediation is a sign of the times, proof that some members of the legal profession are interested and invested in changing the way that people access the legal system for the better. Customers can use and benefit from Immediation despite being unrepresented or not having large amounts of capital to back them up.
To any listening lawyers, Laura has this to say: “When you see a client who needs an alternative solution, which is to go straight to a dispute resolution process, Immediation is something to have in your toolkit. It’s also about being aware that if someone comes to you who can’t afford you at all, we are a point of referral.”
Listen for advice, for insights into technological change and for a rundown of how a new legal business operates. But also listen for the story of a woman who has single-handedly (without minimising the efforts of her team) created a positive business despite the fear and risk-aversion that – she says – is conditioned into all lawyers.
“In the wake of Covid-19, old ideas are being swept away so new, fresh ideas can come in which I think is fantastic for our younger generation, for the environment and for legal practice in general which needs to keep up with other industries lest it become an esoteric thing which only wealthy companies can afford.”
This episode is brought to you by Nexus Law Group and LawCPD.
More about Laura Keily
Laura Keily is a thought leader on improving access to justice using technology and a barrister, specialising in complex commercial litigation. Prior to joining the Bar, Laura was a corporate lawyer with over 13 years’ experience in top tier firms, including in London’s Magic Circle. She has advised listed, public and large private companies, government and not-for-profits, delivering high value and high-risk transactions (e.g. at Slaughter and May, London, she was the lead Senior Associate on the global sale of hotels by Hilton Hotels International to Hilton USA, (£3bn).
Laura has three first class degrees (BSC (chemistry), LLB(Hons) and Masters of Commercial Law), and is a qualified company director and arbitrator. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution.
Are You Ready For Another Year Doing Law Differently? (ep 69)
Happy New Year! The Doing Law Differently Podcast is back and ready to bring you another year full of interviews with leading legal innovators to inspire your own business development journey.
For the first episode of 2021, I’m encouraging you to consider where the opportunity lies for you to Do Law Differently. I share three tips for planning for the year ahead:
* Start with your vision – it really is the foundation block
The Wheel of Life is one of my favourite tools to help identify your focus areas when goal setting and planning. Download your Wheel Of Life worksheet here.
* Plan in quarterly increments
Find out why three-month increments are perfect for planning.
* Prioritise well and get comfortable with letting good ideas wait
If I can learn how to be patient with my ideas, you can too! I share my best techniques for getting comfortable with a “yes, but not right now”.
The first season for 2021 is brought to you by Nexus Law Group and LawCPD. I am incredibly grateful for the support of both of these organisations who are enabling me to continue to bring the podcast to you.
If you’re Doing Law Differently and would like to share your story on the podcast, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.
My new book – It’s Time To Do Law Differently
My new book It’s Time to Do Law Differently: How to Reshape Your Firm and Regain Your Life is now available! You can get your signed copy here.
In It’s Time to Do Law Differently, I share my six-step blueprint for transforming your law firm. Learn how to move from a traditional practice to a productised ecosystem and as a bonus, you might just get that quality lifestyle that you’ve been craving.
If you haven’t got your copy yet, you can get a signed copy here or find the paper back and e-book on Amazon, Booktopia or your favourite online bookstore.
Thank you to Nexus Law Group
This episode is brought to you by Nexus Law Group. For those seeking positive career change, Nexus Law Group offers senior lawyers the freedom of sole practice with all the support and infrastructure you need so you can focus on what...
Regulatory Barrier Busting with Jennie Pakula (ep 68)
Today’s guest is Jennie Pakula, Manager of Innovation and Consumer Engagement at the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner. Jennie describes The Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner as a modern regulator who is trying to perform their role in a risk-based, innovative and consumer-focused way. Jennie’s unique role sees her spending her time understanding the barriers to legal innovation and do what she can to get rid of them.
What I love most about Jennie’s approach is that she is shifting the perspective. Instead of asking what a lawyer is doing wrong, she’s instead asking about the problem that consumers are experiencing and then working with the profession to better meet those needs.
We talk about the common complaints that Jennie sees in her role, with around 50% of complaints being around issues that really boil down to poor customer service.
We also debunk some myths – is regulation really holding back innovation in the profession? We consider that question in the context of pricing, commoditised legal services and the dreaded information vs advice conundrum.
About Jennie Pakula
Jennie Pakula was admitted to legal practice in December 1988. She has worked in legal services regulation in NSW and Victoria since 1994. She has interacted with hundreds of lawyers and consumers, and while managing the front end of the complaints and enquiries function, she read over 14,000 client complaints. Jennie has written numerous articles and guidance tools to help lawyers overcome common problems, avoid complaints and practice law better. She also regularly participates in conferences and presentations aimed at helping lawyers to understand issues in regulation, consumer protection and innovation. Jennie is currently Manager, Innovation and Consumer Engagement at the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner. She is driven by the goal of helping to foster more accessible and affordable legal services for average people.
* Connect with Jennie Pakula on LinkedIn * Find out more about innovation at the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner * Carly Stebbing on the Doing Law Differently Podcast * Clarissa Rayward on the Doing Law Differently Podcast
Jennie Pakula quotes
* “One of the big things that I’ve observed in many years of looking at complaints is how much of a disconnect there is between what lawyers think they’re selling and what clients think they’re buying.” * “A lot of the regulatory barriers that people think are there are imaginary rather than actual. A great example is around pricing of legal services. There’s a lot of people who think that you have to record your time and charge by the hourly rate, but that’s not the case at all.” * “There’s a sense in which people mistake the conventional and traditional way of doing things to what’s required in regulation. The regulation is a lot more flexible.” * “Lawyers have a mindset of caution and risk aversion. We don’t want to do the wrong thing … there’s a lack of a feeling of freedom to try to do something differently and to try to do things better.” * “If you want to do something differently, you’ve got to be confident, competent, smart, wise,
Customer ReviewsSee All
Access to Justice - tech & the law
I have just listened to my first Doing Law Differently podcast which I kicked off as I pondered my next pitch to a prospective client...
I have been a fan of accessing ‘the law’ using different channels for a long time - this podcast has just re-inspired me and already looking forward to listening to more of Lucy’s interviews.
Lots of practical tips
Lucy’s podcast is one that I regularly listen to. I find it both inspirational to listen to other lawyers trying to change our profession for the better and refreshing to hear lawyers openly sharing their thoughts in a non competitive environment. I regularly pick up ideas or concepts from the show that challenge me for our firm to grow and adapt again.
Accessible, fun and packed with great tips and advice
For those interested in innovation in the legal space you’ll learn something new each ep.