As with sectors such as healthcare, education and housing, Design Thinking is driving innovation and revolutionising products and services in the legal domain as well. Perhaps, Design Thinking has been used more than any other approach for innovation in recent years, and indeed, has taken the world by storm. Adopting this approach helps in building better client relationships, developing new legal services/products and a more cultured mindset of law firms. Want to know more about it? Scroll down and have a look at the blog about how practising Design Thinking can cut across legal issues in a company.

Read More: How Can Design Thinking be used in solving complex problems of the IT Industry?

Classic Examples of Design Thinking Application in Legal System  

  • Helps with Delivering Legal Service 

Some of the best law firms in the world are using Design Thinking to restructure their legal services and enhance their firm’s value proposition to clients. In the recent past, there has been an increase in the number of forward-looking clients who are seeking solutions that are fit for their future. And it is also one of the reasons law firms these days are getting proactive in cultivating Design Thinking to serve them better.

In 2017—a Chicago based firm—Baker McKenzie launched an initiative, Whitespace Legal Collab’.19, that brought together academics, designers, executives, information technology experts and lawyers under one roof with the purpose of encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration. The sole purpose of this initiative was for creative problem-solving to thrive and help lawyers navigate complex legal issues. The program also focused on making the most of technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing to address the multifaceted challenges. 

When it comes to improving client services using Design Thinking, another brilliant example that often gets a lot of attention is the service model of Seyfarth Shaw, a Chicago based law firm. After the initial research, they reorganised [Seyfarth Shaw] that the costs of legal services play a primary and determining factor for clients to opt for a law firm. They came up with the idea of creating a Client Playbook, which mapped out the individual needs of clients, interests and touchpoints. So, as a new practise  employees started to use that book to reframe the relationship as a journey, which not only proved to be cost-effective but also promoted functional value for the clients.

  • Aims to Improve the internal processes 

Apart from client engagement and improving legal services, yet another principle of Design Thinking is to improve internal processes. Hogan Lovells, a law firm based out in London, used Design Thinking at their firm to improve the performance review process and facilitate more efficient talent development and employee engagement.

Every year, associates at the firm received regular feedback, but it lacked specificity and substance, with little guidance provided on areas for improvement. They initially started by identifying what the associates are expecting out of their performance review and knowing their feedback on the current performance feedback process. The next step of the Design Thinking process was to identify what Hogan Lovells, as a firm, sought to accomplish from its performance reviews and what they were expecting from employees. 

After listening to both sides, they came up with a solution of creating specific solution note cards that include specific questions for each associate to facilitate 10-minute conversations between associates and their supervisors. With the help of targeted questions, the feedback session became more engaging and formalised.

  • Creates a Better Working Performance

It is not only large companies, but also small-scale legal firms, and even sole-proprietors that can use Design thinking to maintain profit margins, optimising performance and retain new clients to sustain their businesses. Moreover, innovation helps existing business strategies gain a competitive edge in the industry. However, Design Thinking implementation differs from firm to firm in terms of their design depending on the particular requirements of an organisation.  For example, in the case of a sole-proprietor, they can use Design Thinking to make their office setting less intimidating for clients. Moreover, Design Thinking can enhance the client experience and build better lawyer-client relationships and client goodwill, which is of utmost importance for a smaller business. 

Read More: Enhance Your Customers’ Retail Experience with Design Thinking

Future of Design Thinking in Legal

Aforementioned are some examples of how embracing Design Thinking provided some unique opportunities for law firms. But now the question is: what does the future hold? 

In the present scenario, clients not only demand legal knowledge from the lawyer but also legal services from their firm, due to which, Design Thinking is continuing to gain momentum within the legal profession. From enhancing access to justice to improving organisational processes and promoting legal services, Design Thinking, if done right, can be integral for working legal professions. One of the fundamental frameworks of Design Thinking is to enable lawyers and law firms to place clients’ needs as the central focus of providing services without losing sight of business considerations, as the examples above have demonstrated. Primarily, Design Thinking cultivates a culture of innovation that not only helps in building better clients but also helps with building stakeholders in the legal ecosystem. With the help of Design Thinking, lawyers can re-envision their service delivery design. They usually start the process with users data that provides a framework to test prototypes and launch solutions with real users.

Read more: How is Singapore reshaping using Design Thinking?

Final Thoughts  

Embracing Design Thinking in daily legal practice can bring promising results. Considering the benefits of Design Thinking, if you too want to practice this skill, then apply now for Design Thinking: From Insights to Viability program. This 12-week fast-paced course is the perfect introduction to the Design Thinking essentials, give you all the foundational knowledge and teach you about tools you need to kick-start your Design Thinking journey.

Read more: Top 10 Reasons to join the Stanford Executive Education Design Thinking Program



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