legal professionals

Along with healthcare, education, and housing, Design Thinking is driving innovation and revolutionizing products and services in the legal domain. Design Thinking, more than any other innovation approach in recent years, has indeed taken the world by storm. Legal companies can build better client relationships and develop new legal services/products and the cultured mindset of law firms by adopting this approach. Want to know more about it? Scroll down and learn about how practicing Design Thinking can cut across legal issues in a company.

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Classic Examples of Design Thinking Application in Legal System  

1. 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. 

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 to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. The sole purpose of this initiative was to thrive and help lawyers navigate complex legal issues. The program also focused on making the most of technologies to address the multifaceted challenges, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and quantum computing.  

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 [Seyfarth Shaw] recognized 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. As a new practice, 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.

2. Aims to Improve the internal processes 

Apart from client engagement and improving legal services, Design Thinking also improves 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 the concept of note cards that include specific questions for each associate to facilitate a 10-minute conversation between associates and their supervisors. With the help of targeted questions, the feedback session became more engaging and formalized.

3. Creates a Better Working Performance

Even small-scale legal firms and sole-proprietors can use Design thinking to maintain profit margins, optimize performance, and retain new clients to sustain their businesses. But one thing to note here is that Design Thinking implementation differs from firm to firm in terms of their design, depending on the particular requirements of an organization.  For example, sole-proprietor 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

We have already told you about how Design Thinking provided some unique opportunities for law firms. But now the question is: what does the future hold? 

In the present scenario, clients demand legal knowledge and 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 organizational 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 user 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 also want to practice this skill, apply now for the Design Thinking: From Insights to Viability program. This 12-week fast-paced course is the perfect introduction to the Design Thinking essentials, gives you all the foundational knowledge, and teaches 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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