Legal Innovation and Design (LID) is the creation of Nikki Shaver, Managing Director, Innovation and Knowledge at international law firm, Paul Hastings. It’s a new group, formed in the US, but now spreading internationally with a focus on two main goals:
1. To support people who drive innovation in commercial legal environments, and,
2. To provide education around legal innovation methodologies, allowing members to learn in-person by doing.
Vishal Agnihotri, Chief Knowledge Officer at Hinshaw & Culbertson, and Amanda Gudis-Stuart, Senior Manager, Knowledge & Solutions at Shearman & Sterling, are also helping to run the group’s programming council.
It looks to be a great endeavour that’s just getting going. Artificial Lawyer caught up with Nikki Shaver to ask her some more about what LID is all about, how it got started and where it’s heading.
What is LID, and what inspired you to create it?
LID, which stands for Legal Innovation and Design, is an association for people who are driving innovation initiatives in commercial legal environments.
I was inspired to create it because as someone who is driving the innovation strategy for a large US law firm, I found that there was nowhere I could go in the market that offered support and networking with people in similar roles. In other words, the motivation was selfish!
I wanted to surround myself with smart people who were doing the hard work of pushing change and to engage in discussions about what is working, and what isn’t working. I also noticed when I moved to New York that no one here seemed to be talking about innovation methodologies such as service design or running agile teams outside of product.
Design thinking has been popularised in the States through Margaret Hagan at Standford’s d.school and various other institutions, but these tend to be primarily focused on access-to-justice or academia. There is no organisation in the United States that is dedicated to educating law firm or law department staff on service design methodologies.
When I raised these concepts in New York, people were interested, so I thought it might be beneficial to have a group where we regularly used and learned new techniques that could help us all move the dial internally. The second function the group serves is therefore educational. The idea is that at each meeting there will be an element of ‘doing’ as well as speaking. At our first meeting, after brief introductions we moved right into a warm-up exercise that got everyone up, ideating and evaluating ideas.
We then did a design thinking exercise to develop the structure for the group, and to brainstorm content ideas for the first few months of meetings. This was very successful, and the group size has grown substantially since then.
What are your hopes for the group?
I hope that the group proves genuinely useful for people. The broader ideal of a group like this is that it could have the power to accelerate the pace of positive change in the market. With people across firms and corporates increasing communication around innovation methodologies and regularly engaging in discussion of topics such as effectively driving change through influence rather than authority, the hope is that people will walk away from each meeting equipped with tools that will allow them to better perform their jobs.
We will be bringing in external speakers on a regular basis to facilitate the educational component of the group. There is a synergy there, because those facilitators will be exposed to a number of potential clients. LID does not purport to train people to be designers, or scrum masters. The desire instead is to introduce these concepts to people who can immediately use aspects of them in practice, but who will also understand the benefit of bringing in experts in these methodologies when they are undertaking large-scale projects.
In fact ‘synergy’ is a good description for what this group hopes to achieve. One of the ideas we will be exploring is taking the group off-site to vendors, and sitting with product teams to understand in-depth how product is developed. The hope is that this will improve empathy between vendors and commercial legal entities, and will also empower innovation leads to explore the productisation of legal expertise and packaged legal services. We talk about the futility of innovating in a vacuum; LID is about enabling commercial legal staff to innovate meaningfully in the context of broader industry and relevant cross-industry developments.
How large is the group now and what kinds of people have joined/where from?
In New York, we now have a growing list of approximately 40 people who are regular invitees to meetings. We also have a LinkedIn group with close to 100 members. The core group is made up of a diverse mix of people. We have innovation leaders and managers from large law, IT managers, in-house and legal ops personnel from corporates, lawyers working at the Big Four, consultants, even a legal recruiter.
The diversity is part of the goal of this group. Diversity of thought breeds creativity, but some of the other groups we have in New York for networking are restricted to people who share very similar roles. I love that fact that in our LID meetings we might have a CKO learning from an IT manager who is creative in the way he runs his team, or that a group of people from completely different backgrounds will work together on improving a legal process.
How will it operate? E.g. will there be local chapters around the US/world?
Since starting LID I have had many expressions of interest from people across the States and even across the world. Due to the format of most LID meetings, it’s hard to derive enormous benefit from listening in on a session – you really have to be in the room with us to get value from it. So instead of offering dial-ins, I have suggested that people with a strong interest can start their own local chapters, and we will share programming ideas on LinkedIn and Slack.
So far, I have chapter leaders willing to kick off local meetings in the Pacific Northwest, Toronto, Munich, and Stockholm. The idea here is that each chapter will run their own programming monthly but that we will have a quarterly call where all chapters will dial in and share insights. In this way, the diversity of the group will proliferate across jurisdictions.
Thanks, Nikki. Looks like a great initiative that will soon be going global by the look of it.
If you’d like to get involved, learn more, or perhaps even launch your own chapter in the US or around the world, then check out the LinkedIn page for the group, which is: here.
Nikki Shaver will be a speaker at Artificial Lawyer’s Legal Innovators California event in San Francisco, June 18. Come along if you’d like to hear more on the subjects explored above and see many other great speakers with a focus on legal innovation.
You can find more information about the conference here.
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