Global law firm Linklaters has recently concluded its Linkathon 2022 – a legal hackathon where law students across Europe were invited to work in teams with the firm’s lawyers to ‘develop innovative and creative ideas for the law firm of the future’.
It resulted not only in new ideas from the legal talent, but also the recruitment of a number of the participating law students, the firm said. So, a doubly useful project.
The winning idea came from Team Germany. They presented a ‘one-stop-shop’ app for all client interactions with Linklaters’ lawyers and services, that would enable clients to track progress of their matters, book meetings with their Linklaters contacts, and upload documents.
Throughout February and March, 75 students and lawyers took part in the event, which ran across Europe and included countries such as Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden.
Split into 10 national teams, the contestants were challenged with developing ideas and solutions on what tomorrow’s leading law firm should do to:
- ‘Develop strong personal relationships and engage with clients in innovative ways,
- [And] foster curious, creative, and empathic lawyers with an entrepreneurial mindset.’
As part of the challenge, the contestants received advice and coaching support on legal design thinking, legal tech, and new roles in the law. The firm also invited its own clients to provide feedback on the teams’ ideas to ensure the client experience was at the heart of their ideation.
For example, María Juliana Muci, Global Counsel at Spotify, commented: ‘The Linkathon was different, fun and challenging at the same time. It was a great way to meet and interact with law students and young Linklaters’ attorneys and see their creativity be put to the test.’
Overall, there were a broad range of creative ideas put forward: from interfaces for connecting with clients, an online ESG platform, to knowledge-sharing solutions, and D&I training using VR.
Many of the ideas are ‘aligned with the firm’s strategic technology roadmap or existing tools and will be considered as part of the firm’s continued development of its resources and services’ the firm noted.
Andreas Steck, Senior Partner, Germany, commented: ‘This year’s Linkathon provided an exciting opportunity for law students across Europe to collaborate with our associates to generate creative ideas to take forward and re-think our approach to legal work. It has been brilliant to see our clients get involved alongside such bright and innovative students, all to help enhance the way we operate and deliver services to our clients.’
While Lea Pipo, a student from Team Germany, added: ‘Taking part in Linkathon 2022 was a great experience. I learned a lot about innovation in the legal industry and what the law firm of tomorrow could look like. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with a team of dedicated students, and coaches from Linklaters as well as network with legal professionals from across Europe.’
All in all this looks like a great initiative that engaged with law students by exploring the idea that legal services are evolving and how things may change inside Linklaters. I.e. the appeal to the students is that things are in motion, rather than selling them on a vision that is looking backwards. It’s helped with recruitment and may have generated some useful ideas that can be explored further by the firm.