On April 3, 2019, Nimble held its 7th Forum: the Nimble Legal Innovation Forum. Our first panel, “Approaches to Legal Innovation” was awesome. So much insight from both law firm leaders and law department leaders.

The Approaches to Legal Innovation Panel consisted of:

Moderator: Bill Garcia, Chief Practice Innovation Officer at Thompson Hine

Dave Cupar, Partner and Chair of Intellectual Property Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins

Stacey Greenwell, Associate General Counsel at Davey Tree

Jessica McKinney, Legal Operations Specialist at Eaton Corporation

Jeff Miller, Managing Partner at Brennan Manna & Diamond

Here are some highlights but really watch the video above so you don’t miss any of the great insight that the panel shared:

On defining “Innovation”:

Dave Cupar: Legal Innovation is not simply technology. Technology doesn’t solve problems. Technology is a tool to solve problems. Legal Innovation is based on how do we make our clients’ lives easier.

Jessica McKInney: Get a different perspective on your processes. Use non-lawyers to look at your processes. Their experiences in other areas may help you innovate the current process.

On establishing Innovation priorities:

Stacey Greenwell: Our innovation priorities are established by what are we spending the most time on in the law department. and what are the priorities of the business?

Jeff Miller: What do our clients want? Is the innovation solving something that can be implemented?

Bill Garcia: Another way to establish priorities a risk-based analysis that uses innovation to respond to the highest risk.

On a recent innovation roll-out:

Jessica McKinney: Eaton recently rolled out Contract Lifecycle Management software. Turnaround time on NDAs has been reduced by 75%.

Note: Read the “7 Features You Need In a Contract Management System

On Structuring the Innovation Process:

Dave Cupar: Our firm has a process to identify ideas/innovations whether they are internal or external facing. The idea is to create an open environment to share ideas.

Stacey Greenwell: We’re a newer and small law department and right now there is no formal structure for innovation.

On Build vs. Buy:

Jessica McKinney: We try to solve problems internally before looking externally. We have to weigh the value versus the cost. We’re looking conceptually at alternative legal service providers.

Stacey Greenwell: Our law department is exploring some outside sources but cost is too important so we try to do everything internally. We have to show a return on investment.

On Driving Innovation with Supplier Law Firms:

Jessica McKinney: Our pattern litigation team uses a report card for outside law firms. It shows how they’re performing on certain metrics. The team then meets with the law firms and works collaboratively on what they can do to improve.

On what is the Top Innovation Challenge:

Jeff Miller: Not all ideas are good ideas. It’s hard to deliver that message.

Dave Cupar: You can’t look at law firms, law departments, and alternative legal service providers as competitors.

Stacey Greenwell: Adversity to change.

Jessica McKinney: What technology to select and implement. There are so many out there.