CIOs often champion law firm innovation but frequently face a tough battle. Why? 

I’ve advocated innovation as a large law firm manager, legal technology consultant, and software marketer. Getting buy-in is a challenge. Eric Mankin, an expert in business innovation and an old friend whom I’ve cited previously, offers a great analysis of legal market innovation in his weekly e-mail update.

Eric notes that the business of law is bound by the ideas of legal precedent and the billable hour. What passes for innovation in the legal market is old hat in most industries. He notes that the average of income of lawyers (not just BigLaw partners) is high and therefore the incentive to change low. Law firms are late adopters: innovation is a cost of business, not an opportunity. I certainly can’t cite a single instance of the market punishing a BigLaw firm for being a late adopter.

His entire “Looking for Law Firm Innovation” analysis is here, with permission and is worth reading. And I personally look forward to hearing more about the fruits of Eric’s research, which he will present at the annual meeting of the College of Law Practice Management (PDF link).