26 June 2019

From Big Idea to Global Impact

Published on 26 June 2019

When the Centre for Legal Innovation (CLI) was first pitched just over three years ago, it was a big idea – and daunting in its ambition. Its pitch: to bring lawyers and all legal business professionals together to collaborate and translate the disruption already sweeping the legal industry into practical solutions they could apply to their practice. 

Just a big idea on a blank screen
“This is an exciting time for the Centre for Legal Innovation (CLI) – we’ve just celebrated our third anniversary!” Executive Director, Terri Mottershead declared. “It’s hard to believe that just three years ago CLI was a big idea on a blank screen. We wanted to create a platform for thought leadership, experience sharing and experimentation that equipped legal professionals to capitalise on opportunities associated with the disruption and new technologies transforming the legal industry. We hope we have done that and along the way, become a source of credible information, and provided non-partisan opportunities for learning and networking.”

Crucial to the CLI’s success has been its focus on encouraging people to push out of their comfort zones and get actively involved in legal innovation. Lawyers, legal business professionals, academics,  technologists and entrepreneurs are encouraged to share war stories of failures alongside their successes. In so doing, the CLI has reflected the startup culture’s embrace of failure as a means to adapt, innovate and improve.

“As I look at the people who have so readily shared their stories with us – failures and successes – in our Spotlight series, roundtables and mini sprints, I know one thing for sure – we are incredibly grateful,” said Terri. “We are privileged to work with and in a wonderful, generous and outstanding, global community of amazing legal innovators. These innovators have helped us create our CLI-Collaborate (CLIC) resource hub, joined our Chief Innovation Officers Forum,  helped us develop and deliver our annual Innovation in Legal Practice Summit and launch our Fellowship program. Without their friendship, support and contribution to the work of CLI, none of this would have been possible,” said Terri.

Lead change, be brave, move fast, break things: The Antithesis of the Risk-Averse Lawyer
The CLI’s core philosophy of embracing change and continuous improvement sits directly at odds with much of how a lawyer is traditionally trained to lead, manage, think and assess risk. It is, however, consistent with the emerging new legal industry and marketplace. 

Rather than looking at what has gone before, maintaining the status quo, and assuming all potential risks will manifest, the CLI’s philosophy gently encourages lawyers and legal professionals to adapt and think differently – to think creatively and laterally. This results in lawyers working collaboratively with clients to discuss risk in the context of time and cost while retaining quality and maintaining ethical standards. In so doing, lawyers can develop new capabilities that best serve the changing needs and expectations of clients and employees. 

The response from legalpreneurs involved in the CLI’s initiatives has been resoundingly supportive. 

 “From a meeting of 3 people around a table 3 years ago, to an international hub for creating, sharing and stimulating innovation, from the wild west of WA, to Sydney and Singapore, the Centre for Legal Innovation’s 3 year anniversary is an incredible achievement,” said Catriona Macleod, Director, Cullen Macleod Lawyers and CLI Advisory Board Co-Chair. 

“It is a stand out success story of collaboration, contribution and creativity.  In a period that is characterised by an explosion in anything and everything to do with innovation and disruption in the legal services world, the CLI succeeds in bringing together thought leaders and ideas from around Australia and the world. 

“The CLI has created a forum where all those interested in legal innovation and change can come together and meet (online and in person) to discuss and learn from each other. It is exactly what the legal services industry needed, and it is a great achievement that The College of Law made happen – with a huge credit to Terri Mottershead’s outstanding energy, dedication and commitment for turning that idea around a table into a global reality.  

“One of the latest developments of the CLI, The Legalpreneurs Lab, will bring together people from a variety of areas as part of membership programme to contribute to the long term work of the Centre and ensure the success of the first phase continues long into the future.”

Jodie Baker, Founder & CEO of Xakia Technologies agreed. 

“Legal innovation can be noisy and confusing,” said Jodie. “Three years ago, the market was crying out for a single, central place to filter information and deliver it in a way that it could be easily disseminated and digested. Today, they have the Centre for Legal Innovation. As CLI celebrates its third anniversary it continues to bring the innovation discussion to so many in the legal industry – whether it be a law firm, in-house legal team, or involve education or access to justice – to push boundaries and encourage the continued evolution toward a productive and efficient legal system for all players.” 

 “The CLI’s achievements in such a short space of time are a great testament to Terri’s vision, leadership and boundless energy to help lawyers and professionals deliver legal services differently,” said Alison Laird, Head of Innovation and Project Delivery Asia Pacific for Pinsent Masons and Global Chair, Chief Innovation Officers Forum Steering Group.  
“The CLI’s initiatives help lawyers keep up with client demands in an increasingly disrupted market,” said Allison. “This is only the beginning of the CLI journey and I have no doubt the best is yet to come.” 

“The CLI is such an amazing initiative! Bringing people together to make a difference to the future of our profession – making it a better place for those who work in it and those served by it,” said Melissa Lyon, Associate Principal at Hive Legal and CLI Distinguished Fellow. “Congrats to Terri and all involved.”

Caryn Sandler, Partner + Chief Knowledge and Innovation Officer at Gilbert + Tobin, congratulated Terri and the CLI on celebrating its third anniversary. “The legal industry is better off for having people like Terri in it, said Caryn. “This is an amazing achievement.”

Chrissie Lightfoot, Legal Futurist, CEO Robot Lawyer Lisa Ltd and EntrepreneurLawyer Ltd was not surprised the CLI was an Australian-led initiative.

“Australia tends to be a leader in innovating in the legal ecosystem,” said Chrissie. “The rest of the world looks to what’s happening down under so I am delighted and excited to hear of Terri and her team launching the Legalpreneurs Lab and can’t wait to see the fabulous outcomes which will naturally flow in due course. The CLI’s overarching project has always been at the leading and cutting edge. It sits squarely at the interchange of law, business, technology and the Digital Age. It’s been a godsend to a whole range of today’s and tomorrow’s professionals over these past few years around the world and experienced amazing success as a direct result of the hard work which has gone into its evolution.”

Across the proverbial pond, Andrew King, Organiser, LawFest New Zealand, agrees. 

“Terri and the CLI are doing fantastic work helping the profession to thrive in a changing market,” said Andrew. “It is refreshing to see how they focus on sharing opportunities and practical tips to help deliver legal services for today and the future.” 

Fellow New Zealander Gene Turner, Managing Director of LawHawk, Document Automation Specialists and CLI Advisory Board member, agrees.
“The CLI is one of the best sources I have for fresh thinking on the changing legal profession, and the Legalpreneur’s Lab will take things to another level!” said Gene. “Congratulations to the CLI for all its achievements over the past 3 years.”

Emma Aldersea, Director of Laneway Legal, recently attended the Boutique Law Summit, where she heard about the work of the CLI.  “I’m so pleased Terri brought her vision to life,” said Emma. “I thought she was so impressive and I gained so much. Her ability to condense her knowledge and experience into practical tips to assist us in the legal industry to navigate disruption and new tech and lead change is so valuable. Thank you.”

 “Terri and her team at the Centre for Legal Innovation provide a critical piece to the professional puzzle in that they not only provide lawyers with a forum and platform to learn, share ideas and collaborate, they also are a leader in legal education,” said Demetrio Zema, Director and Problem Solver, Law Squared.  “Having an innovation focused think tank to help guide and educate lawyers is invaluable in an industry that is not only resistant to change, but also largely ill-equipped to handle the dramatic client-led changes ahead. The CLI gives lawyers the platform and opportunity to deal with the rapidly changing environment. It is really exciting to be able to support the CLI!”

The Legalpreneurs Lab: A Legal Innovation Community Like No Other

To mark the CLI’s third anniversary, the CLI is launching the Legalpreneurs Lab on 28 June 2019.

“We are crazy excited about the launch of the CLI’s Legalpreneur’s Lab!” said Terri. “We hope it’s going to be an innovation legal community like no other. A culmination of all we have learnt from all of our supporters over the last three years, packaged so there is something for everyone: in-person events, roundtables, webinars, podcasts, incubators, free consultation services – it’s got the WOW factor but, we’re biased!”

Contact LP Lab

If you're interested in the LP Lab please contact CLI at LPLab@collaw.edu.au or phone: +61 7 3234 4541 Our office hours are 9am-5pm AEST.