Lucy Dickens has long known the law could – and should – be done differently. This year, the lawyer and legal innovator put pen to paper, and released a book, ‘It’s Time to Do Law Differently: How to reshape your firm and regain your life’, to provide a practical guide to firm-wide transformation.
Lucy recently launched her book in an event co-hosted with the College of Law and Centre for Legal Innovation (‘CLI’), with a panel featuring CLI Executive Director Terri Mottershead, Clarissa and Jordan Furlong.Over 250 registered for the launch, which provided a practical and candid discussion on what it means to ‘do law differently.’
Insights spoke to Lucy, an adjunct at the College, about what inspired her to write her book, what tips she has for lawyers and law firms, and how her experiences shaped and framed the book itself.
We know why we should change – but how do we do it?
Lucy was prompted to write her book by what she saw as an absence of practical conversations in the profession about what change involved.
“I wrote the book after some gentle nudging from friends and colleagues who kept telling me that I should share my unique perspective on legal business,” said Lucy. “I'd noticed thatthe majority of the conversation around legal innovation was about why we should change, and what should be done differently, not about how to do it.”
Conversely, while these conversations were proving fruitful, they also served to exacerbate anxieties for law firm owners, especially those charged with steering smaller firms.
“I heard from lots of smaller firms and sole practitioners that they felt overwhelmed with all the different ideas and messages about what they should be doing. I wrote this book to fill that gap - it shares the "how" piece of the puzzle,” explained Lucy.
Sharing the wisdom of an innovation law firm
Lucy cut her teeth in an innovative law firm, and in many ways, has committed her career to doing law differently.
“I have worked at an innovative law firm for my entire legal career,” said Lucy. “I still law and have day-to-day experience with the ins and outs of running a legal business. Alongside this, I workat the coalface with clients and see their needs daily. Everything I have written about stems from practical experience, either my own, or the stories of the 60+ people I have interviewed on the Doing Law Differently podcast.”
Indeed, in Lucy’s experience, you need to be at the coalface of the law to implement effective innovation.
“I find that the best innovations come from people who are actively involved in delivering a service and are best implemented by those people too,” observed Lucy.
Three tips to do law differently
It’s clear how passionate Lucy is about driving practical change in the profession.
“The work I do spans all aspects of legal practice management,” said Lucy. “I love that I get the opportunity to experiment with different ways of doing things and sharing thought leadership around how to do law differently.”
Her top three tips to lawyers who want to tackle change head on in their firms are simple.
“Stop thinking about the law as the sale of time,” said Lucy. “Instead, start thinking about your firm as a business that sells legal services.”
Firms who think about their services from the perspective of the clients they serve will always do well.
“Redesign your services around the needs, wants and aspirations of your clients,” urged Lucy.
Finally, she also encouraged firms to establish a lasting business model framed around both products and services.
“ your services - sell a pre-defined scope of works at a fixed price, delivered through a system for delivery” suggested Lucy.
Watch the book launch webinar, co-hosted by the College of Law and Centre for Legal Innovation, here.