From the creation of a legal team to the latest transformations in the field, here’s what’s going on in the news this week.
Nearly twenty years ago, Julie Kinch joined Heineken to build their legal department from what it was—nearly nothing—to a successful organization full of creativity and a positive internal reputation. Kinch spoke about positioning, as many legal departments quickly become “the department of no,” while she thinks of it as the “department of yes and,” or “yes but.” Building a legal department is about finding people who will discover solutions, not simply shoot an idea down. The high level of creativity necessary to have Legal function this way is something Kinch likened to marketing or advertising. Understanding the business and its needs, along with finding the right people to hire that make a creative, positive place to work, are key ways Kinch has created a successful department over multiple decades.
One-quarter of the population in the United States is now made up of millennials. As the legal industry gains more millennials, they are reinventing the way firms function, in everything from work-life balance to the technology being used. Benefits such as childcare and working from home are higher priorities than working weekends to become a partner. As more and more of the industry is made up of this generation, it appears that changes in the workplace will continue to be a consistent pattern, whether it’s a more relaxed dress code or more technology being used.
Innovation is one of the biggest buzzwords in business right now. Yet when it comes to the legal profession, there is still tension between traditionalists and the direction the industry as a whole is going in. Regulations and rules are still central to the profession, but the demand for new tools and delivery models is growing as well, forcing legal teams who don’t always have the resources to grow and do more work with less. Legal expertise has become not only about the knowledge lawyers gain but how technology can be incorporated to make this knowledge more accessible to everyone. Similarly to how healthcare has been transformed to contain doctors as well as specialists without medical degrees but with knowledge about technology, research, and other critical areas, the legal industry appears to be on its way to doing the same with new roles such as legal operations.
As technology expands across professions, Legal is becoming more and more innovative with how they share their expertise. This is certainly an industry to watch as it continues to transform and change.