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Lawyers must get it out of their heads

The law isn't about selling widgets; it's about knowledge, interpretation and advice. It's what's inside lawyers' heads - so why does the typical legal workplace make sharing that knowledge so difficult? Collaboration is essential.

The lack of collaboration isn’t even accidental. Traditionally, law firms wanted workplaces which silo people away, since the ultimate reward for career success is a personal office on a high floor. But that office has a door which is usually shut – and the lawyer is often alone.

Clients then tend to be the property of that lawyer and that office, spirited from the reception area to the office and then back again, later, with little opportunity to interact with the rest of the firm.

Yet everyone – clients included – would benefit from lawyers being more accessible, where colleagues can get at what’s going on in their heads, share ideas, and cross-sell other practice areas to clients. And where clients can build broader, deeper relationships with the whole firm. What we need is more collaboration!

The market is already insisting upon that change. Clients want the best of all their law firms have to offer, including all practice areas. They may even want collaboration between firms!

But given their history, law firms will have to try that bit harder to make collaboration work. They need to start with a reimagined workspace which not only makes collaboration possible but makes it flow naturally, supported by all the essential enabling technology.

In future, we’ll no doubt be talking about how to collaborate better with your AI robot. For now, getting people to work together may be enough of a challenge.


More like this - but much deeper?

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Our Global Design Director, Simon Pole, has a special interest and experience in the legal sector. In this book, he shares his in-depth thoughts about a wide range of issues, from AI to the battle of the generations via smart buildings and serendipity.