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The Filament Blog


We all suffer from a profound case of “Idea Surplus Disorder” at Filament — and we think that’s a good thing. Here are some of those ideas we’d like to share with you.



Get Lawyers to Compete for Change

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Struggling to get #lawyers on board with a big change, strategic, or technology initiative?

Here's a fun way* to engage them (and the whole firm) and turn them into advocates for something they'd otherwise likely complain about:

Start by announcing a competition pitting teams of lawyers and peer professionals against one another to craft and deliver a "closing argument" for a secret (for now) firm-wide initiative. Teams might be office vs. office, partners vs. associates, etc. 

The secret initiative might be the firm's new strategic plan, a new CRM tool, a client-service model, an alternative fee pricing strategy, etc. It doesn't matter what the initiative is so long as it has firm-wide impact and is something they've not paid a lot of attention to. 

Then, the day before their closing arguments, you host a big reveal (think Iron Chef) of the initiative that delivers to each team a "case file" with project details, user testimonials, use cases, cost/benefit analysis, ROI, etc. 

It is crucial the teams don't know what they'll be advocating for otherwise, the lawyers will burn a ton of otherwise-billable time to win. Keep the case files "under seal" in the managing partner's office if that's what it takes. 

After the reveal give each team 2-4 hours to formulate their strategy and build a five-minute closing argument advocating for the initiative/change (nobody gets to argue against it). They'll deliver it to a judge and jury during a happy hour reception or law firm retreat. 

The jury should include a cross-section of everyone in the firm -- though clients might be a great addition, too. Include a mix of advocates and heretics. If you want to be super-crazy, you can even do voir dire here (though it is probably unnecessary). 

After the closing arguments, (which should be captured on video), the jury retires to render their verdict and everyone else heads to happy hour. 

Did I mention the winning team gets a honking-big, gaudy trophy? 

In the end, you'll get the attention of the entire firm, you'll find new arguments that answer the "why?" and "WIIFM?" questions about the new initiative, and you'll have a hell of a lot of fun while people learn about something they'd have otherwise preferred to ignore.

* This "article" was originally a Twitter thread I wrote that you can find here.

Legal InnovationMatthew Homann