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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.


Posts in Legal Innovation
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
The Seven Rules of Law Firm Retreats

Though Filament serves clients from multiple industries, our founder Matthew Homann is a “recovering” lawyer who got his start in this business building conferences and facilitating retreats for lawyers and firms. Several years ago, he wrote this about law firm retreats, so we decided to republish it here for our legal clients:

Rethinking your retreat begins with these seven rules:

1.  When planning a retreat, the most important voice at the table belongs to your best clients. Ask them how your firm needs to improve and invite them if you dare.

2.  At a good retreat, your firm's leadership should spend as much time listening as they do talking. At a great retreat, that ratio is closer to 3:1.

3.  If you don’t make time for your people to improve your firm during the retreat, they’re less likely to improve it after the retreat is over.

4.  The first things your attendees should learn are one another’s names. Attendees won’t care what their colleagues do until they know who they are.

5. If the retreat is the only time your people talk about innovation, it will be the only time they think about innovation. Same goes for client service.

6.  Your staff knows more about how to serve your clients well than your associates do. Bring them along, value their opinions and act on their suggestions. You’ll find that the cost of their attendance is far lower than the cost of their absence.

7.  The two questions every attendee should be able to answer after your retreat are: “Why should I be better?” and “What will I do better?”

You can check out Filament’s dedicated Law Firm Retreat Page to learn more about Filament’s legal-specific services or check out all of our legal-industry themed blog posts.