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Research Identifies Keys to Unlocking Legal Innovation Success

CHICAGO (October 17, 2018) GrowthPlay is pleased to announce the release of a first-of-its kind study that draws on talent analytics to uncover insight into how to overcome the barriers to innovation in the notoriously change-averse legal profession. Offering guidance on how law firms and legal departments can identify potential innovators within their ranks and develop skills to accelerate their efforts to change, the study, Overcoming Barriers to Law Innovation: Unlocking Performance and Potential to Drive Change in an Era of Disruption, is authored by long-time industry consultant and strategist Debra Baker.

“In our work with law firms over the years, we’ve seen this real conundrum around innovation,” Baker says.  “Lawyers are smart, and they’re great problem solvers, but, even as they see rapid and dramatic market changes impacting their profession, they consistently struggle with the concept of innovation.”

The study provides important insights to lawyers looking to take the first step to integrate innovation into their business strategy, as well as for those that have had success in developing new innovations but struggle implementing new approaches because of change resistance.

A recent Altman Weil study backs up this observation: only 5.6 percent of managing partners have a high degree of confidence in their firm’s ability to innovate.  So, Baker and her colleagues undertook a comprehensive study to look at the small group of recognized innovators who are making changes to the legal profession and the business of law and to understand how these successful innovators address barriers to making change happen. 

The study resulted in three key findings for law leaders looking to drive change:

  • The DNA of an innovator has 11 essential elements (The Law Innovator’s DNA) that can be measured using talent analytics.
  • A lawyer’s ability to sell is highly correlated to a lawyer’s ability to innovate.
  • With data, leaders can reduce the implicit bias that deters innovation.

Based on these findings, Baker offers three recommendations for those looking to jump-start innovation among the lawyers they manage:

  • Assess whether the members of your current innovation team possess the right traits, and identify new potential innovators within your organization.
  • Recognize that sales skills are innovation skills, and invest in developing these skills in your attorneys.
  • Build innovation teams based on the Law Innovator’s DNA rather than looking solely to resumé—or worse, “gut feel.”

This last point, Baker stresses, is key, because, “More inclusive teams are a step in the right direction.  Diversity has been shown to contribute to innovation success.”

Overall, the report finds, the Law Innovation challenge is complex. But when lawyers and law leaders focus on how they identify talent, build better teams, and develop attorneys’ skills they can respond to changing client needs in a profession under disruption.

Click here to download a copy of the complete Law Innovation Study.


About Debra Baker

Debra Baker is a Managing Director at GrowthPlay and leads the innovation for the professional services division. Her strategic consulting services leverage market data, competitive intelligence and innovation design concepts to help lawyers and other professionals rethink the way they create, deliver and communicate value to clients. 

About GrowthPlay

GrowthPlay provides sales effectiveness solutions that unlock potential and fuel growth for organizations, teams, and individuals.  Working at the intersection of the most scientific insights into sales performance with the most passionate commitment to unlocking human potential, GrowthPlay offers a holistic approach to consulting that includes talent assessments, research-based analytics, training, and coaching.  More information online at

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Contact Information:
Debra Pickett Page 2 Communications, on behalf of GrowthPlay 773.368.7064

, Extended Distribution, Legal Newswire, Legal Tech, Legal Technology, United States, English


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