Law firms are successfully implementing an array of process, technology and people focussed innovations to transform their legal service delivery and drive client outcomes, evidenced by the finalists in this year’s ALPMA/LexisNexis Thought Leadership Awards.
Hall & Wilcox, Maddocks, Nexus Law and Bytherules Conveyancing have been recognised as finalists in the 2016 ALPMA/LexisNexis Thought Leadership Awards for their innovative projects completed in the last 12 months.
“Innovation is far more than taking something that someone else has developed and replicating it in your firm in order to ‘keep up with the Jones’,” ALPMA President and Chief Financial Officer at The Lantern Legal Group, Mr Andrew Barnes said.
“True innovation requires strategic intent, careful planning and a willingness to act, invest and take risks in order to achieve competitive advantage – and our finalists have clearly demonstrated this,” he said.
“The changing legal landscape and rapid advances in technology provide opportunities for savvy and nimble law firms to exploit through innovation in order to stand out from the crowd, grow their firms, and retain customers and staff - but it is also a threat for those who do not adapt,” said Whit Lee, Executive Director of Strategy & Customer Research, LexisNexis Asia Pacific and member of the Award judging panel.
“We applaud this year’s finalists for their thought leadership and innovation,” he said.
Hall & Wilcox, an independent business law firm, was recognised as finalist for the development of a web application for the insurance sector to identify whether a workers' compensation claim exists and if there is any potential recovery. The team identified that there was a void in the market and developed a cost effective app which enables insurers to identify indemnity claims against third parties, in a timely manner. The application is currently being used in Victoria and NSW but can be adapted for a number of different insurance lines such as property and motor, in other states and for clients in other industries, across the firm.
“The app helps insurers identify claims with recovery potential across their entire portfolio and also assists insurance providers to meet strict KPI’s imposed by the regulator – delivering significant efficiencies along the way,” said Sumith Perera, Chief Operating Officer at Hall & Wilcox.
Maddocks was recognised as a finalist for their Melbourne Employment, Safety & People team’s innovative approach to the implementation of improved flexible working arrangements to retain staff and increase employee engagement. While flexible working arrangements and job-sharing roles are not uncommon in the legal sector, the ESP team’s approach comprehensively addressed the common challenges of these arrangements in terms of utilisation by all staff regardless of gender, parental status or seniority, the limitations on career progression and impact on workload for all staff.
“This initiative has created a culture where people feel their skills and knowledge is valued over their availability,” Catherine Dunlop, Partner at Maddocks said. “Our staff are encouraged to pursue meaningful and enjoyable lives both inside and outside work, knowing that the team will work collaboratively to deliver first rate client service, even if a client’s primary contact is out of the office.”
“The partners lead by example to ensure that those working flexibly get every opportunity to do excellent work – and this in turn has seen our staff come to work happier, healthier and more productive, leading our clients to comment on how effectively we really work as a ‘team’.”
Nexus Group was recognised as a finalist for the development of its OpenLaw™ practice system, created to run Australia's first dispersed (embedded contractor) law firm, Nexus Law Group, as there was no existing practice management system that met the unique requirements of such a firm. In the last 12 months, Nexus has been working to bring OpenLaw™ to market generally.
“This system has significant potential to connect independent boutique practices together for unified service delivery and shift a portion of the industry to the Nexus ‘embedded contractor’ style of practice,” Jacqueline Keddie, Business Manager at Nexus said.
“This represents truly positive industry disruption and creates an entirely new category of practice for lawyers,” she said.
Bytherules Conveyancing was recognised as a finalist for its ‘prescriptive conveyancing protocol’ created to ensure consistent quality of conveyancing work irrespective of which paralegal, administration assistant or lawyer is involved with the matter and enabled by cloud-based workflow automation.
“Since implementing our system, our quality of service has improved, our direct labour costs per matter have fallen by 40 per cent and we are able to handle twice the amount of matters with very little incremental costs”, Chris Collinge, Managing Director at Bytherules Conveyancing said.
The Awards were judged by an industry panel including: Shelley Dunstone, Principal Legal Circles and ALPMA Life Member; Dr Peter Lynch, Managing Director, dci lycon; Shirley Hamel, Director of Operations, Cornwall Stodart and ALPMA Life Member and Whit Lee, Executive Director of Strategy & Customer Research, LexisNexis Asia Pacific.
The winner will be announced at the 2016 ALPMA Summit Gala Dinner at the Medallion Club, Etihad Stadium on Thursday 9 September in Melbourne. Previous winners include LegalVision, Hive Legal and Anderssen Lawyers.