Welcome to my occasional series of posts of excerpts from my book, Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations. The book is available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.

In this chapter, I focus on the importance of coaching and mentoring and highlight some of my learnings from my work with coaches at various points in my careers. Money spent on good coaching can bring an enormous return on investment.

The takeaway lesson from this chapter is a strong one:

Consider building the requirement for coaching for yourself into your job.

Coaching and Mentoring

At some point, probably sooner rather than later, you will realize that creating and running an innovation program is a very big job. It will also be one that increasingly pulls you away from what you like best (innovating and creating) and fills your time with activities you didn’t expect (meetings, sales efforts, political infighting, sorting mixed priorities, scheduling, hiring, replacing key team members who leave for other opportunities, approving expense reports, even more meetings, and so much more).

In the last chapter, I talked about getting help. In this chapter, I want to focus on two related, but different, forms of help: mentoring and coaching.

Mentoring

Mentoring can mean many things, but to me, mentoring is finding the wise guide (your Yoda) who helps you, listens to your questions, makes subtle suggestions, asks you hard questions, points you gently in the right direction, and always sees the bigger picture that you cannot. Many mentor relationships last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, you can’t just run out to the mentor store and buy a mentor off a shelf. Typically, a mentor relationship is something that you recognize rather than go out and find. And, often, it is the mentor who finds you. I love the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

In other words, you probably should not request a mentor in the list that you make before you accept the role. However, if you push hard for an executive sponsor, you greatly enhance the chances that that person will become a mentor for you, or introduce you to someone who becomes a mentor. But there is no guarantee.

More than likely, you will find mentors in the larger innovation community, in the people in your organization with whom you do great work, or in the clients you work with. That’s why it’s so important to participant in innovation organizations, attend conferences, and, yes, participate in social media. One of the great things today is that you might find a mentor anywhere in the world.

Coaching

Coaching should be thought of a limited period of targeted assistance for which you pay for the service. Coaching is different from mentoring, but you might get similar results in some areas.
There are coaches of every kind these days, from life coaches to personal trainers, but I haven’t yet seen the rise of innovation coaches. Yet. In some cases, coaches have certification organizations or standard approaches and techniques.

Coaches tend to address specific needs or weaknesses. For example, if you are not experienced or comfortable speaking in public, you might get a speaking or presentation coach to help you reach a desired level of competence. This is another instance where it makes sense to build coaching into your budget request.

How do you find the right coach? I’ve personally had great success with two different coaches. I found each of them in a different way. Nothing about those finding processes is helping me find a new coach. It’s largely going to be a case of defining what you want, finding someone who matches that description, and determining whether there is a “fit.”

That said, it would be unfair of me to end there. Here are some of my suggestions.

  1. Look for executive or business coaches as opposed to career coaches (who excel in helping you find a job that fits you) or life coaches.
  2. Look for someone who works with entrepreneurs, startup executives, or creative professionals as the majority of their clientele.
  3. Look for someone who has experience working with lawyers and others in the legal industry.
  4. Look for someone who gives you “homework” and holds you responsible for completing it.

PRO TIP: If you’ve ever worked with a coach, you already understand how helpful they can be. Consider building the requirement for coaching for yourself into your job.

If you like this sample chapter, you will love the book.

If you make or are involved in leadership decisions for law department innovation, check out my Legal Innovation as a Service officerings – pre-scoped, flat-fee just-in-time, just-enough assistance for law department innovation leaders.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Want to schedule a Zoom call to talk with me about Legal Innovation as a Service, Speaking, or other services? Schedule a Zoom with Dennis via Calendly.

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I had a conversation with a friend last night who had been asked to speak for free (with no travel reimbursement either) at an in-person conference. It can take a surprising amount of time and effort to decide whether to turn these kinds of “for free” or “discounted” requests down or even how to respond, especially if you know the person making the request and they are asking for a “favor.”

I shared my approach with my friend last night and decided that it might make a good blog post.

Before I jump in to the “I have a rule” method, let me note that if someone actually uses the word “favor,” I respond with the classic Godfather quote: “Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift.”

Unfortunately, I have forgotten where I got the “I have a rule” method so I can’t give appropriate attribution, which I’d love to do. I also combine “I have a rule” with the social science learning that if you say “because” and give ANY reason, people will generally go along with your request. The classic example in offices is: “Can I jump in front of you to use the copier because I have to make a copy?” Works in most cases.

I Have a Rule

The first part of my response is “I have a rule.” The idea is that I am merely following a rule. It’s nothing personal. I really don’t have a choice. The source or validity of the rule doesn’t matter. We see this all the time in the rest of our lives. “The rule is that you have to use blue ink.”

You simply state the rule clearly and confidently, perhaps with a tinge of regret.

Because

To level up the power of your rule, you add a “because” reason. The beauty of this is that literally any reason will work, but I use a reason that makes sense in light of the request.

Compare:

1. I have a rule that I don’t discount my fees.

OR

2. I have a rule that I don’t discount my fees because discounts indicate that I have not communicated the value the buyer will receive very well.

My List

I keep a list of my rules tacked up in my office so it’s easy for me to see them. Here’s what’s on my current list:

I have a rule that I don’t speak for free anymore because I have limited time in my schedule and prefer to open up those speaking slots to new and diverse speakers.

I have a rule that I’m not taking on any new volunteer opportunities this year because I made a decision on those I could do at the beginning of the year.

I have a rule that I don’t make buying decisions of more than $200 without waiting at least three weeks because that’s what my wife and I have agreed on.

I have a rule that I don’t discount my fees because discounts indicate that I have not communicated the value the buyer will receive very well.

I have a rule that I don’t give money to people because, unfortunately, I’ve had some unhappy experiences with that and those people have ruined it for others.

I have a rule that I don’t make any new donations this year because my wife and I decided on our donations for this year in January.

I have a rule that I will not take any new projects until I run them through my new project screening tool because otherwise I will get myself overbooked.

We have a rule that I can only take speaking gigs where I get my full fee if I get my wife to approve it, in advance.

I have a rule that I won’t speak for free because we decided to dedicate the money I make from speaking this year to a [big vacation trip for our wedding anniversary OR big purchase].

Your Mileage May Vary

I have a rule that I make no guarantees that anything on this list will work for you because I really can’t make those kinds of guarantees.

However, I’m happy to share this list with you in the hope that it might help you. People often put themselves through the wringer trying to figure out a way to do something that makes no sense for them or to do something that actually costs them money out of pocket.

Try them out yourself. See how they work.

If you hear me use one on you, don’t be concerned because I have a rule and I have to follow it.

I also have a rule that now is a great time to support this blog by buying one of my books or courses, engaging me to speak, or checking out my Legal Innovation as a Service for Law Departments Only offerings because you liked this post and got actionable value from it.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Want to schedule a Zoom call to talk with me about Legal Innovation as a Service, Speaking, or other services? Schedule a Zoom with Dennis via Calendly.

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Legal Innovation as a Service LogoNeed a little help with your legal innovation efforts? Check out my Legal Innovation as a Service offerings.

Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory logoJoin the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community today!

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Download my FREE “57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law” (PDF).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Cover photo of Successful Innovation Outcomes in LawSummer is here and the time is right for innovating in the law.

From today until June 13, the Kindle version (only) of my book, Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations is on sale on amazon for the too-low-to-resist price of US$4.99.

This summer, I’m focusing on corporate law department innovation and getting ready for next year at Michigan State University Center for Law, Technology & Innovation.

It struck me that, at the halfway point of yet another tumultuous year, it was a great time for law department innovation leaders and other innovators in law to have easy and inexpensive access to my ideas, insights and practical approaches to achieve successful innovation outcomes.

Hence, the special Kindle sale price until July 13. Or you can buy the paperback at the regular price. Or buy both. Or buy them for your whole team. You get the idea.

No time like the present. Sale ends July 12.

Get your copy here.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Want to schedule a Zoom call to talk with me about Legal Innovation as a Service, Speaking, or other services? Schedule a Zoom with Dennis via Calendly.

Like this post? Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

Legal Innovation as a Service LogoNeed a little help with your legal innovation efforts? Check out my Legal Innovation as a Service offerings.

Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory logoJoin the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community today!

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Download my FREE “57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law” (PDF).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast logoIt seemed like a good time to share a batch of recent episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. The spring semester is over, grades are in, I’m focusing on Legal Innovation as a Service for the summer, and I’m enjoying the summertime.

And summertime is the perfect time to get caught up on podcast listening.

Here’s a list of what Tom and I have been discussing on the show over the past few months. Lots of good stuff. We invite you to jump in and listen. Even better, subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss any episodes. We have some cool topics on the upcoming schedule.

  • Metavisting the Metaverse – Dennis and Tom plunge into the metaverse—its trends, current tech, and possibilities for the future.
  • The Wild World of NFTs – Dennis and Tom dive into these unique digital objects (art, video, and much more) and outline the issues surrounding their current hype and value in the real world.
  • No, This Podcast Could Not Have Been an Email – Dennis and Tom help you understand the nuances of both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration modalities.
  • Second Brain Project: Updates and Branching Brainwaves – Dennis and Tom have found that—just like real brains—their Second Brain projects are unique! Listen in for updates on the latest iterations of their diverging strategies and the tech tools bringing their Brains to life.
  • Seeing the Forest Through Decision Trees – Dennis and Tom talk through the concept of “decision trees” and explain a variety of methods for modeling out choices and outcomes to help you make better decisions.
  • Are We Approaching the Great Social Media Resignation? – Dennis and Tom give their two cents on the possible Twitter takeover, hashing out the changes Musk might bring to the platform and whether users might just call it quits en masse.
  • Improve Your At-Home Sound Quality – Dennis and Tom welcome David Tewksbury of Harman to talk through the steps of creating an effective workspace that meets your audio needs.
  • How to Approach Your Home Office Upgrade – Post-Covid, the work-from-home lifestyle has become a lot more permanent than many of us thought it would. With this shift, many are realizing their home office setup might need some tweaks to become an effective workspace. So, where to begin? Dennis and Tom talk about their own experiences, lay out ideas for approaching your upgrades, and recommend products for lighting, desks, chairs, monitors, sound equipment, and more.

As always, let us know what you think about the shows and potential topics for future shows. And support our sponsors!


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Want to schedule a Zoom call to talk with me about Legal Innovation as a Service, Speaking, or other services? Schedule a Zoom call with Dennis via Calendly.

Like this post? Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

Legal Innovation as a Service LogoNeed a little help with your legal innovation efforts? Check out my Legal Innovation as a Service offerings.

Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory logoJoin the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community today!

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Download my FREE “57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law” (PDF).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Book cover of Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal OrganizationsAn often underestimated part of the innovation process, especially within law departments, is the messaging, presentation, and selling of innovation projects, programs, and portfolios to general counsel and other decisionmakers in law departments. I wrote about this topic in my book, Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations (available on Amazon).

The topic is so important that I’m including messaging points for innovation leaders a key part of my deliverables for my Legal Innovation as a Service offerings for law departments only.

And it’s also important enough that I’ve decided to share a version of Chapter 41 of my book for free in this blog post. You can easily adapt the principles if you are a law firm innovation leader.

Selling to GCs and Other Decisionmakers

It’s worth repeating that several years ago, a survey of general counsels asked what innovation their outside counsel had brought to them. The top answer was “none.”

In one sense, the threshold for law department innovation efforts (internal or external) is quite low and the opportunity to differentiate from other law departments is there for the taking. In another sense, however, the answer illustrates the desire of in-house counsel to see their outside law firms take the lead in innovation and technology initiatives and their disappointment with the perceived lack of leadership. In no small part, these factors are driving the “early adopter” law departments to move innovation inside their departments and not leave it to outside law firms who have failed to produce.

For in-house counsel, there is a sharp disconnect between what what they request and what outside law firms seem to hear. In-house counsel often tell me about asking for simple email newsletters from outside counsel that, rather than summarize new cases or laws, offer a firms’s perspectives and insights and suggest practical action steps. Then they say, “And we never got them.”

A legal technology “solution” that outside counsel like to advocate is “contract lifecycle management.” Yes, there is a need, but those projects are not at the top of the in-house priority list, are nightmarishly complex to implement, and involve many moving parts in the entire corporation.

If, instead, the innovation process produced a pilot project of one of the three simple ideas I suggested in Chapter 42 (i.e., a dashboard of highly relevant data, an expertise locator, or a list of places where routine legal review could be eliminated), you would have delighted in-house counsel and their business clients. Each of these addresses pain points, solves business problems, and are easy experiments. Each of these also illustrates how well you have listened and suggested some options that have worked elsewhere, not just tried to sell a pre-conceived innovation “solution.” And they provide value to the business client and help them get their jobs done.

Many lawyers hate to “sell.” Most in-house counsel hate to be “sold to.” THe good news is that pitching innovation efforts should not involve selling in the classic sense. It should consist of many of your best lawyering skills: asking good questions, active listening, investigating, getting to the core problem, looking at options, and patience. You want to understand what the client wants before you jump in with a solution.

In the innovation process, there are three steps, as I have mentioned: why, what, and how. The sequence is to start with why, move to what, and, only at the very end, look at the how. Resisting the urge to move too quickly to the how stage plays a key role in success.

While there are many definitions of innovation, most of them emphasize “customer-focused” or “customer-centered” problem solving. My focus is always on customer outcomes. Your client has the problem to solve. Your goal, and your role, are to help your client solve their problem and eliminate their pains and achieve their gains.

The client does not want you to swoop in and save the day. You can do that when handling important legal work. Instead, clients want to be the heroes of their own innovation stories. They want a guide with a plan to help them win the prize while avoiding disaster. Think Yoda, not Superman.

With that in mind, what approaches work best when discussing innovation projects or processes with general counsel and other decisionmakers?

1. Bring it Up First. Since outside firms are known for NOT bringing innovation ideas to corporate counsel, simply initiating the conversation might be a differentiator for you. The same approach applies to in-house innovation leaders. You were delegating the innovation portfolio because your general counsel whats you to take the initiative and bring your ideas to them. If you put innovation in the context of improving the relationship with your business owners and executive team, controlling or cutting legal costs, or a new benefit for key teams, you will have a winning combination.

2. Talk to the Real Decisionmakers. General counsel often lead and drive department innovation and select the winning projects to carry forward. However, they typically delegate the details to the innovation team or, increasingly, their chief of staff. To move specific efforts forward you will need to identify and engage with the right people in leadership. We see more law departments with roles like Chief Innovation Officer than ever before.

3. Use the Value Proposition Canvas. A great, simple tool to use is something called the Value Proposition Canvas, described in more detail in Chapter 36. It gives you a quick, visual way to map out the client’s problem, the pains the clients hope to alleviate or eliminate, and the gains they want to achieve. You can then match those items with the project or approach you suggest. For example, a client’s problem might be that they don’t know who the subject matter experts in the law department are for certain issues. Their pains might include not knowing there was someone who could answer their question off the top of her head or mismatching people to projects. The hoped-for gains might be getting the right work to the right people or creating subject matter teams. After making the diagnosis, you can match the proposed solution (expert locator app) or process (design and prototyping sprint) and its pains solved and gains achieved 􏰋with the desired result and make a compelling case to move forward.

4. Pitch Pilots, Not Products. Upwards of 90% of innovation projects fail or drastically change from the initial concept. That’s a good thing. It’s part of the innovation and start-up process. The more pilots, the better. Pilots give you and the client prototypes to test, examples of possible projects to share with others, and quick wins that build momentum.

5. Understand Internal Goals and Objectives. In-house counsel and law departments have annual objectives and goals. Understand what those are and make the part of the equation. Visible achievement of annual goals will always be a desired gain for any decisionmaker.

6. Bring the Whole Team. Get the right teams talking, especially in panel convergence presentations. If a law firm has a Chief Innovation Officer or innovation leader, they will want to meet and talk with their counterparts in law departments. Your decisionmaker will want you to be able to answer expected questions or bring the people who can to the meeting with you.

7. Get in Some Reps.It will take some time and practice to learn the best pitches, find the appropriate language, and build relationships. You will not be perfect at it from the start, nor should you expect to be. Like exercise, you need to get in some reps to get better.

Innovation initiatives from within law departments are moving quickly from nice-to-have to must-have. General counsel want help to show innovation results and meet corporate and department goals and objectives. General counsel will be looking for guides who give them plans to achieve what they need and still remain the heroes of their own stories. If you can provide that, in their language and in the language of business, you will cement long-term relationships and get the approvals you want for your best projects and initiatives

PRO TIP: Persuading a general counsel on innovation efforts requires special approaches and language, but these can be learned.

++++++++++++++++

LIaaS Process Chart

If you like this excerpt, I encourage you to buy the book on Amazon and to check out my Legal Innovation as a Service offering (for law departments only).

 


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Legal Innovation as a Service LogoNeed a little help with your legal innovation efforts? Check out my Legal Innovation as a Service offerings.

Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory logoJoin the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community today!

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Download my FREE “57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law” (PDF).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Legal Innovation as a Service Logo

Summer is here and the time is right for  . . . Legal Innovation as a Service for law departments only.

I’ve wrapped up my grading for my classes at University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law for the semester.

I’m planning to largely take the summer off and concentrate only on my Legal Innovation as a Service (for law departments only) service. More info on that at https://www.denniskennedy.com/legal-innovation-as-a-service/. If you know anyone who might be a prospect for that service or be willing to do a target customer interview with me as I refine the service, I’d be grateful if you would let me know or mention it to them. And, obviously, if you might want to be a customer for the service, let’s follow-up and discuss.

I’m excited about LIaaS as an example of a productized service, but, more so, because I believe it fills a vital need that I see and hear about all too frequently.

Here’s an overview:

“Innovation Wellness Packages” for law departments only

Law department innovation leaders too often find themselves in a lonely place. They have challenging objectives, too little direction, unreasonably high expectations to produce winners, and few, if any, places to turn for cost-effective, targeted help. “Do more with less” is a far too common message. It’s far too easy to start to feel the onset of the imposter syndrome and feel like you are alone.

Email to learn more and start the process.

The need for guidance can happen when you are starting your role, when your annual objectives seem to be at risk, and when you feel like you have moved into survival mode and the whole program is at risk.

Let’s face it, formally requesting a six-figure consulting engagement (with budget approvals and, likely, an RFP process) will not seem like your best strategy, especially when you know the result will be a project given to junior consultants to learn on and result in a recommendation that you engage the consulting firm to do, no surprise here, a seven-figure engagement.

Legal Innovation as a Service(TM) (“LIaaS”) is a new and different approach to provide motivated innovation leaders and decisionmakers in law departments with Just-in-time, Just-enough(TM) guidance at key inflection points in managing their innovation programs and portfolios by addressing four of the most common and important areas of concern.

LIaaS provides a pre-scoped, limited, flat fee service offerings to help you get desired feedback or guidance, move your effort forward, and let you get back to doing what you do best, without wasting time and money.

You select the option you need and we (that means you and Dennis, not junior consultants learning on the job) work together on that project, and you get quickly back on the road to success and achieving your vision.

LIaaS is a high-uniqueness, high-value package designed to be purchased by PCard (priced at $9,500) or as a single-source supplier engagement to help you with your procurement process and RFP requirements.

Unlike a large consulting engagement, LIaaS is designed to be a simple engagement, not a complex one that takes months and has many moving parts. The length of time from when you submitted necessary information to receiving final deliverables will be two weeks, or less.

How would you and your organization benefit from LIaaS?

You get a second pair of eyes on key aspects of your innovation program and portfolio backed by Dennis Kennedy’s unparalleled expertise, experience, industry knowledge, and legal innovation network. Dennis literally wrote the book on successful innovation outcomes in law, spent 12 years as in-house counsel for Mastercard, including with Mastercard’s Digital Payments and Labs group, is the Director of the Michigan State University Center for Law, Technology & Innovation, and has been widely-known for writing and speaking on legal innovation for many years.

LIaaS focuses only on law departments because Dennis can understand and address the unique needs of innovation leaders in this sector and provide high value in doing so. So many people believe that law firm innovation approaches apply equally in law departments. Nothing could be less true.

Do you consider yourself early adopter? LIaaS directly enables a new and different approach to helping you achieve your annual objectives. It will also leverage a new focused approach when you are having the feeling that your current approach isn’t quite the one you want. The result: you increase the probability of achieving your vision.

THE FOUR LIAAS INNOVATION WELLNESS OFFERINGS ($9,500 per offering)

1. Reality Check. Review current or proposed portfolio, assess whether what you are doing makes sense in the real world, and recommend any course corrections to avoid wasting time and money. I especially suggest this for innovation leaders starting a new role.

2. Portfolio Optimization. Reviewing innovation efforts and investments as a portfolio, assessing risk, return, and balance, and revising budget allocations. Assess your company’s innovation risk tolerance and match it to your innovation portfolio to optimize fit and chances of success.

3. Idea Therapy. Analyze and counsel you on your ideas to bring out the best results and paths forward to improve your odds of investing in winners and weeding out losers.

4. Police Your Panel Firms. Evaluate innovation proposals from outside firms competing in panel convergence process OR review promises made by outside firms during panel selection and compare to outcomes achieved.

GET STARTED NOW

COMPARING APPROACHES

LIaaS ($9,500) Large Consulting Firm ($$$,$$$)
Delivered by Dennis Kennedy Probably rookie consultants learning on the job
Fees Flat fee (no surprises) Hourly rates (probably uncapped)
Scope creep No (pre-scoped) Highly likely
Experience and expertise Dennis Kennedy’s unique expertise, experience, insights, and network  Unknown and might not be the person proposed
Angling for additional work LIaaS is a stand-alone productized service All but guaranteed
Results Tailored for you from Dennis’s unique insights, with 2-week SLA Probably cookie-cutter for initial engagement with a recommendation that you buy more expensive services
Deliverables Simple and direct tailored report with bullet-point internal communication strategy  Lots and lots of PowerPoint slides and Excel spreadsheets
Buying process PCard or single-source supplier; simple pre-scoped agreement Complex RFP process with complex negotiations for engagement
Importance of engagement Dennis is able focus on you as a preferred client Considered a small engagement that could be used to train inexperienced consultants
Taking credit Dennis stays in background, requires no credit, and lets you be the hero of the story Must be the “smartest person in the room” and will let everyone know it
Your objectives Focused on helping you achieve your annual objectives  Focused on achieving their annual objectives
Help you earn your bonus Yes  Probably not – your bonus went into their fee

The LIaaS Process

  1. Sign LIaaS Agreement
  2. Answer simple questionnaire
  3. Initial Zoom requirement
  4. Provide requested information to Dennis
  5. Upon receipt of all requested information, two-week delivery SLA begins
  6. Deliverables (recommendations and bullet-point internal communication plan) provided to you
  7. Follow-up Zoom conversation and wrap up.

While LIaaS makes great sense for law departments with innovation teams or chief innovation officers already in place, it has an even greater value in the mid-sized market where innovation efforts are just beginning, do not have a formal structure, or are in the process of change or re-evaluation, especially when a deputy general counsel or director of legal operations is suddenly and unexpectedly pushed into the role of running the department’s innovation efforts with little direction, little background, little budget, and high expectations.

My commitment to you: provide astute and discreet advice with practical and elegant outcomes from a behind-the-scenes guide with high standards.

You don’t have to do your job alone without a little help. Just-in-time and just-enough.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. Are these the only services you offer? No. These are the service packages I’m currently offering through the LIaaS product and they are for law departments only. The idea of LIaaS to target the key inflection points with just-in-time, just-enough guidance to help law department innovation leaders where and when they need it most. For other consulting services, contact me and we will discuss your needs, project scope and value, and flat fee pricing.

2. What if I want to add to or change the scope of one of LIaaS offerings? That will become a custom service and will be handled as described in question 1 above.

3. Do you offer speaking or workshops as part of LIaaS? No. My speaking services are set out at https://www.denniskennedy.com/dkspeaking.

4. How do I learn more or engage you for LIaaS? Email me at dmk@denniskennedy.com to schedule a Zoom meeting or call (best way) or call me at 734-926-5197 and leave a voice message. I will return your call ASAP.

I am an expert specializing in helping motivated law department innovation leaders assess, recalibrate, and course-correct their efforts so that they unlock successful innovation outcomes, achieve their objectives, and reduce the waste of time and money.

 


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

Legal Innovation as a Service LogoNeed a little help with your legal innovation efforts? Check out my Legal Innovation as a Service offerings.

Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory logoJoin the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community today!

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Download my FREE “57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law” (PDF).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Photo of woman making startup pitchI was asked a while back to answer some questions for an article about venture capital in the legal industry. It now appears that the article might not happen.

As part of my #BlogFirst initiative, I’m posting my unedited and unupdated answers here for your reading pleasure and, maybe, to learn how others would answer these questions.

1. Which entities in the legal industry are the biggest winners of venture capital funding?

In the very short term, the biggest winners are the founders and employees of legal tech companies. In the three-to-five-year term, the winners will be venture capital funds with an excellent and diversified portfolio of legal tech investments. In the long term, the consumers of legal services and clients of law firms will be the big winners.

2. Over the next five years, where do you see the largest impact in the legal industry from venture capital funding?

I see three large impacts. The first is to drive the adoption of new technologies and approaches into a reluctant legal profession. The second is to start to sweep out inefficient, cumbersome, and expensive processes. The third, and most important in the long term, is to accelerate direct-to-consumer legal solutions that will meaningfully alleviate our access-to-justice crisis.

3. How does an entity seeking venture capital get into the game?

The venture capital world is largely a world of networking. Many founders who have gotten funding are happy to talk and share what they’ve learned. Reading the steady stream of funding announcements will give you a sense of who the VC and private equity players are. I recommend talking with funds already in the legal space or local funds. There are also unique and growing opportunities for women and people of color. There’s a structure and sequencing to fundraising that you need to show you are savvy about. I always suggest that people who are new to this read Scott Kupor’s great book, Secrets of Sand Hill Road, to get an overview.

4. What are the most important benefits to the legal industry of attracting venture capital funding?

Accelerating innovation, adoption, and scaling. The help in attracting and retaining talent also cannot be overestimated. There is so much innovation and energy in legal tech right now and funding is giving startups time and runway they need to make big things happen.

5. Are there significant challenges to the legal industry, as we know it, resulting from increasing the amount of capital funding in legal tech?

Funders are driven by very large returns. Funded legal tech companies will have to produce returns in a fairly short timeframe. Funders might force these companies to move into different markets than were originally imagined or even take over the management of these companies with people they select. There is a lot of volatility and we live in a time of a chaotic economy. There will be many more “losers” than “winners.” As some say, the curse might be that you get the money you ask for. The biggest question for me: is the addressable market for legal tech really as large as investors apparently think it is?

Your thoughts?


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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As I wait for final papers to come in, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the video content we created at the Michigan State University Center for Law, Technology & Innovation this past semester. The Center’s video content is all available on the Video resources page of the CLT&I website.

NewLaw Careers Webinar

Our featured video is the on-demand record of our “NewLaw Careers Webinar.” We brought together eleven MSU Law alums to talk about new types of legal careers. Many of them are pioneers in these fields. The panels were moderated by the Center’s research assistants. I provide a short overview of current trends and developments. It’s a great introduction to these new kinds of legal jobs and careers.

Leading Edge of Law Interview Series

We’ve been doing a regular series of video interview shows with thought leaders. Our RAs get to be the interviewers and do a great job. Here are our ones from this spring semester:

Andy Whitehead on patent lawyering as both inhouse and outside counsel

Marty Schwimmer (author of The Trademark Blog) on brand protection, new IP issues, and building a career as an IP lawyer

Courtney Thompson on revolutionizing the mortgage finance industry and becoming a chief product officer in the process.

I highly recommend all of these. Take some time to check out the other videos as well.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Cover photo of Successful Innovation Outcomes in LawThis post is part of a series of sample chapters from my my book, Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations.

Three Innovation Efforts Corporate Counsel Want

This chapter contains some of my best insights from work on the customer side as an in-house counsel. It also contains some of my best practical advice on actual innovation projects. It’s up to you to choose whether you want to follow this advice or not, but I urge you to consider it, especially as you get started and if you are considering only innovation megaprojects.

A few years ago, a survey of general counsels showed that the most common answer to the question “What innovation has your outside counsel brought you in the last year?” was “None.” None. Note that I said most common because saying “most popular” answer would be wrong.

What’s been striking in my career is how I often I hear about in-house counsel telling their outside firms exactly what they need and the outside firms either ignoring that or returning with something completely different.

The current fashion in innovation proposals is heavy on artificial intelligence, contract life cycle management, and the like. They propose big, expensive projects with lots of moving parts and many permissions and much coordination required in a corporate setting. More important, the benefits tend to be more theoretical than practical, and, truth be told, could often be achieved by using existing legal tech tools already on the market.

The current fashion in innovation proposals is heavy on artificial intelligence, contract life cycle management, and the like. They propose big, expensive projects with lots of moving parts and many permissions and much coordination required in a corporate setting. More important, the benefits tend to be more theoretical than practical, and, truth be told, could often be achieved by using existing legal tech tools already on the market.

PRO TIP: Three places to find early wins if you are struggling to find a starting point: simple dashboards, expert locators, and lightweight knowledge management tools.

What do I think clients want and where you should consider focusing your efforts?

1. Simple Dashboards. Far too often, basic information needed by a general counsel or in-house counsel is simply not readily at hand in an easy-to-find and easy-to-consume way. Talk to any general counsel and you are likely to hear a story about them being asked by a CEO or CFO simple business questions like year-to-date legal spend, spend compared to budget, total legal exposure, law firms with highest spend, and other standard metrics (let alone key performance indicators), and not having any answer other than, at best, that they needed to have some reports run to get this basic information.

Similarly, in-house counsel too often don’t have metrics at hand that are useful to them: caseload, success rates, numbers of contracts signed, average times for projects, and the like.

I often use the Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker (formerly known as Serengeti) as an example. It is probably the standard tool for managing outside counsel (and has been so for many years). However, I often point people to the simple and targeted dashboard tools designed around metrics they’ve learned that in-house counsel care about and want.

Dashboards are a simple and powerful concept and the discussion around what should go into them will give you and your client tremendous insights into their needs, their approaches, and what is most important to them.

Law departments are increasingly looking to outside counsel to recommend legal technology tools. You get at least as much credit for suggesting an existing tool (which the client might already own) to accomplish something valuable for the client as you will by creating a custom tool. If the only innovation offering you were bringing to corporate clients was to help create effective Legal Tracker dashboards, you would go to the top of the class and open the doors to other innovation opportunities.

2. Expert Locators. People have been working on full-scale knowledge management platforms for many years. A big lesson is that they are very hard to do successfully and have them fully adopted by users.

However, there is one aspect of knowledge management tools that can be broken out and used to create customer value. I use the term “expert locator.” In any organization, we know that there are usually one or two people who are either the “right person” to answer a question or can point you to that person.

Getting to that person is a hard-enough problem, but it becomes exponentially more difficult when you want to find experts within your organization and in your outside law firms.

For example, if I need help on a blockchain legal question, I don’t really want to go through the client representatives of my outside firms to find a lawyer with that expertise and experience. I’d like to find them quickly and talk to them directly.

A tool that allows me to do that would be highly useful and appreciated, especially if it eliminates hype and puffery and can get me to the real experts. If that’s an associate, that’s fine with me. I have work to be done, and ego-feeding of law firm partners is not part of that work.

Expert locators are a highly fertile area for innovation efforts. You probably already are realizing that, if you create a tool, it can be repeated for other clients and even become a product.

3. Lightweight KM Tools. They are lots of skeletons on the road to the land of successful comprehensive knowledge management projects. They are hard work and, in some legal settings, impossible.

In many law departments (and law firms), there are many ideas about desired, target knowledge tools: news and development mini-sites, clause repositories, negotiation playbooks, best practices, and even tips and after-action learnings.

By reducing the scope of the project, your odds of achieving completion, results, and customer value increase greatly. The term for this is “addition by subtraction.” I’ll discuss in Chapter 46 something we did at Mastercard called the New Technologies Center of Excellence (the acronym was ”NeTCoE”) that illustrates this approach.

The key takeaway from this chapter is that you can focus on certain types or families of innovation efforts that are easy to explain, much simpler and faster to execute than big projects, and show value quickly. And, as I’m sure you have noticed, each generates the opportunity to learn about a client’s business, needs, and problems in a deep way, bring value to the client, and cement your role as an innovative, helpful, trusted advisor, while giving you an opportunity to create something repeatable for other clients or potentially even a new product line.

That’s a lot of wins.

PRO TIP: Three places to find early wins if you are struggling to find a starting point: simple dashboards, expert locators, and lightweight knowledge management tools.

Buy the book on Amazon here.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Poster with speakers and other details of April 7 Supply Chain and Law SeminarSupply chains have certainly gotten our attention in the last few years. You might be surprised to learn that there is a growing area of practice in supply chain law to address the many complex issues that arise out today’s lengthy and surprisingly-fragile supply chains.

I’m pleased to be the moderator for a panel discussion on supply chain law at Michigan State University College of Law (and on Zoom) on April 7, 2022 at noon Eastern. And it’s free!

It’s the first of what we expect will be many similar events in in this growing field. We are excited to collaborate with industry leading experts in electric vehicle manufacturing, retail, maritime, and consumer product manufacturing.

Panelists will be Lauren Beagan at Squall Strategies, LLC, Michael Kaiser at May Mobility, Brittain Ladd at Kuecker Pulse Integration, and Evelyn Sullen Smith at Dell Technologies. All are MSU alum.

The panel is brought to you by the MSU Law Alumni Association’s Student Outreach Committee, the MSU Career Services Office, Spartans in Business and Law Association, the Elliot Spoon Business & Securities Law Institute, and the MSU Center for Law, Technology & Innovation.

There is a LinkedIn Event at https://www.linkedin.com/events/supplychainandthelaw6914346700283207680/about/ so you can get more info, register, and invite anyone who you think would benefit from the panel.

I hope to see you there.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory logoJoin the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community today!

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Download my FREE “57 Tips for Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law” (PDF).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.