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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Innovation Insights

What do you need to think about when starting an innovation project?

When planning an innovation project or purchasing new legal technology, do you solely focus on function and cost, or do you take a more holistic approach? Aleksandra Dziemaszkiewicz-Kwiecińska, Regional Legal Project Manager, and Tomasz Prus, Best Delivery Advisor, recently presented at the General Counsels Forum in Poland on how the lack of a more rounded approach to the use of innovative technologies in law is resulting in difficulties of a different nature.

The General Counsels Forum is one of the largest conferences for qualified lawyers in Poland and is attended by some of the largest enterprises. During the two-day event, several lectures and panel discussions took place where, among others, technologies and innovation in the legal industry in Poland and globally were key topics. Aleksandra and Tomasz closed the first day with their presentation "The transformation of legal services in practice".

Enhancing your innovation project

In their presentation, the pair highlighted how, by not taking an issue-tailored approach, the solution may paradoxically become the source of a new problem. General Counsels who look at new technologies solely through their functionality and cost need to broaden their perspective to include the people and processes needed for the effective implementation of the applications. When considering new technologies during an innovation project, the following questions need to be considered:

  • Who will use the tool, and what kind of support will they need?
  • How to organise work around a new platform to ensure compatibility with internal processes?

In addition, the pair recommended taking advantage of a wider range of professional skills across the firm, such as technology advisors, analysts or project managers. They all have different skills that can help organise the work on complex legal projects more effectively. The involvement of seasoned professionals with varied perspectives can help to optimise processes, give transparency to the project and mitigate many common risks factors. Importantly, an experienced Legal Project Manager will also assist project sponsors to see the "bigger picture" and can help draw appropriate conclusions from problems encountered - the "lessons learned" stage of the project.

Engagement from a project team that highly specialises in the project, team and budget management can bring noticeable savings. This includes increased efficiency of the group involved, the ability to timely recognise and mitigate risks, and get much more transparency, coherence, and structure to manage their projects of different types. As a result, General Counsel members will understand how to smartly reshape internal processes so that difficulties do not arise in the future.

Our commitment to improving processes

Here at Clifford Chance, we recently created the Research and Development Hub to build innovative products that combine our lawyers' unique knowledge with advanced technologies. A well thought out process is necessary to make this possible. To enable this agile creation and testing of products, we set about acquiring knowledge from our experts across the global offices to help create a set of proven techniques and processes.

General counsels can use a similar approach within their teams as well. They can collect innovative ideas from their employees in a standardised form, analyse them systematically, and use agile techniques when implementing them to meet the expectations of their internal clients better.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to establish relationships with many experienced general counsels and inspiring people from across the Polish legal tech world. The demand for ideas on improving the work of lawyers, the role of legal project management and new technologies in Polish legal departments is showing no sign of diminishing any time soon.